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In this issue...
August Hot Topic: The Separation of Service-learning from Volunteering...and Does it Matter?

Ask Linda Graff

Valuable New Online Resources Available from the US Government

Tip of the Month: Ask the Unexpected
Recognition Idea
Honors for Volunteers and Staff

Our hospital launched a new recognition program whereby ANYONE can nominate a person for service above and beyond. This program includes employees, physicians AND volunteers.

Volunteers are part of this program, rather than having their own separate "volunteer of the month" that may be perceived as lesser than staff programs. It is great to see their names  recognized on the bulletin board along with physicians and paid staff!

-Submitted by Marcia Ferguson

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit.
- Greek Proverb

Submitted by Judy Gross, Pittsburgh, PA, US

Share Your Quote

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Energize Volunteer Management Update
August 2009
a1August Hot Topic: The Separation of Service-learning from Volunteering...and Does It Matter?

Service-learning has evolved as a world unto itself apart from the field of volunteer management, despite the connecting link of the young people engaged in service. Why is it important for educators, students, and the public to see service-learning as a type of volunteering? How can volunteer program managers bridge the divide?

Read this Month's Hot Topic
You can subscribe to the Hot Topic as a podcast or RSS text feed -- or listen to the audio online.

a2Ask Linda Graff!

Do you have a question about risk management or policy development in your volunteer program? E-mail your question to ask-an-author@energizeinc.com by Monday, August 17th. Linda Graff (the volunteer field's leading authority on all matters risky) will pick a question to answer in a post on the Energize Book Blog, and we'll try to provide some advice for everyone who writes in. (Don't be afraid to share your issues --  we won't  post the last name, e-mail address, or organization of the asker on the blog.) 

Special offer! Linda is the author of numerous books on volunteer management which the Energize online bookstore carries in electronic (PDF) format. We currently have a limited number of Linda's books in paperback -- so if you've been waiting to purchase a hard copy of Best of All, Better Safe..., or By Definition, now's your chance! Just be sure to click the button for the paperback version when placing your order.
In case you missed it, you can still read or listen to our interview with Volunteer Vancouver about their new book, A People Lens, and ask questions about effectively utilizing highly-skilled volunteers here.

a3Valuable New Online Resources Available from the US Government

In the past month, the Corporation for National and Community Service, in cooperation with various other government agencies, has released an array of exceptionally useful materials for the volunteer community -- whether in or out of the States. 

First, the Volunteering in America Web site has been completely updated with the latest research findings from 2008. You can find detailed multi-year information on volunteering trends and demographics in all 50 states, U.S. regions, and several cities. A summary of the findings can be found in the 6-page PDF, Volunteering in America Research Highlights

Also on the Volunteering in America site are a number of provocative research reports, some highlighted on the main page and others listed in the research area. You can read about everything from why people do and don't volunteer to the correlation between watching television and volunteering.

In partnership with HandsOn Network, the Corporation is providing specific resources to support the findings of the Volunteering in America reports. These can be found in a special section of the Corporation's Resource Center.

The most in-depth new tool is the Nonprofit Readiness Toolkit for Pro Bono Volunteering, a guide to managing corporate and professional volunteers donating their expertise to enhance your organization's work. You will need to create a free online account to access the Toolkit, but there are no restrictions on who may sign on.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Ask the Unexpected

One of the wonderful things about interviewing volunteers is that we do not have to probe only formal educational or work experience background. For many types of volunteer assignments, particularly those that match the volunteer with a client, what we are trying to discover is what the person is like in terms of personality, openness to different ideas, or even sense of humor. So we can be creative in what we ask during an interview.
Here is a starter list of interesting questions. Some of them I've always liked, but I also did a Google search on "unusual interviewing questions" and found more.  Remember, the idea is to go beyond what an interviewer trying to fill a paid job might want to know.

  • What did you study in school that you've never had the chance to use/apply?
  • If you look at volunteering here as an educational experience, what new thing or skill would you like to learn?
  • What do you have most fun doing?
  • What has someone done for you in the past that you would like to "pay forward" by doing something for someone else?
  • If you could wave a magic wand, what things would you change or add around here?
  • If you had won a lottery of 10 million dollars, how would you spend that money?
  • If you could choose to meet a person from history, who would it be and why?
  • What do you think our clients could teach you?
  • If you could be a super hero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
  • What current news stories do you think most affect the people we serve?
  • What would you like to be famous for?
  • What do you think is the difference between volunteering and working for pay? How could we make your volunteer position distinct from any job you've had?
  • What adult, other than your parents, had an important influence on you when you were growing up?
  • What's interesting about you that your resume doesn't identify?
One last idea. Don't consider interviewing a one-time, at-the-start activity. It's easy to cubbyhole volunteers into the assignments we give them on day one. How do we identify  volunteers with potential to do more or different things?  Perhaps asking one or more of the questions above at periodic intervals, or during an annual review, will result in uncovering buried treasure.

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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