Nancy Smith Worthen understands the importance of volunteerism to the community as well as being committed to volunteers having a positive experience. She has been the volunteer coordinator at the Providence Children’s Museum for 15 years. She has been involved as a volunteer on the Professional Development Committee at the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island (VCRI) since 1992, and she has served as the co-chair of the committee for many of those years.
She has been instrumental in the evolution of the group from a smaller, less formal group to a more professional and very highly regarded training group. This committee helps VCRI fulfill an important part of its mission to connect people and opportunities for effective volunteer community service through building the capacity for effective volunteerism through training and consultation.
By providing training to volunteer managers, Ms. Worthen and the Professional Development Committee are helping the Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts communities to enhance the volunteer experiences of all people. They believe volunteers are more likely to continue to volunteer in the future if they have a good service experience.
Ms. Worthen develops and presents low cost but high quality workshops to fellow volunteer managers. These workshops are beneficial in that they are providing important information to those working with volunteers. Workshops encompass a range of topics from recruiting to retaining recognition to staff relations and many more. Workshops are popular and draw between 10 and 30 volunteer managers at a time with 8 workshops offered annually.
Ms. Worthen was instrumental in designing the Basic Volunteer Management Workshop that VCRI now offers four times each year. This training covers the basic steps of managing a successful volunteer program. She was also very active in starting and continuing the tradition of offering an all day conference to volunteer managers that allows them to focus on sharpening their skills while networking with other volunteer managers in the community. Annually, 60 to 75 volunteer managers attend the VCRI conference that is coordinated by the Professional Development Committee.
Ms. Worthen is a role model to other volunteer managers in the Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts areas. She has become an unofficial mentor to many of the high quality volunteer managers currently working in many area nonprofit agencies and plays a vital role in meeting the critical needs in the Providence community. She has given at least 500 hours as a volunteer with VCRI and is looking forward to her newest project with the Professional Development Committee’s formal mentoring program for volunteer managers.