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June 2011 

Even Leaders of Volunteers Need Inspiration 

In This Issue
Featured Resource: Visionary Leadership in Volunteer Programs
Other Resources
Excerpt: "Soul in Our Work"
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Current Post: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson

Everyone Ready
Online Training
Welcoming Diversity in Volunteer Participation
(Online Seminar)
Starting July 18, 2011

Trainer: Tracy Brown, President, Diversity Trends

Look at the critically important topic of diversity from the perspective of inclusion: assuring that all volunteers are invited and welcomed into your organization, using their differences to strengthen your work.

Access this online seminar plus other topics and benefits by signing up for our $99 trial run.
Leading volunteers or volunteer programs can be challenging, especially when executives put volunteer involvement low on the priority chain. On top of working hard to convince the community to see the importance of supporting your organization's cause, you must also struggle within your organization to prove the importance of involving the community in working for that cause. You are required to be organized and up-beat as well as motivational and inspirational. But who is inspiring you to continue the effort? Several pioneers in volunteer management have put on paper their thoughts about keeping motivated to press onward and lift the value of volunteers. See their works below.
resource2 Featured Resource
Visionary Leadership in Volunteer Programs: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson
By Marlene Wilson

Keeping VolunteersOne of the true pioneers of volunteer management, Marlene Wilson has shared her vision and practical advice with practitioners around the world for over 40 years. In this book, Marlene Wilson moves from the hows to the whys of leading volunteer programs. She urges all who lead volunteers to move beyond thinking of themselves as managers to thinking of themselves as leaders, those who develop vision for volunteer programs and impart that vision throughout an organization. With stories and anecdotes, Marlene will help you re-ignite or discover the passion for leading volunteers.

Visit our online bookstore for a book excerpt, table of contents, and a list of the material included in this book - and to place an order!
resource2 Other Resources

Making Dreams Come True without Money, Might or Miracles: A Guide for Dream-Chasers and Dream-Catchers
Defining our own desires is difficult in a society that convinces us of limited definitions and world views.  Ivan Scheier's book is a clear departure from the vague "follow your dreams" mish-mash...and instead gives inspiring and highly practical examples of how to make dreams come true.

"Voices from the Past" Collection
Voices from the Past is a collection of archived articles from e-Volunteerism: The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community and focuses on pioneers in the field of volunteer management, those who helped shape today's volunteerism.

What We Learned (the Hard Way) about Supervising Volunteers
A bit more practical in nature, this book offers advice, wisdom, and experience from over 85 real-life, on-the-job supervisors of volunteers: crystal clear analysis of what works and what doesn't in supervision.

12 Key Actions of Volunteer Program Champions: CEOs Who Lead the Way
Be inspired by nonprofit executive leaders who dare to champion volunteer involvement to further the missions of their organizations. Best of all, it's free. Download it for yourself and share with your boss!
Resources Book Excerpt
"Soul in Our Work"

From Visionary Leadership in Volunteer Programs
By Marlene Wilson


In one of the most thought-provoking books I've read lately, The Heart Aroused, David Whyte explores the vital task of recognizing that what is killing too many people at work is not so much the pace we go at but that we have removed the soul from our work. (He defines "soul" as "the indefinable essence of a person's spirit and being... It is not about functions, it is about beauty, form and memory.") He goes on to say: "While we think we are simply driving to work every morning to earn a living, the soul knows it's secretly engaged in a life-or-death struggle for its existence."

Quite honestly, that was my most compelling reason for taking a sabbatical. I sensed I was in grave danger of the soul going out of my work. Did that mean it was simply time for me to quit (25 years is a long run on any stage) or should I retire and just enjoy myself (people told me I deserved to do that)? Was there another kind of work or career out there that could rekindle the "fire in the belly" excitement I'd had for this field for so long, or was it possible to somehow fan the embers and rekindle the flame for my work in this field?...

Since many of you have told me that you, too, are feeling burned out and uncertain about your work and future (in volunteer administration, or any other career) let's take a few moments for you to explore two questions:

1. Why did I enter this profession in the first place?
2. Why have I stayed?

The answers to these two questions may lead you to the third and most critical question:

3. Do I still want to be in it?

What helped me to finally realize that I truly did want to fan the embers, blow on the coals and stay in this field is when I realized I am still totally committed to what I believe this work is all about and why I've loved it for so many years.

What do I believe our field has to give to others that is ours uniquely? To give hope! These are angry, confusing, violent times of change and transition. People feel overwhelmed and lost. Too many feel they have no control over their lives and no impact on others.

Volunteering, when it's done well, can be an antidote to people's feelings of alienation and hopelessness. When people volunteer, they experience firsthand that they can make a difference in other people's lives and especially when they join with others taking back responsibility and control of their own communities and neighborhoods. They begin to see and experience the good in themselves and others. This is democracy at its best!


Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of source, as provided: Excerpted from Visionary Leadership in Volunteer Programs: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson, 2008, Energize, Inc. Can be purchased in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at
Energize, Inc.
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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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