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In this issue...
April Hot Topic: Celebrate Collective Accomplishments, Not Volunteered Time

Winners of Last Month's Humor Contest

Wanted: More International Colleagues

New in e-Volunteerism

Tip of the Month: Weighing Benefits Against Risks

Recognition Idea
"At the very top of my list is a kind of happening which is ongoing rather than annual - daily informal, unforced appreciation for volunteers, expressed in manifold ways: a smile, a 'thank you,' a challenging assignment, a respectful consultation, etc. No single annual event, however elaborate, extensive or exhausting can ever substitute for such regular, routine, unstaged appreciation."

Ivan Scheier

Exploding the Big Banquet Theory of Volunteer Recognition: An Incendiary Analysis

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

- Eleanor Roosevelt
(Submitted by Nan Hawthorne)

Share Your Quote

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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
April 2011
a1April Hot Topic: Celebrate Collective Accomplishments, Not Volunteered Time

It's April and National Volunteer Week arrives in the United States and Canada, to be followed by similar events in other countries in May and June. Susan believes volunteer recognition is a powerful tool for leaders of volunteers that remains largely underutilized - and so offers some new perspectives on saying thank you in strategic ways.

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.   

a2Winners of Last Month's Humor Contest

Congratulations to the winners of last month's volunteering humor contest! Receiving a gift certificate for shopping in the Energize Online Bookstore are:
  • Nicolette Winner (yes, that is her last name!), HandsOn West Central Ohio Director, Council on Rural Services, Piqua, OH
  • Elizabeth Ellis, Consultant, Writer, Trainer
    VolunteerServus, La Pointe, WI
  • Mirna Sherberg, Executive Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator, Fresno Philharmonic, Fresno, CA (who gets a special shout-out for gumption in sharing her photo!)
Thanks to everyone who submitted items and those who voted on Facebook. The contest is now closed, but we are happy to keep accepting and sharing things that allow us to laugh about the lighter side of volunteering.

a3Wanted: More International Colleagues

We've recently examined our statistics and are delighted to report that among the 16,000 subscribers to this free monthly Volunteer Management Update are colleagues in over 30 countries. Although we publish resources only in the English language, we maintain a global perspective. On the Energize Web site, in e-Volunteerism articles, the books we publish and distribute, and Everyone Ready resources we continually include references to volunteering around the world.

To foster international exchange, we want to be in two-way communication with colleagues everywhere. This allows us to be informed about new practices and resources, which we can then in turn further disseminate to all our contacts. Please help us! Here are some specific ways you can connect us:
  • If your organization has a section on its Web site or publications for "resources," check to be sure that Energize, Inc. is listed as a source for volunteer management information. We would be especially grateful to any of our readers outside the United States for confirming to their Webmasters or editors that our resources are not solely American-focused. Also, notify us at cara@energizeinc.com if we can reciprocate the favor and post your info under Sources for Information and Exchange on Volunteering and Service on our site.
  • If your organization is part of a multi-national federation of agencies, suggest that the other member countries include Energize, Inc. in any list of resources on volunteer management.
  • If you are a member of any professional network, such as an association of volunteer resources managers or a state/provincial/national volunteerism society, make your colleagues aware of the Energize Web site and this free monthly Update. Show them how easy it is to subscribe on any page of our site.

One reminder: when you share our URL, please make sure to include the "inc" in "www.energizeinc.com" - too often that all-important "inc" is omitted and your colleagues won't be able to find us.

We offer a number of ways that organizations can affiliate with us to benefit their members with direct links to different things on our site, including discounts on books or subscriptions to e-Volunteerism. And we are always happy to hear your ideas for collaboration. If you want to discuss the options, please contact us at info@energizeinc.com and we'll get in touch.

Thank you in advance for your outreach on our behalf! Also remember to send us your news, conferences, job openings, and volunteer-related resources so that we can post them for everyone to see.
a4New in Our Online Journal: e-Volunteerism  

The current issue of e-Volunteerism, our international subscription journal, is Volume XI, Issue 2. The following article became available to subscribers since the last Update:
The next issue of e-Volunteerism will release on April 15th. It will have Part 2 of Erin Spink's wonderful article, "Volunteer Engagement: Defining the Future of the Profession," as well as pieces on the Volunteer Rights Inquiry in the United Kingdom, a Training Design on working with Millennial volunteers, a Points of View essay on asking volunteers to pay to volunteer, and much more.

Subscribe to e-Volunteerism for a full year or for 48-hour access. Note that subscribers have full access to the Archives of all eleven volume years.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Weighing Benefits Against Risks

We live in a world concerned about risk and have evolved an army of designated "Risk Managers," too many of whom judge new roles for volunteers to be fraught with possible accidents or liabilities. A very recent example is the closing of volunteer-run shops by Cancer Research UK, despite a strong safety record. The job of a leader of volunteers is to focus on the benefits of volunteer involvement that, ideally, outweigh the worst-case-scenario risks that are not very likely to occur.

The key is to lead your organization through a series of important questions in three categories. Then assess the responses to see whether benefits or risks have the stronger argument.

The Benefits of Volunteers Doing Something
  • Who will benefit (to whom will this be important)?
  • What will be the impact?
  • To what other positive things will this lead?
  • How important is this to our mission?
  • Do we have people willing and qualified to fill this volunteer role?

The Possible Risks
  • Is there any harm that could come of this to anyone?
  • What is the likelihood of such harm occurring?
  • What will be the consequence if we do not deploy volunteers in this way?
  • Other than harm or an accident, what else might be negative about this?
  • Are clients concerned about risk or are they willing to accept some in order to obtain a desired service?
  • Are volunteers themselves concerned about the risk or willing to accept it?

Risk Management Considerations
  • Are there ways to build in safety through work design, training, or other risk management practices?
  • Does our insurance cover this or can we get insurance and at what cost?
  • Do we need liability waivers or other informed consent tools, from either volunteers or recipients of service?

Remember that there are always risks in not doing something that is needed. Balance the scales and follow the path that is best for the people you serve. Remember the old motto of the American Association of University Women: Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

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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