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In this issue...
January Hot Topic: The Choice of the Citizen: Pay Taxes, Do  Without, or Volunteer

Statistics on Volunteering

"Handling Challenging Behavior by Volunteers" Seminar Starts Jan 17

New in e-Volunteerism

Tip of the Month: Harness the Voice of Volunteers through the Power of Reviews

Recognition Idea
Volunteer Quilt
To celebrate our "50 Years of Volunteers," I asked the volunteers to create quilt blocks [highlighting scenes of service] and then quilt them together....Volunteers also helped me research old newspapers, scrapbooks, and interviewed older volunteers to create a story book.
- Submitted by Patty Morrison, DVS; McKee Medical Center, Loveland, CO

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

- Anne Frank

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e-Volunteerism: A journal to inform and challenge leaders of volunteers

Everyone Ready Online Volunteer Management Training
Energize Volunteer Management Update
January 2011
a1January Hot Topic:
The Choice of the Citizen: Pay Taxes, Do Without, or Volunteer

A major conflict between volunteers and labor unions in an under-funded California school district raises critical implications. With more financial hardships and budget cuts ahead of us, what are the rights and responsibilities of citizens - public servants and taxpayer volunteers - in ensuring services to the community?

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.

a2Statistics about Volunteering

We get lots of questions from colleagues, researchers, and the media trying to learn more about volunteering. A common thread is seeking statistics on how many people of what sorts volunteer, where, doing what things.

Energize links you to official sites that provide national data from around the world in our online volunteer management resource library under "Statistics" at http://www.energizeinc.com/art/statistics.html, as well as under "Research" at http://www.energizeinc.com/art/subj/research.html.

Further, if you want to read articles explaining or expanding on volunteer statistics, you can find them in e-Volunteerism at http://www.e-volunteerism.com/archives/subjects/statistics-volunteering.

However, many people are looking for very specific data: "What's the average retention rate for volunteers aged 21 to 30?" "How many volunteers does a paid staff member supervise in most organizations?" Too often we respond that there is still so little research on volunteering that it's most likely they will not find the specifics for which they are looking. Also, much of the research that does exist isn't very good or begins with an assumption that is inherently flawed: that any study about volunteers can be applied to every setting that engages volunteers. Not true!

Available statistics should be seen as a starting point. Of course, if you conduct research internally at your organization, you can benefit everyone by making it public. The more information, the better.

As always, if you know of online data sources that we do not already have listed on either of the library pages shown above, please let us know so we can add them.

a3"Handling Challenging Behavior by Volunteers" Seminar Starts January 17th

Everyone Ready is pleased to remind you that Steve McCurley's extremely popular Online Seminar, "Handling Challenging Behavior by Volunteers," will be offered beginning on January 17th and running through February 19th. You can access the seminar (a 3-part Flash presentation of approximately one hour in length, plus handouts) 24/7 during this period, as well as ask questions of Steve or make comments on the discussion board for all learners.

Dealing with difficult volunteers is not an easy or pleasant task, and is one that is often uncomfortable for those who believe that tolerating poor behavior is necessary when it comes to volunteers. This seminar will stretch your thinking and give you practical suggestions If you've encountered challenging behavior from volunteers, don't miss this opportunity to take a closer look at methods and examples for improving the situation.

Access this seminar - plus other topics and benefits - by signing up for our $99 trial run OR 12-month (or longer) membership that provides more topics at a lower overall cost! Learn more.

a4New in Our Online Journal: e-Volunteerism

The current edition of e-Volunteerism, our international subscription journal, is Volume XI, Issue 1. The following article has been posted since the last Update:
Subscribe for a full year or for 48-hour access.

