Supervisors are key to the success of AmeriCorps members. We know you are busy people who wear many hats, but we encourage you to consider how supervising an AmeriCorps member is different than supervising another one of your employees. Remember, your members are volunteers who receive a modest living allowance each month to cover their basic expenses. They commit to serve your community and are passionate and caring individuals. See below for some resources on effectively supervising your AmeriCorps member.
Top Three Things Supervisors Can Do to Ensure Success
Advice from Veteran AmeriCorps members
Relying upon their collective experiences, past members are convinced: the success of the AmeriCorps effort at your school depends upon your ability to be accessible, gain staff support, and be open to new ideas.
1. Be accessible and meet often
Your member may have many questions about how to do things and who are the best people to work with to get things done. An “open door” policy guarantees that you will know what your AmeriCorps member is doing AND that s/he knows how to get it done. Meet weekly, at a minimum, but hopefully more often.
2. Ask for Staff Buy-In
At staff meetings, frequently voice your support for the AmeriCorps effort and suggest ways that individual staff members may work with the AmeriCorps member to meet school and project goals. Be clear about the types of duties that the AmeriCorps project encourages and prohibits members from doing. Ask staff members to involve the AmeriCorps in their own efforts.
3. Be open to new ideas
Your AmeriCorps Member will start service with few or no notions about how things have operated in the past in your building. Don’t be afraid to let the AmeriCorps member explore, try new things, or try old things a different way. It’s OK to fail and learn from your experience. It’s not OK to do things “the same old way” because of fear of failure.
Other Tips for Supervisors:
Timesheet Approval - Use this as an opportunity to check in with your member on a bi-weekly basis. Discuss with your member if you would like more detail in the description, ask questions.
Webinars - Be sure your member is available for Monthly Member Check In webinars hosted by DPI. This is a chance for your members to share with other members around the state, what is going on at their site, and share best practices. The calendar is accessed by clicking on the link on the left navigation bar.
Offer Training Opportunties - When you find out about training opportunities in your area or at your site, think about whether it would benefit your AmeriCorps member to attend!