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In this issue...
October Hot Topic: The Confusing Talk about "Service"

November 1st Is International Volunteer Managers Day

Reminder: Be Sure You're Getting Our Book Buzz

Susan's Tip of the Month: "Can Blogging Work for You?"

Recognition Idea
We wrote a letter to all the merchants at a near-by shopping center, asking them to offer a one-time special discount on their services or products for our volunteers. We designed a "Volunteer Appreciation Card," which listed the merchants on the back, and specified the benefit.

After the retailers approved the card, we distributed them at our annual volunteer recognition event. It is a "win-win" for our community, and a good marketing tool for the shop owners. Our volunteers loved it!

- Submitted by LouAnne Smith, Volunteer Coordinator, Dallas TX

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering: Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good.

- Ivan Scheier, from Building Staff/Volunteer Relations

Share Your Quote

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Energize Volunteer Management Update
October 2008
a1October Hot Topic: The Confusing Talk About "Service"

We've recently had a flurry of special events, legislative proposals, and media attention focused on the subject of "service." It was brought to a head by an event in New York City on September 11-12, called ServiceNation, at which both presidential candidates spoke.  But what are we talking about? Lumping all forms of "service" together hinders rather than helps debate and action.  Susan examines the confusion.

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

a2November 1st  Is International Volunteer Managers Day

The contribution of volunteers is universally recognized -- in sport, health, emergency services, faith communities, the arts, and environmentalism.  As Update readers know, volunteers are involved in just about every aspect of service delivery everywhere.

However, volunteering does not succeed in a vacuum. Behind this army of volunteers lies an equally dedicated group of individuals and agencies who are responsible for the coordination, support, training, administration and recruitment of the world's volunteers -- skilled professionals who are adept at taking singular passion and turning it into effective action.

That's the reason to celebrate International Volunteer Managers Day, held every year on November 1.  It's a day to let those professionals know that the spirit of volunteerism is enhanced and enabled by them, and to thank them.  Whether you are an administrator, a volunteer, a community leader or someone who receives the benefit of volunteer help, make sure the people who act as leaders and catalysts get the recognition they deserve!

For more information on International Volunteer Managers Day, including ideas for how to celebrate it and what is scheduled already around the world, go to the IVMD Web Site.

Energize, Inc. salutes you all!

a3Reminder:  Be Sure You're Getting Our Book Buzz

In the middle of every month, we send a special e-mail to anyone who signs up, focusing specifically on volunteer management books.  The Book Buzz -- it's free -- announces new publications or books new to the Energize Online Bookstore.  Each month we highlight a different topic by noting books on that subject and giving a useful excerpt from one of them.  And we often include discounts offered only to Book Buzz subscribers.  Not already on board? Email Us to sign up.

a4Susan's Tip of the Month: 
"Can Blogging Work for You?"

Blogging is one of those Internet options that has exploded in popularity and is still finding its limitations and potential. At its heart it's a simple concept: an online journal or diary, available to the public, with the capacity to offer text, audio and video and allow site visitors to reply (see the Wikipedia entry for "blog"). 

Like so much on the Web, blogs range wildly in value, from egotistical rants to arcane musings to truly useful commentaries or sources of information. They offer many different perspectives and personal experiences, and are increasingly used by the media as research sources. Volunteering is already a subject in the "blogosphere."  Go to any of the blog search engines, such as Technorati, and do some exploring. The keyword "volunteering" found 12,433 results for me just now. Clearly someone is busy typing!

There are several ways you might use blogging to help in volunteer recruitment, recognition, general visibility, and professional exchange.
  • Ask whether any of your current volunteers already has a blog (you may be surprised!). Suggest that s/he include thoughts about her or his volunteer experiences in your organization in this existing blog. Since blog text can be hyperlinked, whenever a volunteer mentions your organization's name, it can allow the reader to click through to a page on your Web site that talks about volunteering. (Keep this in mind whenever volunteers receive special recognition or reach a milestone of service; remind them to include mention of this in their blogs.)
  • Start your own blog -- personally or by recruiting a volunteer to do so -- either on your organization's Web site or on an independent site. (There are many sites that allow you to start a blog for free, such as Google's Blogger.) Make the theme of the blog volunteering at your organization. Post announcements of public events, new volunteer position vacancies, volunteer training, winners of awards, etc.
  • Invite current volunteers, clients, and staff to be guest writers. Encourage them to share things such as:
    • Testimonials about volunteering and feelings of accomplishment
    • Interesting or funny volunteering experiences
    • Reflections on the meaning of their volunteering
    This therefore not only attracts the potential of prospective new volunteers, but it serves to recognize, appreciate and celebrate current volunteers.
  • Raise a "question of the month" and encourage everyone in your organization to respond.
You may worry about opening the door to unsolicited and unwanted postings. You have the choice of screening postings before they appear online or of letting everything go live but monitoring the site carefully and removing anything offensive. This is another good reason for assigning a volunteer as Blog Editor.

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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