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In this issue...
March Hot Topic: Exercise Your Volunteering Funny Bone

More about Humor

New Organization Membership Options for Everyone Ready

New in e-Volunteerism

Tip of the Month: Bringing Volunteer Contributions to the Attention of Financial Donors

Recognition Idea
Volunteer Book Launching with Community Celebration
Volunteer Nelson New Zealand produced a book of volunteer stories and photos. Then launched the book at a cafe, with local celebrities, musical entertainment and NZ delicacies served by two local chefs. "It's a sign of mediocrity when you celebrate gratitude in moderation." Goooo Volunteers!!!!
Submitted by Jude McNabb

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Volunteerism Quote
"Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?"
- Thomas Jefferson

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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
March 2011
a1March Hot Topic: Exercise Your Volunteering Funny Bone

Is Mother Nature or the economy getting you down? Could you use a good laugh? We want to find - or create - volunteer-related humor: cartoons, jokes, funny anecdotes, and other things that show the lighter side of working with volunteers. So Energize is running a contest: Submit humor to us during the month of March, to be judged by colleagues on Facebook, and win a gift certificate for books in our Online Bookstore!

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.   

a2More about Humor

The new Hot Topic (which only coincidentally will go into the archive on April Fool's Day) is seriously about humor. Humor can be hurtful when it is mocking, but the ability to laugh at oneself is an important trait. Also, we tend to make jokes about important things, and so volunteering - so widespread and diverse - deserves some attention to its funny side.

So please join in the spirit of the humor contest and help to find or "commission" humor we can all use. We will also accept videos as submissions to the contest, so by all means send us short skits or fractured songs or anything else. If copyrights forbid reposting something, then we can simply link to the funny item (as with this ecard).

Humor in languages other than English is very welcome, just please translate the text for us!

Get volunteers engaged in the search for laughter. We'll all feel better for it.
a3New Organization Membership Options for Everyone Ready

Energize is in our 7th year of running the Everyone Ready online volunteer management training program. To respond to customer demand, we are rolling out brand-new, 2011 membership options for organizations!

Everyone Ready Logo

The centerpiece of the new approach is a Volunteer Management Skill-Building Center, which includes ALL Everyone Ready seminars and guides available on-demand, plus full access to the e-Volunteerism online journal. The full membership plan continues to offer monthly featured topics, guided learning by expert trainers, an active discussion board, and a number of new features. The alternative membership plan allows an organization to simply get access to the Skill-Building Center only. (Note that, in both cases, Energize will update one topic a month on the continuing 3-year cycle.)

To obtain more information, please e-mail us at everyoneready@energizeinc.com.

Note that the individual membership option remains the same for now - and that you can take a trial run of the program for only $99, which gives you two months and five (5) different topics. After that, you can go on a month-to-month payment plan of only $49 each month. Or, you can enroll for the cost-effective one-year membership.

a4New in Our Online Journal: e-Volunteerism  

The current issue of e-Volunteerism, our international subscription journal, is Volume XI, Issue 2. The following articles became available to subscribers since the last Update:
One more article will be posted for this quarter and announced in this Update. Note that subscribers have full access to the Archives of all eleven volume years. The next issue of e-Volunteerism opens on April 15th.

Subscribe for a full year or for 48-hour access.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Bringing Volunteer Contributions to the Attention of Financial Donors

Knowing whether and how an organization engages volunteers reveals a great deal about that organization - facts that any funder, accrediting agency, or donor would want to know. When your organization seeks donations or grants, does it include relevant information about volunteer involvement to bolster its case?

Head counts and tallies of hours served are of least importance, as these do not explain who volunteers are and what they actually do. Present data to your executives in ways that actively support fundraising. For example:
  • Specify what percentage of volunteers come from the immediate community or population the organization serves, to indicate the level of support or acceptance from those in a position to know firsthand. Also, if you engage volunteers from your target client population - whether youth, seniors, people with disabilities, or others - it demonstrates a willingness to work with as well as for the people you serve, and gains the opportunity for useful input and perspective.  
  • Effective engagement of exceptional volunteers shows the ability to attract and manage all the resources available to the organization. When volunteers bring a wide variety of skills, beyond those already available on staff, they enable you to diversify the scope of service programs considerably.  
  • The presence of student interns from various universities and disciplines is an indicator of the high professional standing of the staff. 
  • Explain how volunteers experiment with or pilot test ideas that are not yet ready to be funded. What an organization asks volunteers to do on the behalf of its mission demonstrates creativity and determination to find new solutions.
  • Vibrant volunteer engagement that includes people of all ages and demographic diversity, and that is able to recruit new volunteers all the time, shows that the organization is staying current.   

Conversely, prospective donors can be influenced in the opposite direction:
  • If the volunteer corps is totally different from those served or lives far away, might there be issues of local community acceptance?
  • A moribund volunteer corps that is "aging in place" with no new participants may be a significant warning sign of other concerns.
  • The absence of volunteers (except, of course, on the board of directors) may indicate poor fiscal stewardship, since the organization's leaders see building the payroll as the only way to staff the services. There are some of us who will not donate money to an organization unwilling to involve volunteers beyond special events and clerical work. Shouldn't this be of equal concern to foundations and government granting officials?
In the last analysis, donors and funders should be helped to understand the philosophy of volunteer engagement of an organization. Most important is to differentiate those who involve volunteers because they are "cheap labor" from those who have a vision of volunteers to expand the capacity of the organization to do the most effective work.

View the archives of these Updates since 2008 - Susan's monthly Quick Tips are listed there for you.

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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