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May Hot Topic: The Self-Directed Volunteer

Connect with Energize on Facebook

Advanced Volunteer Management Institute Back for 4th Year

Tip of the Month: Get Governance Volunteers to Interact
Recognition Idea
I found a great way to say thanks to a volunteer or co-worker when you're short on time. Send an "e-Praise" email at baudville.com. You can choose a theme of thanks, recognition or celebrations, personalize it and the company will send you a copy. It's great!

-  Submitted by Kim Gube, Volunteer Coordinator, American Red Cross National Capital Chapter

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
- Albert Schweitzer

Share Your Quote

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Energize Volunteer Management Update
May 2010
a1May Hot Topic: The Self-Directed Volunteer

A conference in April explored a new (maybe) type of service:  the self-directed volunteer. Learn what this is all about and decide for yourself whether it's a trend you can adapt in your organization. Is it "organized neighborliness" or something really different? What's the role of social media in mobilizing self-directed volunteers?

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.

a2Connect with Energize on Facebook

You can now find us on Facebook! Add us to your favorite Pages (by clicking "Like") and support our goal of empowering leaders of volunteers, volunteer programs, and organization-wide volunteer involvement.

We've joined Facebook to make even more connections between volunteer management professionals and the many powerful resources available for improving the way we involve volunteers in our organizations. For example, on the left-hand side of our page on Facebook you'll notice our Favorite Pages box (links to other outstanding people and organizations in volunteer management) and our Links box (links to interesting information related to volunteer management). Check these out when you visit our page to see what we find interesting and valuable. And please give us feedback and other ideas to make the page more useful to you.

In the weeks and months to come, we hope to learn more about how Facebook can help us encourage dialogue between our colleagues and us. In the meantime, visit the page to see what Energize is focusing on at that moment, whether it is a new book release, activity at a conference, or news from the field. For all of our full in-depth discussions, information, lists of tons of links and articles, connections to the field, etc., continue to visit our Web site.  

a3Advanced Volunteer Management Institute Back for 4th Year

For the fourth consecutive year, the Advanced Volunteer Management Institute (AVMI) will be held in conjunction with the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. This learning opportunity for experienced volunteer resource managers will be held this year on June 26 and 27 in New York City. Join facilitators Martin J Cowling, Susan Ellis, Rick Lynch, Steve McCurley and Betty Stallings in this high-level, engaging, and enlightening exploration of advanced topics in volunteer program management for nonprofit, government and community organizations. Participants will:
  • Explore cutting-edge approaches for effective volunteer engagement
  • Focus on the challenges facing volunteer programs in our rapidly changing world
  • Engage in individualized conversations with other advanced volunteer program managers
For details on the AVMI agenda, go to: http://www.volunteeringandservice.org/plan/advanced-volunteer-management-institute.cfm.
Attendance for the two-day event costs $200 ($150 for HandsOn Network members).  Although you register through the National Conference form, you may attend the AVMI without paying for the full conference, which runs from June 28 to 30.  To register, go to: http://www.volunteeringandservice.org/register.cfm.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month:  Get Governance Volunteers to Interact

It's the time of year when organizations run conferences, special events, and volunteer recognition functions. Such gatherings are great opportunities to educate board volunteers about what other volunteers/members are doing, connect the board directly with a range of people who have opinions about the organization, and make the board visible to other stakeholders.
The main goal is for the board to simply mingle, talk and listen.  Accomplishing this, however, takes planning. Here are some suggestions:
  • Don't keep the board together as a group at any event.  Instead, scatter them to seats at different banquet tables, have each attend different concurrent workshops, and even sit randomly throughout the hall at a plenary session. Then, encourage informal conversation, but with a purpose: Agree on one to three questions that every board member will ask participants during the course of the event, so that afterwards you can share frequent responses.
  • Make sure board volunteers are identifiable by special nametags, color codes, or ribbons. Give the average member a fighting chance to recognize and talk with them.
  • Limit private meetings to conduct board business during events as which other attendees may perceive such absence from the room as conveniently avoiding interaction with members. Even if this is a false assumption in terms of motive, board members who are kept in private meetings simply cannot be talking to members at the same time. Hold board meetings before or after, but allow board members the freedom to actually participate in the event itself.
  • Depending on the personalities of board volunteers and the culture of your organization, add some fun into the proceedings. Rotate officers at the podium for introductions or moderating panels, but have them introduce themselves with a short anecdote about their most memorable organization moment, why they ran for the board, or what mistakes they made in the past.  Or have them hand out gag gifts as special recognition to selected members. Or dress them in costumes.  Whatever works in your situation.
It's the board chair who establishes board culture and therefore has the responsibility of assuring that the sort of staying-connected activities described here become a natural expectation of the role of any board member. The chair models behavior, of course. Does the chair stand on ceremony, keeping staff and volunteers distant and rarely mingling informally?  Most leaders do not intentionally act regal. At a minimum, you can suggest more effective ways to interact at an event focused on volunteers for the purpose of celebrating the contribution of time and expertise. Maybe your executive can then keep the momentum going!

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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