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In this issue...
June Hot Topic: Is the Rising Cost of Gas a Crisis or an Opportunity for Volunteering?
Asian Pacific Volunteer Leadership Conference
Looking for Great Training Suggestions?
Susan's Tip of the Month: Involving Clients or Consumers in Helping Others
Recognition Idea
Twice a year, we offer recognition in the form of bus trips to other museums, art galleries and cultural and science-based organizations. When space permits, we invite our volunteers to bring along a guest.

It's always a special time when volunteers can introduce family and friends to staff and other volunteers. They share stories of their volunteer roles, the tasks they complete, and the good times they have.

As a bonus, we often arrange a "behind the scenes" tour with our peers in volunteer management, so family and friends get to see and learn about cultural and collection management.

After a full day of laughing and learning, our volunteer family is usually expanded, as we often have family and friends clamoring to sign up and volunteer with us!

- Submitted by Lynn M., Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in. (variously attributed)

- Submitted by Marjorie Moore, Minds Eye Information Service, Belleville, IL, USA

Share Your Quote

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Energize Volunteer Management Update
June 2008
June Hot Topic: Is the Rising Cost of Gas a Crisis or an Opportunity for Volunteering?
The cost of gasoline for our cars is rising at a staggering rate.  Although there hasn't really been much public discussion yet about the potential of gasoline prices to disrupt critical volunteer services, it's going to surface. Susan looks at the issue but also considers whether there's a silver lining for volunteering in the cloud of the energy crisis.

Read this Month's Hot Topic
Remember you can listen to the Hot Topic as a podcast, too!

Asia Pacific Volunteer Leadership Conference
You are invited to participate in what promises to be an exciting and visionary event: the first Asia Pacific Volunteer Leadership Conference, to be held September 16-19, 2008, in Honolulu. Hawai`i is the ideal location for bringing together people from the Pacific Rim who share a common focus in encouraging and strengthening volunteer engagement. Co-sponsored by four organizations committed to the common theme of international volunteer management, the conference has four "Streams":
  • international volunteer management
  • opportunities for the aging
  • disaster readiness and recovery
  • pathways to peace and service.
The conference will attract upwards of 600 participants, and speakers have been invited from almost a dozen countries, including the US, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

The conference planning team envisions this pioneering event as the place to come to:
  • Examine the universal issues we all face in volunteer management, regardless of setting or location, and explore how we can use our similarities to further our work.
  • Identify how we are different from country to country and setting to setting, and seek creative ways to learn from those differences.
  • Recharge everyone's batteries through international collegial exchange in one of the world's most multicultural -- and enchanting -- locations!
There will also be a day of site visits to multicultural Hawaiian volunteer programs.

If you are located anywhere around the Pacific Rim (including the west coast of the USA), consider attending this special conference. For more information and registration, go to: http://vrchawaii.org/APVLConference/.

Looking for Great Training Suggestions?
Subscribers to e-Volunteerism: The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community are already aware of one of the more unusual feature areas of that publication. It's called "Training Designs." Every quarter for the past 8 years, Training Designs Editor Betty Stallings has presented a range of practical articles by dozens of authors on three continents, all focusing on an aspect of how to be successful in training volunteers and paid staff. Subscribers, of course, have continuing access to the entire archive of e-Volunteerism articles -- one of reasons the US$40/year cost is such a bargain -- but non-subscribers may purchase individual articles for only $3 each. 

Here's just a sampling of titles and the information is timeless:

View the whole list of Training Designs in the Archive.

Susan's Tip of the Month: 
Involving Clients or Consumers in Helping Others

When we talk about "involving the community" in working towards our mission, we almost always think about recruiting people who are in a position to "help" those we serve. In other words, we see them as a different group of people than our clients, consumers, audience, or other recipients of services from us. This isn't wrong, but it is limited - and perhaps even paternalistic. Those who need or want our services may, in fact, also possess skills, talents, and time that they would be more than happy to contribute, if we'd only ask.
 
It begins with the mindset that the identities of "helper" and "recipient" are actually relative, depending on many factors. The patient undergoing chemo may concurrently be an accountant and also a volunteer reading tutor at the elementary school. The person rescued from a ski slope accident may be a truck driver and a volunteer youth sports coach. In other words, the people we perceive as "clients" turn out to be another organization's employees and yet another organization's volunteers. 
 
How can we put this mindset to work? Here are a few ideas:
  • Make sure that the list of vacant volunteer positions is posted wherever clients gather - a waiting room, cafeteria, etc. You never know when something might grab someone's interest - or the attention of someone accompanying the client/consumer to your facility.
  • In addition to the regular volunteer assignments that are available, develop a specific list of things that other clients need and post those, such as: transportation to and from appointments or events; equipment or items a long-time client no longer needs but a new one might; someone willing to talk to the spouse or child of a new client about similar personal experiences; etc.
  • Ask questions, either with short survey forms or brief interviews conducted by volunteers. There are two types of surveys that could be useful. The first is a special needs assessment: We'd like to get your insight into the experience of being a client with us. What is missing or what can we do more of or in a better way? By answering us honestly, you'll end up helping everyone else who needs to use our services.
    The second is a more direct invitation to get involved:  If you've enjoyed your visit today (or felt you were helped by our services, or whatever), are you aware of some of the things you could do to "pass it on" to others needing the same service?
  • Specifically reach out to family members and friends who may, in fact, be delighted to do something useful while waiting around for their loved one to finish treatment or rehearsals or whatever. Try putting up a table in the parking lot with a big sign saying something like: "Driving here every week? Want to make that gasoline pay off double?" Have volunteer application forms ready.
Of course this only works if your clientele is not in crisis at the moment. But it does wonders for self-esteem to know that, even in a time of personal need, it's possible to still be of service to others.

About us
Energize empowers and inspires leaders of volunteers worldwide.  Our specialty is creating and selecting the most relevant, innovative resources in volunteer management.  We're advocates for the power of volunteers and for the recognition of the leaders who unleash it.

Energize, Inc.
5450 Wissahickon Ave. C-13
Philadelphia PA 19144
Phone: 215-438-8342
Fax: 215-438-0434
info@energizeinc.com