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In this issue...

August Hot Topic: Let's Be Honest about Nonprofit Boards of Directors (or, Lessons to Be Learned from Penn State) 


AL!VE and Energize Partner on Expanded Association Directory

New in Our Online Journal, e-Volunteerism

Susan's Tip of the Month: Professional Associations for Leaders of Volunteers - It's Up to All of Us 
Upcoming Volunteer-Related Events

August 2012


August 15: AL!VE Group Member Roundtable 


Now until August 24: Invite volunteers to enter the VolunteerMatch Photo Contest! Following the postings at the contest Facebook page or Pinterest 


August 20-Sept. 15: Everyone Ready Self-Instruction Guide: Pro Bono Service: Get Ready for the Highly-Skilled 


Aug. 29: A Billion + Change: Remembering Katrina: Improving Disaster Response & Relief through SBV 


September 2012


September 11: National Day of Service and Remembrance (USA) 


September 17-Oct. 13: Everyone Ready Self-Instruction Guide: Connecting Social Media and Volunteers 


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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
August 2012
a1August Hot Topic: Let's Be Honest about Nonprofit Boards of Directors (or, Lessons to Be Learned from Penn State)


Nonprofits are governed by boards of directors comprised mainly of volunteers and, as the Penn State scandal proves, they are not always effective. Why are volunteer resource managers so rarely asked to help in recruiting, training, recognizing, or otherwise helping the board to function?


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. 

a2AL!VE and Energize Partner on Expanded Association Directory


Bookstore BuzzAL!VE, the American professional society for "leaders in volunteer engagement" and Energize, Inc. are collaborating to build a directory of professional societies of volunteer resource managers in North America. Such associations go by many names, including "DOVIAs"  (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies) and AVAs (Associations of Volunteer Administrators).


There is already a DOVIA directory on the Energize Web site, but we know that not all associations are listed and much of the information already there has not been updated (organization representatives must submit correct information on their own). So this new survey is the start of more focused attention on creating and then maintaining a comprehensive directory that will be useful (and freely available) to everyone.


If you are a member of a professional association, whether local, state/provincial, or regional, please first check the existing directory to see whether it is already listed or not. Then contact the best person in your association to respond to the survey on its behalf (or, of course, do it yourself), whether to identify your group for the first time or to update your information.




The survey will run from now through September 30. The survey and the Directory can be accessed both through the AL!VE Web site and the Energize site.


Bonus! See Susan's Tip of the Month below for some thoughts on professional networks for leaders of volunteers.


a3New in Our Online Journal, e-Volunteerism


e-Volunteerism is our international, subscription-based journal for informing and challenging leaders of volunteers. Since the last Update, a new issue has been opened: Volume XII, Issue 4. The following articles are now live:

This issue continues until the next quarterly issue is posted on October 15th. Still to be posted this quarter are a Training Design on new learning technology platforms, a Voices section featuring videos of participants in the UK "Volunteer Champions" project, and a feature article by American Erin Barnhart on encouraging volunteers to ask, "what's in it for me?"


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 twelve volume years.

a4Susan's Tip of the Month: Professional Associations for Leaders of Volunteers - It's Up to All of Us


All professions form membership associations to allow practitioners to meet one another, exchange ideas, and make collaborative connections. Most professional societies focus on the skill development of individual members by offering training opportunities - or at least continuing education to keep current on new trends and issues - and often validate member credentials through certification and other professional recognition. But these associations are also concerned with advocacy for their profession, engaging in lobbying, public relations, and other promotion that helps the public (and legislators or funders) to understand and value the contribution of the work.


There are many professional associations and networks for those in volunteer management, ranging widely in size and success. Many are open to practitioners who work with volunteers in any type of setting; others are "affinity groups" of people from the same type of service or setting.


In my opinion, our networks are strongest when they work towards four critical goals:

  1. To do things that support volunteerism in a community that would not be possible to do (easily or at all) by an individual agency on its own.
  2. To encourage exchange of ideas, skills, techniques among members and thereby raise the competencies of volunteer administration practitioners. In turn, this creates more effective volunteer efforts to help those we serve and volunteers themselves.
  3. To share resources and attract more.
  4. To have an impact on other professions that intersect with our work.

There is no single name for these societies, though two that are common in the United States are "DOVIA," which stands for Directors Of Volunteers In Agencies, and "AVA" appended onto a geographic location. For example, my own Philadelphia-area group is called DVAVA, or Delaware Valley Association for Volunteer Administrators. The Minnesota state association is MAVA, for Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration. AVA was the acronym for the previous international Association for Volunteer Administration, but none of the local groups were official affiliates. Today in the United States, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE) is building a new generic national association for the United States.


Healthcare volunteer management is the most well-organized special setting profession, with the national Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals (AHVRP) in turn having state affiliates with local chapters.


These days affinity groups have formed online, without necessarily scheduling real-world meetings, such as AVPPA@yahoogroups.com for those working in the performing arts and several discussion forums on LinkedIn.


Energize has been trying for many years to keep up with the coming and going of volunteerism professional societies around the world, relying on our site visitors to submit current information. So wherever you are on the globe, please check our listings both for accuracy and to find other colleagues near you. And if you live someplace without a local network, take the plunge and start one!


How? It's not hard.


Think about which organizations in your area are likeliest to have someone assigned to engage volunteers. When you consider this, it's relatively obvious: hospitals, museums, schools, libraries, youth programs, parks and gardens...and you're off and running! Now telephone each institution and ask to speak to the person in charge of volunteers (if there isn't anyone, you'll soon know). Introduce yourself as a colleague and express interest in meeting. Make a date for lunch and get your new acquaintance to repeat what you just did and invite another leader of volunteers, too.


Aim for 4 to 6 people at the first lunch. This will allow you to really meet one another and figure out if you want to start some sort of local network for regular contact. Keep in mind that the most successful leaders of volunteers are, almost by definition, friendly, enthusiastic people-people. So you'll like these folks!


Determine who has a meeting room available for, say, 15-20 people. Set a date and a possible topic to discuss what would be of common interest, such as "creative ways to say thank you to volunteers." Agree to each continue the process of identifying colleagues and invite 3 new managers to this next meeting, arriving at the target number. (Note that this same basic, shared outreach remains successful no matter at what stage of development your professional association may be.)


At that second, larger gathering, discuss creating an informal structure and some upcoming meeting dates. Don't get hung up on bylaws, officers, or dues right away. But do collect and then share a list of names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. Get one person to commit to hosting a single meeting. If three people volunteer for three different dates, you may be set for the year.


Starting a professional association is not hard, but maintaining it is. Why? Because it requires a core group of people to give time and energy to keeping the meetings interesting and new members recruited. But it does begin with that first get-together of a few like-minded people. Without that first step, nothing can come next.


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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