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In this issue...

September Hot Topic: Addressing Volunteerism Issues in the Blogosphere 


Buried Treasure on Our Web Site

Coming Soon! New Blog of Our Own and a Contest to Win Access to Everyone Ready

New in Our Online Journal: e-Volunteerism

Susan's Tip of the Month: Understanding Why Volunteers Want Short-term Projects

Recognition Idea

Thyme for Your Time
To recognize Scout adults and leaders, I recognized their positions (Assistant Scoutmasters, Committee Chairman, Treasurer, etc.) and talked about the training they did to better our program for the boys. I then handed them a potted plant with the herb thyme in it and said, "Thank you for volunteering your 'thyme.'"

Submitted 4 August 2011 by Kathy Wood Scoutmaster Troop 338


Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do something that I can do."


--Edmund Everett Hale, Writer

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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
September 2011
a1September Hot Topic:  Addressing Volunteerism Issues in the Blogosphere


Some truly wonderful and provocative blogs have emerged recently. Here are some of Susan's favorites, all written by authors who are willing - in fact, determined - to address philosophy, ethics, and the "big questions" facing the volunteer field. 


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. 

a2 Buried Treasure on Our Web Site

Because of the size of the Energize Web site, it is hard for visitors to explore it all.  That's why, on our home page, we have a section headed: 


1000+ site pages, so little time!

Dip into what's available with this weekly list of selected resources on our site.


Every week we highlight four different resource areas and one of our vendors.  Like a grab bag, this lets you dip into new information regularly. 


To whet your appetite just a little, did you know that you can find the following on our site?


a3Coming Soon!  New Blog of Our Own and a Contest to Win Access to Everyone Ready

New Year's Day may officially be January 1st, but everyone in the northern hemisphere we know thinks of September as the start of a new school and adult work year. At Energize we've been planning several things over the summer and next month we'll unveil two of them:

  • We are merging what is now our Energize Book Blog with the weekly Volunteer Management News from the Field we post every Sunday to create a single, expanded blog permitting full interaction with our site visitors.  We'll explain more next month, but this blog will be timely and informative - while the Monthly Hot Topic will continue to focus on a provocative issue for a complete month.
  • To help announce the new organizational membership options in our Everyone Ready online volunteer management program, look for a special contest in October in which the prizes will include access to the online seminars and guides. The contest itself will give participants a great excuse to schedule some time talking to managers in their organizations about volunteer engagement - based on our philosophy that "it takes a whole organization" to be effective in supporting volunteers.

More details to come!


a4New in Our Online Journal: e-Volunteerism

The current issue of e-Volunteerism, our international subscription journal, is Volume XI, Issue 4.  Newly posted since the last Update:

  • Laurie Mook's review of Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work published by  Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies for international researchers.   
  • Note that the Points of View essay by Susan J. Ellis and Steve McCurley (currently, Practicing What We Preach) is available to all site visitors free of charge each quarter, as a sample of the journal's contents and to elicit wider response.

Still to come this quarter:a short history of corporate employee volunteer programs and a description of an Australian volunteer project called "POOPs": Pets of Older Persons!


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: Understanding Why Volunteers Want Short-term Projects

If you wonder why it is so universal for new volunteers to want short-term assignments, you shouldn't be puzzled.  After all, we live in a world that has expects everything to be quick, if not instant. Consider:

  • How we take the speed of global communications for granted.  E-mail zips around the globe, but we also want instant messaging, smart phone texting, and who knows what's next?
  • Television shows begin and resolve a dramatic incident in one hour.
  • We have disposable everything - "planned obsolescence."
  • Very few people earn gold watches after 25 years on a job (assuming the job even stays around for 25 years) - and divorce has meant far fewer silver and gold wedding anniversaries!

So it's not surprising that people also want their volunteering to be fast. In addition, there are overwhelming demands on everyone's time. Here are some reasons so many of us feel time-deprived:

  • We are never out of reach due to computers and smart phones - family, friends and employers expect unending accessibility.
  • When we do have free time, we often spend hours online socializing, shopping, whatever.
  • The financial crisis is forcing many into extra jobs and delayed retirement.
  • Divorce creates two households and double the chores, as well as scheduled parenting (and guilt over not enough time with the kids).
  • Many are also caring for aging parents.

Now, along with expectations of speed and stress from a sense of too little time, add the traditional image of volunteering that many in the public hold.  They believe that volunteering means:

  • A steady commitment of time on a set schedule - endlessly
  • Filling an unpaid job slot with defined activities
  • Wasted hours in meetings
  • A bottomless pit in which a little bit of service leads to additional requests for even more time

So...it turns out to be reasonable that volunteering must fit into the demands of people's lives. The good news is that most are well aware of the need for everyone to pitch in and help with important causes.  They actually want to serve, but don't think they can.  It's up to us to show how volunteering can not only fit into a busy schedule but be fun and useful, too.  Position volunteering as skill and career development, or as a way to meet new friends (and even, potentially, lovers), or as whatever people don't think they have time to do.  Help people to multi-task, such as doing volunteer work with their kids. Find ways for people to contribute their skills online or on their own schedule.  Create short-term projects with a clear beginning and end.  The good news is that all of these efforts get important work done and also foster evolving loyalty as satisfied people return willingly for new volunteer projects.


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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