Home Share: Joan Palmer
Founded in 1982, Home Share Vermont helps people in Northwestern Vermont stay in their homes by connecting them with potential housemates through a comprehensive, client-driven process.
NONPROFIT TALENT: Human resource skills, connections and passion
Three decades of experience as an HR specialist, compensation expert, outplacement counselor, coach and nonprofit board member make Joan Palmer a multifaceted contributor to Home Share Vermont’s Skilled Volunteer team. Home Share Vermont supplements a small staff with 14 volunteers who handle the matching process, each investing up to 10 hours per week.
Joan’s prior experience using Myers-Briggs assessments gives her insights into candidates’ personalities and helps her make successful matches. She brings those insights to weekly group meetings and provides ongoing support when a home share match is made. “The work is interesting, challenging and humbling,” Joan says. “I have a strong feeling that everyone deserves to have a home. This role gives me the privilege of learning the stories of people dealing with huge challenges and helping them find stability.”
In addition to her client-matching work, Joan has supported Home Share Vermont’s work by providing compensation advice, guidance on marketing issues and making connections to other organizations.
NONPROFIT IMPACT: Priceless
Executive Director Kirby Dunn had high praise for Home Share Vermont’s encore-stage volunteers, saying “Our staff volunteers are one of the primary reasons we are a strong and successful organization. Joan’s insights and professional experience are invaluable to our work.”
Volunteer management tips
Joan shared advice for volunteer managers who want to recruit encore talent:
- Retired people welcome the opportunity to use their knowledge and skills to improve their communities.
- Use the interview process to understand the individual’s experience and interests.
- Offer flexibility. Joan takes a summer and winter travel break, communicating plans well in advance; Home Share Vermont organizes volunteers’ work to provide vacation coverage.
- Make sure that staff recognize the value of their volunteer colleagues and engage volunteers as much as possible in the organization’s work.