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In this issue...

December Hot Topic: My Personal "State of the World's Volunteering" Report 


Happy International Volunteer Day 2011!

New Energize Blog Has Launched!

Everyone Ready Contest Winners Announced!

New in Our Online Journal, e-Volunteerism

Susan's Tip of the Month: Remembering to Catch Dreams
Recognition Idea

Singing Praises


Here's a fun and seasonal idea for recognizing a key volunteer or committee chair. Have the people most connected to the volunteer team up to modify the words to the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song. Make each verse as related to the person as possible. Find a good time to serenade the honored volunteer, maybe with the chorus wearing Santa hats or jingling bells. Here's the start of real song sung at the Baudville Company to a popular supervisor:


On the First day of Christmas, Karen gave to me...a warm smile and howdy.

On the Second day of Christmas Karen gave to me...two thumbs up.

On the Third day of Christmas, Karen gave to me...three kind words.

On the Fourth day of Christmas, Karen gave to me...four questions answered.

On the Fifth day of Christmas, Karen gave to me...Five golden smiles.


--Idea adapted from Baudville Company's The Joy of Recognition: Designing and Implementing a Successful Recognition Program


Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote

You have to become involved to make an impact. No one is impressed with the win/loss record of the referee.


--John Holcomb


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
December 2011
a1December Hot Topic: My Personal "State of the World's Volunteering" Report


To close IYV+10, United Nations Volunteers is set to issue its State of the World's Volunteering Report. In this spirit of celebration and reflection, Susan looks back at all that has happened professionally in our field - things we have done or were done to us - and asks for your retrospectives, too.


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 Happy International Volunteer Day 2011!


December 5th is International Volunteer Day (IVD), declared annually by the United Nations. This year it has special significance in bringing the International Year of Volunteers + 10 to its official close. To showcase volunteering in all countries, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) designed a special Volunteering Matters Web site that has been soliciting captioned photographs in response to weekly questions. Use this celebration opportunity to show volunteers in your organization that they are indeed part of a worldwide movement!


UNV is also using December 5th to release its year-long study of global volunteering, The State of the World's Volunteerism Report. In a pre-launch press release, UNV reveals that the Report highlights three major trends: "migration and travel are transforming the way people volunteer; the private sector is increasingly involved in volunteerism; and information and communications technologies are opening up new means of civic engagement."


a3New Energize Blog Has Launched!

In last month's Update we told you to look for the new Energize, Inc. "News in the Volunteer Field" Blog. It is now up and running. We have merged and expanded several of our longstanding features into the blog, which is posted at http://blog.energizeinc.com/. The newest post will always be visible from the Energize, Inc. Web site homepage.


The blog format gives us the flexibility to post news and announcements whenever they occur and - most important - site visitors now can respond, comment, and add more information to any item. So check us out and please join in! You can also subscribe to the RSS feed.

a4Everyone Ready Contest Winners Announced!

For the month of October, we ran the Everyone Ready Contest to give you an opportunity to consider how your entire organization could be better prepared to welcome volunteers as partners working toward your cause. Along with a short survey, we asked: What would change if everyone in your organization was trained to work with volunteers?


Thank you to everyone who participated and shared your visions with us. The judging panel had such a hard time making the final prize awards that we decided to name two 1st and two 2nd prize winners!

Click here to see the winners! 


Contest Survey Results
We also asked: What percentage of your paid staff and leadership volunteers have ever received formal training in how to work effectively with volunteers?

Click here to see the results. Where does your organization fit in on the pie chart?

a5New in Our Online Journal, e-Volunteerism


e-Volunteerism is our international, subscription-based journal for informing and challenging leaders of volunteers. The current issue, Volume XII, Issue 1, opened on October 15th and runs through January 15, 2012. All the articles this quarter center on the theme of "Credentialing in Volunteer Management." The issue attempts, for the first time, to present an overview of how certification of leaders of volunteers is being approached around the world. Don't miss this unique set of articles and do join in the international discussion!


New article posted since the last Update:

  • Current Models of Certification: A World Tour by an International Panel of Contributors - factual descriptions of the options to obtain a credential in volunteer management in the USA, England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.

Also, What's Wrong about the Way We Teach Volunteer Management is the current Points of View essay by Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis. This feature is available to all site visitors free of charge each quarter, as a sample of the journal's contents and to elicit wider response.


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

All of us at Energize, Inc. wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and only good things for 2012, personally and professionally!
a6Susan's Tip of the Month: Remembering to Catch Dreams


As this volatile year draws to a close and we look toward new opportunities, it is heartening to know that volunteering is inherently an optimistic activity. No one volunteers for a cause they assume is hopeless. So the very act of participation implies a dream: this problem can be solved, this cause can succeed, this effort can make a difference.


In our efforts to professionalize volunteer management, to calculate the worth of volunteer services in the gross national product, to develop policies and minimize risk, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees. We must never become so focused on the nuts-and-bolts of effective "management" of volunteers - doing things the paid staff wants them to do - that we forget our role as facilitators of what volunteers want to do.


The late Ivan Scheier always exhorted leaders of volunteers to think in these terms and he wrote all about it in his book, Making Dreams Come True without Money, Might or Miracles: A Guide for Dream-Chasers and Dream-Catchers. He proposed that leaders of volunteers recognize their role as "dream-catchers"; we have the special ability to welcome the passion and vision of those we engage as volunteers. Here are just three examples of how you can fill this role:


1. Welcome mavericks.
In general, very few organizations are comfortable with people who march to the beat of a different drummer. How do we react if someone enthusiastically proposes a new idea for how to deliver service or even for what service to deliver? Are we willing to experiment or do we dismiss the different vision as naive, uninformed, or amateur? We ought to make the volunteer program the place that new ideas can be tested.


2. Foster "social entrepreneurship."
The traditional model is for the organization to define a need or problem, decide how it will be handled, and recruit employees and volunteers to fill predetermined job descriptions. Maybe we can allow creative thinking to thrive. For example, why not recruit volunteers who are concerned about the need or problem and challenge them to "find ways to do something about this"?


3. Give permission to dream.
The volunteer program can dedicate itself to foster dreaming. On a regular basis, hold think tanks or at least "idea discussions" on questions such as:

  • If we were to start from scratch, what would you do differently?
  • In an ideal world, what would you like to see happen?
  • What idea has no one ever tried that you think might work?
  • If you were given an unrestricted grant of $50,000 (or whatever amount or currency you wish), what would you spend it on?

Don't just involve volunteers in these sessions. Paid staff rarely are permitted to dream and there is no reason why the volunteer office can't be the one place they are welcome to do so.


And how about involving clients in speaking for themselves about what they'd like? One model of volunteering is self-help. Perhaps instead of always recruiting outside volunteers, maybe we can engage recipients of service in helping each other or at least in steering the organization toward greater impact.

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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