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In this issue...
October Hot Topic: Taking the Client's Perspective in Designing Volunteer Roles

Big News: The Energize Web Site Just Got Better!

Tip of the Month: Personal Volunteer Histories
Recognition Idea
Ideas for IVD

International Volunteer Day (December 5th) is coming up. Here are ideas for celebrating:

- Launch a new page on your Web site to coincide with IVD that notes specifically the IMPACT volunteers make at your organization and in your community.

- Contact your local newspaper about publishing an editorial on December 5 that will focus on the impact volunteers make specifically to your organization and to the immediate community.

- Choose your own theme for IVD. You can link IVD and the contributions of volunteers to critical issues facing your community, such as HIV/AIDS, children's education, adult literacy, environmental protection, etc.

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
Ko taku rourou
Ko tau rou rou
Ka ora te tangata

With my resources
And your resources
Everyone will benefit

- A New Zealand Maori Proverb, submitted by Ann F. Hodson

Share Your Quote

e-volunteerism logo

Everyone Ready logo
Energize Volunteer Management Update
October 2009
a1October Hot Topic: Taking the Client's Perspective in Designing Volunteer Roles

Susan reflects on her recent healthcare experiences to question whether we are simply missing the boat by not directing volunteers into work that is of greatest value to the users of our services right  now.  In a changing world, can we afford to ignore emerging needs -- and isn't it important to ask volunteers to do whatever is of highest priority?

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.

a2 Big News: The Energize Web Site Just Got Better!

We are delighted to announce the launch of our redesigned Web site! All the volunteer management resources, advice, and help we have always provided are now easier to find. Also, we think this new design will make it clear how many more resources are available to you -- resources that you may not have thought of. Our goal is to educate, inform, and support leaders of volunteers so that they may lead volunteer involvement most successfully. We hope our new Web site design will make that even more possible.

Here's what has changed:
  • We hope you'll like the new look and feel of the site, which extends to every page. We want it to be welcoming, readable, and simple to find what you need.
  • The Energize homepage now features the timeliest material prominently. The current Hot Topic and responses are front and center, followed by News from the Field, which is updated weekly. We're also highlighting the Book Blog which debuted in June. Bookstore Manager, Lindsay Liprando, regularly posts a wonderful array of interviews with authors, excerpts from books, and material about publications relevant to managing volunteers, though written for a general audience. Note that all three of these continuously-changing items are announced on Twitter.
  • The blue navigation bar at the top of every page on the site now gives you a set of drop-down menus, immediately showing what's offered in each section. This is not only helpful, but lets you click directly to any specific page. Of course you can also search by keyword or use the updated site map.
  • Note that what used to be called "Referral Network" has been separated into two categories called Events, Courses and Awards and Sources for Info and Exchange. Many of you regularly come to the site looking for quotations about volunteering and other motivational material. To help you, we've expanded the name of that area to Quotes and Collective Wisdom.
  • In addition to showing dates for the most recent postings throughout the site (we will continue to update information continuously), you'll find a heading in the middle of the homepage titled "1000+ site pages, so little time!" under which we'll highlight weekly some of the interesting pages of resources found within our comprehensive site. Different pages will appear each time you visit. We encourage you to click through and learn more about the many things available to you.
  • At the very top of each page we've put section tabs that give you quick access to the four components of our company:
    • the Energize main site with free resources and references
    • the Online Bookstore with over 80 titles specifically on volunteer management
    • e-Volunteerism, the quarterly online journal for the volunteer community
    • Everyone Ready, the online volunteer management training program
    We've also highlighted books, journal articles, and upcoming trainings in prominent boxes on the Energize homepage.
  • In the masthead of the homepage, take a moment to click on Dimensions of Volunteering and Service. This area "maps" the volunteer world, explaining the many labels put on different types of service and showing Energize Web site resources of special interest to each.
The Energize Web site has been up for 12 years - which is a long time when measured in Internet years (sort of like dog years). Be aware that not only do we avoid being a "cobWeb" (a site that never changes), we also keep timeless material accessible. There is an archive of past Hot Topics since 1997, a listing of past "News from the Field" items in reverse chronological order, an archive of these monthly Updates starting from May 2008 (with the option of clicking directly to "Susan's Tip of the Month" for each), and more.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Personal Volunteer Histories

Here's an easy and revealing group exercise that you can use as an icebreaker in new volunteer orientation, in training paid staff about volunteering, or with any audience which you would like to educate about how integral volunteering is both to community life and to each of our personal histories.

Create a worksheet with several columns.  Head the left column "Stage of Life." Below, enter the following age periods, creating a row across for each:

Before age 5 (might have been with your family)
As an elementary/primary school student (might have been with your class)
As a high school student
As a university student
In your 20s
In your 30s and 40s
In your 50s and 60s
Age 70 and above

Make the second column the widest and head it "What You Did."  Then make columns for "What Did You Call It?" and "Why Did You Do It?"
Give these instructions at the top of the sheet and also explain orally:

We have all done some form of service to others and our communities, but often have not labeled these activities as "volunteering."  Think back to different times in your life and identify some ways you "volunteered," "helped in the community," "served others," or did anything to assist a cause for which you were not paid a wage.

Give time for people to complete the worksheet.  They may need to jog their memories!
There are lots of ways you can then share or use their responses.  Here is a starter set of discussion questions.  Adapt these to who's participating and to your goals in doing the exercise:
  1. Can you see how, regardless of the vocabulary you used to describe these things, they share the common attributes of "volunteering"?
  2. Were you surprised at the amount and range of the things you've done in your life (whether a lot or a little) that could be called "volunteering"?
  3. Which of your personal volunteer experiences were the most memorable, valuable or rewarding for you? Why?
  4. Which did you dislike or feel wasted your time? Why?
  5. Which activities do you feel made the greatest contribution to the person, organization or cause you were trying to help? (Did any make things worse?)
  6. How might your answers to the previous questions give you an understanding of how to treat volunteers in our organization today?

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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