book buzz logo
December 2011 

 Holiday Greetings and Best Wishes of Volunteer Involvement Success in 2012 

In This Issue
Featured Resource:The Volunteer Recruitment (and Membership Development) Book, Third Edition
Other Resources
Excerpt: "Your Circle of Resources"
Quick Links

Energize Online Bookstore 




 Everyone Ready: Volunteer Management Skill-Building Program 

Connect with Energize

Find us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter

Energize Blog
Visit the Energize Blog to get the latest info on volunteer management resources.
Everyone Ready
Online Training
Building and Sustaining Strong Volunteer Leadership

January 16 - February 18


Trainer: Carol Weisman, President, Board Builders

Learn to support volunteers to take on leadership positions in today's commitment-averse world.

Access this self-instruction guide plus other topics and benefits by signing up for our $99 trial run.
Everyone at Energize, Inc. wishes you happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year. When the festivities are over and you are back at your desk contemplating volunteer engagement strategies for 2012, don't forget to schedule a little time to focus on the basics. Recruiting the right volunteers for the right positions still requires strategic creativity, even with the prevalence of online volunteer registries. Take a look at some of our classic resources for honing your recruiting skills.
resource2 Featured Resource
The Volunteer Recruitment (and Membership Development) Book, Third Edition
Susan J. Ellis

People lens coverThis book first shows how to design the best assignments for volunteers as the initial step to recruit the most qualified people. What follows is a wealth of information on topics ranging from how your organization's image affects your success in recruitment to where to look for new volunteers, including your own backyard. The Volunteer Recruitment Book also offers a whole chapter on membership development for all-volunteer organizations.
Order Now
resource2 Other Resources

77 Ways to Recruit Volunteers

An idea-a-page for successful recruitment.





A Toolkit for Volunteer Speed Matching

Think speed dating meets volunteer recruiting! One clever volunteer center outside of London produced this Toolkit for the perfect, fun and upbeat recruiting event.


Good Guys: The Eight Steps to Limitless Possibility for Fraternity Recruitment

Learn how to develop a dynamic membership development campaign by applying great, practical tips from two college fraternity leaders (not just for recruiting volunteers on campus!).


Training Module 2 in The 55-Minute Training Series: Volunteer Recruitment

This ready-to-use training explores developing a strategy of invitation to reach the best people to fill your volunteer positions. Simply download, adapt to your organization, and train other leaders of volunteers in your organization.

Resources Book Excerpt

"Your Circle of Resources"

Excerpted from Volunteer Recruitment (and Membership Development) Book, Third Edition by Susan J. Ellis


One of my favorite suggestions for volunteer recruitment is also one of the simplest: start with the resources in closest proximity to your agency. What untapped treasures might be across the street or on the next block?

Picture your facility as the center of a bull's eye, with concentric circles around it. Now do the following. If you are in an urban area, walk out your front door with a clipboard and pen (take along a volunteer for company). If you are more rural, do this by driving. The point is to walk completely around the block (or drive in a tight circle) and write down everything you see: stores, businesses, parking lots, churches, apartment houses, schools, etc.

It is vital to actually do this action physically, even if you feel reasonably sure that you know what is in your neighborhood. Why? Because you will soon discover that: 1) you tend to be aware only of the things that are present in the one direction that you take to work every day; 2) after a while you no longer see what you are looking at; and 3) some of the things you see may not be identifiable. An example of this last point is passing a company with the name "Mighty Corporation" emblazoned on a large sign. Do you know from that name what work this company does? Probably not.


After you have inventoried everything on your street, the two side streets, and the street in back of you, move on to a two-block radius and do the same. As time permits, keep going in widening concentric circles. If you are driving, keep taking right (or left!) turns and inventory a quarter-mile radius, then a half-mile radius, etc. Note that if your offices are in a high-rise building, your first task is to take the elevator to each floor and see who your neighbors are above and below you.


You may be skeptical about this recommendation, but I assure you that you will find a number of "neighbors" that you did not know you had. And this means potential resources...


Making contact with your neighbors is much easier than approaching resources across town. After all, it is always legitimate to make the acquaintance of folks nearby. Develop a special flyer or letter introducing your agency and address it to: "Our neighbors." Explain the services you offer (include a brochure if you have one) and, if appropriate, welcome visitors. Depending on your comfort level and on the culture of your neighborhood, mail the materials in small batches and follow up within a week by phone, or go in person to deliver the material.


Do not feel that these are "cold calls." As a representative of your organization, you want to spread the word about the good work that you do. It will be of benefit to your neighbors to be better informed about an agency in such close proximity. And, for both sides, there is great potential to share resources. Your opening line is: "Hi. Do you realize that we can see your top floor from our backyard?" Or some variation on that theme.


Express as much genuine interest in your neighbors as you wish them to show in you. Ask questions about their work and constituents. Perhaps there is some help that you can offer to them. Maybe a collaborative effort can help everyone. Is there something you can barter or exchange? What goes around, comes around. When you demonstrate good neighborliness, it sets the tone for future relationships.



Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:

Excerpted from Volunteer Recruitment (and Membership Development) Book, Third Edition by Susan J. Ellis, 2002, Energize, Inc. Available in the Energize Online Bookstore at
Energize, Inc.
5450 Wissahickon Ave., C-13
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.
About Us