On January 15th, a new issue (XI, 2) of e-Volunteerism will be posted. Look for articles on volunteering as "serious leisure," a keynote speech challenging the language of "volunteer engagement," a Training Design on bridging the digital divide with volunteers, and much more.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Harness the Voice of Volunteers through the Power of Reviews

As they say on their Web site, GreatNonprofits is "a place to find, review, and talk about great - and perhaps not so great - nonprofits. It urges anyone with direct experience - as a client, staff member, financial donor, or volunteer - with a charitable organization in the United States, to share that knowledge so that other people can discover that group as well. GreatNonprofits includes profiles for all registered 501(c)(3) organizations based in the United States, but international organizations are welcome to add themselves to the database, as well. The following was written by GreatNonprofits themselves specifically for readers of this Update.

Volunteers play an integral role in the success of our organizations. By donating their time and expertise, volunteers make it possible for our organizations to extend their programs and initiatives far past what budget or staffing restraints might otherwise constrain us to. The potential for volunteers to make a lasting impact on the nonprofits they believe in is monumental and it is imperative that we conscientiously examine best practices for making the most of volunteer involvement. One easy way to increase the impact of your volunteers while also evaluating your organization is to ask volunteers to write a review on GreatNonprofits.

The reviews harness the powerful stories of dedicated and enthusiastic supporters to reach thousands of potential new donors and volunteers. In 2010 more than 650,000 people visited GreatNonprofits to read and write reviews of organizations making a difference around the world. Many of those individuals are looking for opportunities to volunteer with or donate to worthy organizations. Currently, users can rate more than 1.2 million nonprofits directly on our Web site or - via syndication - on our partner sites, such as GuideStar, which in turn uses the IRS database of Form 990 submissions. Users also can write reviews directly on GuideStar that will be published on GreatNonprofits as well.

Reviews will help you:
  • Recruit: Reviews can be a powerful tool to attract new potential volunteers who will be able to relate to the stories and experiences of other constituents who love, support and volunteer with their favorite nonprofit.
  • Motivate: Reviews can promote a sense of community and create an open arena to exchange opinions.
  • Improve: Program managers can use GreatNonprofits reviews as a free tool to gauge what they are doing well, and what can be improved upon. Soliciting reviews from constituents also emphasizes the transparency of a nonprofit's programs.
Most importantly, soliciting reviews from volunteers is both a simple and meaningful way to let them know that your organization genuinely cares about their experience, and is willing to listen and improve in the future. Robert Egger, Executive Director of DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit with more than 40 reviews on our site explains, "We've [always] asked volunteers to rate their experience. I'm a big believer in our organizational ability to translate what volunteers say into real impact. It allows us to tweak our services, so that we're really doing what we say we do."

Here are some easy ways to get started:
  • Claim your organization's GreatNonprofits profile starting at http://greatnonprofits.org/users/register. Once you've registered, search for your nonprofit and click the button that reads "Staff-Claim Org" for tips and insights. (If your organization is not listed, feel free to add a profile by going to http://greatnonprofits.org/organizations/add.)
  • Include a link to your organization's GreatNonprofits profile in your next e-blast or e-newsletter to volunteers.
  • Send out a short link to your review page on your organization's Facebook fan page or Twitter profile.
  • Feature GreatNonprofits reviews in the news, links, or media section of your Web site.
  • With every thank-you card or e-mail, add a line about GreatNonprofits badgereviewing your organization on GreatNonprofits.
  • Add a "Reviewed on GreatNonprofits" badge to your homepage or the volunteer section of your website.
Reviews give volunteer managers and all nonprofit leaders a free tool to tell the story of their organization through their most energetic and enthusiastic supporters. The reviews are yours to use in your own marketing materials, volunteer orientations, fundraising appeals and grant applications.

To get started, head to GreatNonprofits and look up your organization. With more than 50,000 reviews of 7,000 organizations already submitted, your organization may have reviews you don't even know about!

Susan notes: The concept of soliciting reviews can work for any type of organization, anywhere in the world - if you are willing to post them publicly.

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 USA
Phone: 215-438-8342
Fax: 215-438-0434
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