years ago Columbia, South Carolina had a construction project going
on downtown with a rather ugly protective wall. The Volunteer Center
coordinated a community-wide volunteer recognition event that started
with permission to paint this wall and the donated services of an
artist who painted an outline of people of every
description tugging together on a rope.
local agencies were asked to submit photographs of a representative
volunteer. The photos were blown up and placed on the faces of the
painted people in the mural. On a designated day, all the volunteers
from all the agencies were invited to come out and paint in the rest
of the mural!
mural painting itself generated publicity that day (and new knowledge
of volunteering in the community) and the mural stayed up for the
duration of the construction project.
Share Your Recognition Idea
|Energize Volunteer Management Update
|June Hot Topic:
Hours and Minutes of Service - Enough Is Enough!
most people feeling time deprived, the old image of volunteering as
an endless commitment, and a political climate urging civic
engagement, it's easy to see why single
"days of service" have
become popular. Organizing short bursts of volunteer energy can be
useful, but this trend has proliferated to the point of absurdity,
with ever-shorter time commitments. Susan cries "enough!" What
do you think?
Read this Month's Hot Topic
can subscribe to the Hot Topic as a podcast or
RSS text feed --
or listen to the audio online.
|We Miss You on Our Hot Topics!
noticed a drop in responses to our Hot Topics over the past two
months. We don't want to lose the
value of in-depth discussion. The more discussion, the more we
reflect - and potentially affect - the thinking of our field. So,
please tell us what you think and bring the Hot Topic discussion back
to the richness we so appreciate.
this Month: A New Home Page Look and a New Book Blog
quick note to alert you to some long-planned changes to our Web site
- the look, not the content! As the site grows (1200 pages and
counting), we need to assure that visitors can find all the resources
we offer. By the end of June you will see a new look and navigation
tools on our home page and a redesigned bookstore main page. And we
are delighted to announce the launch of the Energize Book
Blog, focused on discussing volunteer management books. Of
course we'll let you know more about this unique resource as it
|Say Hello in San Francisco
2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service will take place
in San Francisco, CA, June 21-24. As always, we look forward to
seeing many of you in person during that event. Susan Ellis will be
presenting several workshops and Energize will have an exhibit booth
on the 2nd floor of the conference center. Our booth
number is 232 and we hope you'll stop by to browse the books
on sale and talk to various Energize associates about Everyone Ready and e-Volunteerism.
Launches this Month
(the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement) - a new
national professional organization for
volunteer resource managers in the United States - will launch this
month at the 2009 National Conference on Volunteering and Service.
This new body will use its collective voice to advocate for
professionalism in volunteer engagement and will offer a network for
those in the field to share experiences, best practices and
knowledge, while furthering their professional development.
in AL!VE is open to individual practitioners or those interested in
volunteer engagement. Annual Individual Memberships are $50 per
year. Visit AL!VE's website to
learn more about the association's board, purpose, benefits,
initiatives, and how to join (a redesigned site will be available
those coming to San Francisco for the conference, AL!VE will
host exhibit booth #236 throughout the event. It will also offer a
panel discussion on Wednesday, June 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
This session, entitled Volunteer Management Career Development and
Networking Opportunities (workshop 1174), will explain more about
AL!VE and what volunteer managers can gain by the increasing
professionalization of the field of volunteer management.
Tip of the Month: "Interactive
Modeling" Technique for Dealing with Supervision Problems
years ago I was taught something called
"interactive modeling" as
a supervisory technique for dealing with problem behavior. It's
deceptively simple but powerful in its effectiveness. Not only does
it work with volunteers and employees, but you can use it on family
are seven steps and the key is to do them in sequence. It may
take more than one meeting to work through them all.
1: Tell the volunteer there is a problem. Explain why it is a
problem for you and the organization.
this is harder than it sounds. Knowing that we are meeting to focus
on a concern is uncomfortable, so we talk about the weather, a new
movie - anything to slow down getting to the real subject (all the
while the volunteer knows
"something's coming"). Pleasantly but
succinctly, state your concern. But do not assume the volunteer
knows why it's problematic! This may sound crazy, but unless you
explain what makes the behavior a problem, you cannot be sure you are "solving" the same issue. Example:
been late several times this week. This makes our clients wait for
the service they need and forces the staff to keep them occupied
until you arrive.
VERY important thing to remember is to only discuss the problem, not
any possible solution at this point (e.g., do not add to the above: "...and you must start being on time").
2: Agree on the problem.
you both accept what you stated in step 1, you can move forward. But
what if the volunteer says:
I started coming in on time, but most often I ended up sitting around
for 30 minutes or so. Did the staff really say they were waiting for
can see how this response immediately changes the situation. It
would lead you a different game plan than a response such as:
so sorry. I thought I could get here at 9:30 but the traffic is
worse than I expected.
not move to another step until you both agree on what the issue
really is. Then...
3: Ask the volunteer for a suggested solution.
goal is get the volunteer to be the leader of the solution, not just
do what you direct. Besides, the ideas she or he offers may be very
good. If she or he can't come up with a possible plan right away,
stop the meeting and reschedule in a few days to give the person a
chance to think.
4: Add your thoughts and negotiate a solution.
because the volunteer suggests something does not mean you have to
accept it. But be open to the possibility that the suggestion may
have merit. Respond with your ideas and go back and forth until you
both agree on the plan.
5: Agree on a timetable for implementation. Schedule when you
will talk again.
volunteer may feel on the spot and wish to make the conversation as
short as possible, thereby agreeing to anything. So it's vital
that - before you end the meeting - you agree on when the
new plan or behavior will start. Also fix a time after that to talk
again and see if it's working.
6: Document the interaction.
the volunteer leaves, write down your recollection of the
conversation. Save a copy to file, just in case the negative
situation escalates and you need to document the "case" for
removing the volunteer. But, more positively, also send your minutes
to the volunteer as a follow up, with a note such as: "so glad we
had the chance to talk and here's what we agreed to do together."
7: Follow up as agreed and:
progress and reinforce the plan. Or....
things haven't changed or have worsened, you have a new and
different problem: "What we decided together hasn't
worked." Return to Step 1 and start again.
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.
5450 Wissahickon Ave. C-13
Philadelphia PA 19144
|Pass It On!
Pass on this update to interested
news groups and others who work with volunteers.
Material may be re-posted or
printed without additional permission, provided credit is given to Energize,
Inc., and our Web site address is included: http://www.energizeinc.com/.