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May 2010
Board Members are Volunteers, Too!
In This Issue
Resources for Building an Effective Board
Excerpt: "People Raising: A New Perspective on Volunteer Resources"
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Visit the Energize Book Blog to get the latest info on volunteer management resources.

Board members are volunteers, too! These resources will help you recruit, orient, and train an enthusiastic, effective board that understands the importance of volunteer involvement in your organization.
Build a Strong, Effective Board

Your Guide to Youth Board Involvement and the Law
Learn how an organization-wide "youth infusion" strategy, including placing youth in leadership roles, can benefit your organization. This e-booklet provides you with case studies of successful youth board membership, recommendations for making the process work well, and "Tips for Youth Board Members from Youth Board Members."
The Secrets of Successful Boards: The Best from the Nonprofit Pros
Get your members up to speed with this practical, fun-to-read "Boards 101" book. Great for trustees new to boards, leaders of all-volunteer associations, or anyone starting a nonprofit from the ground up. Includes a chapter by Susan J. Ellis addressing the board's role in volunteer involvement, plus chapters on recruiting board members, fundraising, strategic planning, running meetings, and legal issues.
From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement (new 3rd edition!)
Although written for executive directors, From the Top Down also speaks to decision-makers on the board, especially in its discussion of developing a vision for volunteer involvement, creating policies, and assessing the impact of volunteer contributions.
"How Many Hats Do Your Board Members Wear?"
This must-read e-Volunteerism article will help you prevent role confusion among governance volunteers. As the authors state, "When roles are ambiguous, conflict ensues, effectiveness is diminished, and effort is wasted. There's a lot to be gained from role clarity for volunteers!" Subscribers to e-Volunteerism can access the full text of the article here and non-subscribers can purchase the article for only $3 here.
Resources Book Excerpt
People Raising: A New Perspective on Volunteer Resources

Excerpted from chapter 9 of The Secrets of Successful Boards: The Best from the Nonprofit Pros, edited by Carol Weisman, 1998.

Imagine your reaction if, as a long-time board member, you discovered a part of your organization that you never knew existed. This component involves tens or even hundreds of people and provides services well in excess of what you thought your budget could cover. Besides the value of these services to the clients and the staff, your organization also gains community ambassadors - though you have no idea what they might be saying about you. Would you feel that this component was worth the board's time or attention?
Surprise! You have only to look around your organization to see that you do indeed have this invisible resource working for you right now. These are the volunteers who contribute their energy and skills almost every day, all year long. In your organization, you may call them "members" or "interns" or "auxilians" instead of, or in addition to, "volunteers." Regardless of what you call them, if your board does not involve itself in planning and supporting their work, you are missing an enormous opportunity.
Nonprofit organizations are founded by volunteers, governed by volunteers, and accept the services of millions of volunteers to support their work. But the subject of volunteers is usually neglected in the boardroom. Much of the literature on boardsmanship also ignores this vital area. But this chapter will show how a little board governance goes a long way toward successful volunteer involvement...
Why Volunteers Deserve the Board's Attention

Volunteers are a legitimate subject of concern to a board of directors because:
  • It is a governance decision to discuss how central volunteers should be to the service delivery of your organization.
  • As contributors to your organization, volunteers should be seen as part of any resource development strategy.
  • Volunteers are your unpaid personnel department and may even outnumber employees.
  • Volunteers have enormous potential in public relations, fundraising, public education, legislative advocacy and other community outreach functions.
  • Volunteers are a source of valuable information for planning and evaluation purposes, but only if someone asks for their opinions.

Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:
Excerpted from chapter 9 of The Secrets of Successful Boards: The Best from the Nonprofit Pros, edited by Carol Weisman, 1998. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at
Energize, Inc.
5450 Wissahickon Ave., C-13
Philadelphia, PA 19144

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.
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