July 2012 
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Welcome to the first issue of AJFCA's volunteer newsletter. We are still working out the kinks and smoothing out the design (so let's call this issue "under construction"), but I have been sitting on material for so long I couldn't possibly wait any longer before sending this out to you all. Our hope is for this newsletter to be just one more resource made available to our member agencies through the Repair the World Volunteer Initiative. I do a lot of "scouring of the vast internets" for articles and studies which pertain specifically to the work of volunteer professionals, and will link to several topics per newsletter. Additionally, there will always be an article or message from Repair the World.

This is also a venue for you all to show off what you have been up to. Each monthly issue will feature an agency, either outlining a program model for you to consider adding to your own commu-jennie gates beckmannity, profiling a fellow volunteer professional, or sharing an inspiring story about the work we all do. Often, I will aim to spark interaction among readers, like the "What's in a Name?" article below. For this I will direct you to the forums; you will need to log in to participate (email me if you have trouble with this), but I want to be conscious about supporting the forums and directing as much traffic as I can to that arena, since it's one of the easiest ways for you all to connect with one another. I want to remind you that this is a work in progress - so I welcome your feedback and recommendations on how to make this newsletter as beneficial as possible. Thank you in advance for your active participation!
AJFCA Manager of Civic Engagement & Repair the World Programming
The State of Volunteering in North American Jewish Organizations
Repair the World is conducting a national study of Jewish institutions with the following goals:
  1. Understand the current state of volunteering in the Jewish social sector - getting at issues of how volunteers are recruited, deployed and sustained; the benefits and challenges that organizations experience in working with volunteers; and the social impact of volunteering.
  2. Learn about the specific needs of organizations to better make use of volunteers in their work.repair the world-square
  3. Share our learning from the survey with the organized Jewish community - including your organization.  
This survey is best filled out by the professional or volunteer who directly manages the volunteers in your agency, and may take a bit of research and time to complete. Knowing this, Repair has put together an incentive to complete the survey. One randomly selected participating organization will receive a grant of $3,000, and two additional randomly selected organizations will receive grants of $1,500, to support the creation, development, or enhancement of each organization's service-learning or volunteer program(s).
You must fill out the survey prior to Sept. 1st to be eligible for this incentive.  
What's in a naenergizeme? Recently a colleague of mine shared that many in our field consider the title   "Volunteer Coordinator" to be demeaning of the job that we do. I had not encountered this myself, so I did a little digging (and by digging I mean Googling). I found this article from 2006 which may still ring true for many today. The comments linked to the article are even more interesting than the article itself, in my opinion.

I am curious - what do you think? Post your answer to one or more of the questions below on the Volunteer Professionals Forum and you'll be entered into a drawing for your choice of a Repair the World reusable tote bag or a Repair the World poster.

  • Do you consider the title "Volunteer Coordinator" to be demeaning? Please explain.
  • What title do you like best and why? Which title do you dislike most and why?
  • Have you fought for a specific title? Tell us about it.
  • What name do you recommend for our profession or field of study, (if different from what we call its practitioners)? 
Are you looking to better engage young adults in your agency? This blog post from JFFixler Group talks about this demographic in their review of the Millennial Impact Report 2012 published earlier this summer. millennial impact report The article expands upon the following data points, some of which you may not expect.
  • Most Millennials volunteer.
  • Millennials are motivated to volunteer by making a difference. 
  • Millennials use Facebook to engage with nonprofits. 
  • Millennials want access to you "whenever and wherever they are." 
  • Millennials want to lead. 
  • Millennials are generous and impulsive givers. 
Does your agency utilblue avacadoize court-appointed volunteers?  This article talks about the positive and negatives regarding "voluntolds" and shares tips on how they might be managed.  You may be astonished to learn that "a surprisingly high percentage of participants continue in their assignments even after the required number of hours is completed." 
Do you have a career services department in your agency?  This article is a greaforbest one to share with them - and may give you a few things to think about for your department as well.  I'm sure you all have a pretty nice base of retirees in your volunteer department, but how could you be leveraging the skills of the unemployed? 
featured agency
A Magical Match
The case manager came to me with a look of grave concern. "My client", she said, "just had surgery and needs help unpacking boxes at her home; do you have any volunteers who can help her?" I thought for just a moment and two volunteers came to mind. Sam and his long-time partner, Biljfcs louisvillel, are retired antique dealers and came to mind, so I called them and they said they could help. Little did I know the full extent of what this pairing of client and volunteers would accomplish.

Sam told me the client had been operated on for a life-threatening illness. She is young, with a 7-year-old daughter for whom he and Bill had set up her bedroom and playroom. "She doesn't think she will make it."  "The lady was so grateful and after we worked for a few hours we sat and talked. She really seemed to appreciate it and it was a very meaningful experience for Bill and me. We will go back and help her again."

This small gesture by volunteers has meant so much to the client and given the volunteers satisfaction as well. And as for me, the volunteer coordinator, I found myself weeping in sadness for this client and her young daughter and in happiness for the goodness of my volunteeKIM TOEBBErs.
Here at JFCS Louisville, we try to match the skills, interests and personalities of our volunteers with the assignment at hand. Sometimes it's challenging to match the right volunteer with the right client, but as the volunteer coordinator the onus is on us to ensure the right fit. JFCS has an excellent record in matching our volunteers - this wouldn't be possible if we hadn't taken the time to really get to know our volunteers.

Kim Toebbe
Volunteer Coordinator
Repair the World Featured Article
What is Jewish Service Learning? Repair the World is building a movement to make service a defining element of American Jewish life, learning and leadership. One of the ways in which they do this is by sharing their expertise in Jewish Service Learning (JSL). This collection of articles from the Jewish service-learning issue of the Journal of Jewish Communal Service gives a nice overview of JSL. Do any of you weave service-learning into your volunteer experiences? Tell us about it, over on the AJFCA forums!