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In this issue...
Differentiating between Volunteering and Working for Pay

Everyone Ready Starts 6th Year

International Resources Broaden Horizons for Us All

Blogs Are Springing up All Over

Tip of the Month: Orientation and Training Are Different
Recognition Idea
Our Girl Scout troop will be recognizing parent volunteers with  a "boxed dinner." It has all the dry ingredients packaged up nicely with a recipe for an easy meal on a busy night, with a little clock tag saying "thanks for the gift of your time."

- Submitted by Tracy Lindsay

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
"How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world."
- Anne Frank

Share Your Quote

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Energize Volunteer Management Update
January 2010
a1January Hot Topic: 
Differentiating between Volunteering and Working for Pay

Much of volunteer management today focuses on the similarities of volunteers and employees. As a practical matter, this is appropriate.  But it is also limiting. It tends to push volunteers into uniformity rather than celebrating their potential to act with far fewer boundaries. Think of what we might accomplish if volunteers had free rein to make the most of what distinguishes them from a paid work force.

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.

a2Everyone Ready Starts Sixth Year

The new year is also anniversary time for Energize's online volunteer management training program, Everyone Ready - and it's now year #6. Over time, we have been pleased to enroll over 25 national organizations wanting to offer access to high-quality resources about working successfully with volunteers to their whole network of paid staff and volunteer leaders. If you work for one of these organizations, we hope you are making use of the program, which offers a new topic from an expert trainer every month. (If you want to know if your organization is a current member and how to get access to the program's resources, just e-mail us at: ersupport@energizeinc.com.)

You can also get an individual membership in Everyone Ready and multiple individual enrollment discounts are an option for a professional association wanting to offer a benefit to a group of its members.

The next online seminar is Pitfalls and Obstacles to Volunteer Involvement: Your FAQs, in which a panel of faculty respond to concerns and issues commonly raised by people in daily contact with volunteers. Take a Trial Run now!

a3International Resources Broaden Horizons for Us All

Energize tries hard to offer you the best information and materials from around the world. Yes, many of the things you will find at www.energizeinc.com are from the United States, but the real common denominator is that we connect you to resources in the English language. That opens the door to information from many countries, from the UK and Ireland to Australia and New Zealand, but also Singapore, India, and more.  Further, because many people can read English even if they do not often speak it, the materials on our site can be helpful to colleagues just about anywhere. Our journal, e-Volunteerism, has a truly global subscriber list and contributors to date have come from over 20 countries.

One of the reasons that we made a commitment to selling electronic books is to be able to serve the international community. You can buy on online with a credit card, which pays Energize in US dollars but which you then will pay in your currency - and you have immediate access without shipping time or costs. Conversely, for American customers, we offer titles from Canada, England, and Australia that are not otherwise easily found.

Throughout the Energize site we make every effort to include resources for leaders of volunteers, such as volunteer centers, professional associations, journals, online discussion forums, blogs, and more from as many countries as possible - including in our calendar of training events and conferences. We rely on all of you to tell us if something is missing or needs to be updated.

By the way, we are happy to post conference announcements or descriptions of professional associations, for example, in the host country's language, providing you give us the exact wording (and spelling) and explain the posting in English as well.

a4Blogs Are Springing up All Over

No section of our Web site has grown as rapidly as the listing of volunteer-related blogs. It has tripled in the last half-year alone! Check out the wide variety of opinions and perspectives about volunteering in the "blogosphere" - including Energize's Book Blog that we launched last year. As always, we welcome you to tell us about other blogs for our field that we might have missed.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Orientation and Training Are Different

In casual conversation, we often link "orienting and training" together and, of course, they are related - but they are not the same. They are sequential, with orientation (British colleagues say "induction") coming first.
Orientation places the new volunteer into context. It provides an introductory overview of your organization, sets the tone you want, and clarifies rules and procedures applicable to all.  It's important that orientation be provided consistently for every volunteer, regardless of position or background (except, probably for volunteers in single days of service, though they, too, need some context for their work).  Because it is done for all volunteers, in most agencies, orientation sessions are created and presented centrally by the volunteer services office, including such elements as:
  • A physical tour - with basics such as how the phone system works or where to store personal belongings
  • Introductions to key people - or at least a list of staff and volunteer names
  • How to find information when needed
  • Emergency procedures
Training includes both initial training necessary for each volunteer to get started on his or her assignment and in-service or ongoing training that can be offered to keep skills current over time or simply as a way to maintain enthusiasm.

Initial training must be relevant to each specific volunteer position description, and also must be tailored to the abilities and experience of each volunteer. Therefore, it is usually provided by the volunteer's direct supervisor or someone in the unit where the work will be performed. To be effective, the trainer needs to:
  • Distinguish between what someone needs to know before starting on an activity vs. what can continue to be taught over several sessions as the volunteer is on-the-job.
  • Develop content based on learning objectives for the distinct elements of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
  • Understand that sometimes what is needed most is simply good instructions!
Ongoing or in-service training is both skills-oriented and a perk for volunteers. Therefore, you can involve volunteers themselves in planning and delivering such sessions. Be clear on your objectives (freshen skills? develop team spirit?) and then design a process that achieves those objectives. Consider:
  • What needs a group meeting, but also what can be shared through the written word? Online?
  • Can you build in cross-department fertilization?
  • Can updated information be made available to volunteers via a password-protected area of the agency's Web site?
  • Can you collaborate (and share the work) with other nearby or similar organizations to bring in guest speakers for all of you at once?
Finally, whenever possible, mesh what you offer volunteers with training that employees get. This should be two-way:  volunteers should be invited to staff professional development, but the volunteer office can also score a lot of points if the in-service sessions you offer are equally available - and of interest - to paid staff!

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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