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In this issue...
September Hot Topic: Replacing Volunteers with Paid Staff

New Way and Price for Individuals to Enroll in Everyone Ready

Act Now to Urge Congress to Raise the Mileage Deduction

Susan's Tip of the Month: "Developing Volunteer Work for Children"

Recognition Idea

For several years, the County Commissioners have awarded mini-grants to volunteers in County government volunteer programs. Volunteers submit proposals for grants that will benefit the work of their volunteer program, the clients served by the volunteer program, or the program volunteers....

Awards are made at a Commissioners' meeting followed by a reception. The volunteers are recognized publicly as are the very creative programs in which they work.

- Submitted by Diane Knudsen, Volunteer Coordinator, Boulder County, Colorado

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

 - Mother Teresa

Share Your Quote

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Energize Volunteer Management Update
September 2008
a1September Hot Topic: Replacing Volunteers with Paid Staff

There is endless talk about making sure volunteers do not displace paid staff. But what about the opposite issue? When and how is it legitimate to place employees into roles traditionally held by volunteers? This emerging trend deserves attention. Susan explains and analyzes what's happening and asks for your response.

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

a2New Way and Price for Individuals to Enroll in Everyone Ready

We are delighted to offer individuals a new easy and affordable way to join our Everyone Ready online training program. (For full details, go to http://www.energizeinc.com/everyoneready)

You can now choose between two options:
  1. Save money and pay in full at the start of your enrollment for 1 year: US$495 per person -- that's only $41.25 monthly for a year of program resources (12 new topics), available 24/7, anywhere you're located!

  2. Or . . .
  3. if you prefer monthly automatic credit card deductions, you can pay US$147 for a minimum 3-month commitment and then your credit card will be charged $49 each month for as long as you wish to continue your membership.

Special bonus!  Individual members now receive two essential topics that lay the foundation for the rest of the topics to come and remain available to you as long as you retain your membership. They are:

  • A new, extra Online Seminar (in addition to the 6 you already get per year): Building the Foundation for Volunteer Involvement -- a seminar designed to introduce all new members of Everyone Ready to the basic concept of volunteer leadership and the principles underlying this work.
  • An extra Self-Instruction Guide: Focus on the Volunteer Program Manager: A Task Analysis of the Role and Its Significant Issues -- an overview of what volunteer management is all about.
Learn more, sample the resources, and sign up today at

a3Act Now to Urge Congress to Raise the Mileage Deduction

(This important note is for our American readers only.)  Congress will reconvene in mid-September and vote on several bills now pending to raise the income tax deduction for charitable driving -- which directly affects many critical volunteer roles. Read what this is all about in Susan's July Hot Topic but get the latest legislative update at Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organization's public policy alert. H.R. 2020 would raise the rate to equal that of the business deduction and so deserves support. Other bills are proposing setting the rate at 70% of the business rate. Contact your members of Congress (and get your volunteers to do so, too). Urge support for H.R. 2020.

a4Susan's Tip of the Month: 
"Developing Volunteer Work for Children"

Even children under age 14 can be great volunteers, but much depends on your ability to design the right assignments for them. Experiment to find what works best in your setting. Here are some general guidelines, excerpted and adapted from our book, Children as Volunteers: Preparing for Community Service (Ellis, Weisbord, and Noyes, 2003):
  • Beware of the myth that children will do anything "because they're young." The best jobs are ones children want to do.
  • Avoid stereotyping. Assign work based on the interests of each child, rather than on some preconceived notions such as "boys like to work with their hands" or "girls don't like to get dirty."
  • Children often have fewer prejudices than adults. Use this open-mindedness to create cross-cultural, intergenerational, or interracial assignments. Though initially children may need preparation in facing a new situation (seeing a person in a wheelchair, hearing someone speak with an accent), they overcome such superficial barriers more quickly than adults.
  • On the other hand, children adopt the prejudices they hear expressed at home and may amaze you with their "opinions" on a variety of subjects. Therefore, do not assume open-mindedness and provide training before making a potentially embarrassing assignment. Children say what's on their minds.
  • In designing roles, identify whether literacy is needed to accomplish goals and, if so, what reading level is required. This is an important clue to which child can do the job.
  • Children need to see immediate results, even on a small scale. Define assignments as a series of short-term tasks with identifiable goals or projects. This can be as simple as saying "today your job is to play checkers with Mr. Jones," or "please pick up the litter in this area." One of the most effective techniques to keep children motivated is to give them a sense of accomplishment.
  • Plan for some variety within each assignment. This will allow you to accommodate the physical, mental and emotional levels of different children. Offering assorted activities also keeps youngsters from getting bored and lets them choose what they really feel like doing at any given time. Attention span will vary with each child's age and maturity (and the nature of the task) -- another reason for offering options.

Write a position description for every assignment, even if the task is very simple or will be done by children who cannot read (you can explain it orally). Keep it short and informal, but present it seriously.  When developing position descriptions for adult/child teams, do not fall into the trap of writing a single description aimed at the adult. The child needs her/his own version. This is your first chance to demonstrate your expectation that the child will be a fully-contributing partner in the work.

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
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