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In this issue...

January Hot Topic: Should We Cap the Number of Hours a Volunteer May Serve Each Week? 


Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management 2013

Follow Volunteer Management News via Our Twitter List

New in Our Online Journal,

Susan's Tip of the Month: Co-existence of Auxilians/Friends and Direct Service Volunteers
Upcoming Volunteer-Related Events


January 2013


National Mentoring Month, USA 


Jan. 21: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service USA 


Jan. 21: Everyone Ready Online Training: Pitfalls and Obstacles to Volunteer Involvement: Your FAQs


February 2013


Feb. 11-17: Random Acts of Kindness Week


Feb. 18: Everyone Ready Online Training: Budgeting for a Volunteer Program


Feb. 25: International Corporate Philanthropy Day (ICPD)


Feb. 25: Ontario Hospital Association Leaders of Volunteers Conference, Canada

Stay Connected with Energize

Follow us on Twitter

Find us on Facebook

Find us on Facebook

News in the Volunteer World Blog

e-Volunteerism: A journal to inform and challenge leaders of volunteers

Everyone Ready Online Volunteer Management Training
Energize Volunteer Management Update

January 2013

a1January Hot Topic: Should We Cap the Number of Hours a Volunteer May Serve Each Week?


Susan tackles this question from a colleague: "How many volunteer hours are too much?" Are there any legitimate reasons to limit the time volunteers may give or is it a self-defeating practice? Would you put a maximum on the size of a check from a money donor? Sort out the layers of complexity in this issue and join in the discussion.


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. 

a2Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management 2013


Volunteer resources managers Down Under or anyone, anywhere looking for an international learning experience take note: The 2013 Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management is scheduled for March 20-22 in Sydney, Australia at Novotel Brighton Beach.


The Retreat is the leading annual educational and professional development opportunity for volunteer program managers who feel they are past the "basics" and seek new challenges. The faculty for this seventh Retreat include Australians Andy Fryar and Martin J Cowling, Canadian Tony Goodrow, and British Sue Jones. The hundreds of past Retreat alumni say it was the most significant learning experience of their career.


Registration is limited to just 52 participants, so inquire soon at http://www.vpmretreat.com.au/2013-retreat/.


a3Follow Volunteer Management News via Our Twitter List


Is your Twitter feed overwhelming? Need a way to separate volunteer management information from family and friend tweets? We've done the work of "listing" the Twitter profiles of people and organizations serious about involving volunteers effectively. A "list" is a curated group of Twitter users. Originally we created this list for our own work, but have made it public for everyone to benefit. So, to keep up with volunteer management news and ideas, subscribe to our Volunteer Management list on Twitter. Simply go to https://twitter.com/energizeinc/volunteermanagement and click on "Subscribe" in the left-hand column.


We can't add ourselves to the List, so be sure to follow our @energizeinc Twitter account directly, where we will share more volunteer management news from other venues.


If tweets are not your cup of tea, Energize is also active on Facebook and LinkedIn. And, of course, don't forget to visit our "News in the Volunteer Field" Blog - or subscribe to our RSS feed.


a4New in Our Online Journal, e-Volunteerism


e-Volunteerism is our international, subscription-based journal for informing and challenging leaders of volunteers. The current issue, Vol. XIII, Issue 1, will end when Vol. XIII, Issue 2 takes its place on January 15th - but, as always, all past articles continue to be available to subscribers via the journal's archives. These items were made available to readers since last month's Update:

The next issue opening on January 15th will offer a range of provocative articles, including how to apply personality profiling to more effective placement of volunteers, a Training Designs article on how to adapt the skills of professional coaching to supporting volunteers, a review of a study in Public Money & Management about communicating the value of volunteers, reflections on how "philanthropy" has incorrectly become synonymous with "giving money," great quotations about volunteering that can be used as discussion starters, and much more.


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.


a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Co-existence of Auxilians/Friends and Direct Service Volunteers


Many organizations benefit from the support of self-governing, all-volunteer groups. Often called auxiliaries or "friends of" groups, they are common in hospitals, cultural and performing arts institutions, libraries, parks and zoos, and government agencies needing an independent fundraising body. The officers of these associations, themselves volunteers, must coordinate the efforts of their members to accomplish goals. But many organizations also have paid managers of volunteer involvement recruiting a separate corps of volunteers for in-house activities.


Co-existence of two bodies of volunteers can create underlying tension. It is common to hear volunteer officers question the need for a paid coordinator, matched by paid managers bemoaning the challenge of dealing with volunteer leaders. And the volunteers (or "members") they lead are caught in the middle.


The Roots of Tension
With some exceptions, the traditional all-volunteer association is in trouble. Even if some groups are presently viable, their long-range future outlook is not rosy. Many are "aging in place" without attracting new or younger members, let alone any type of diversity. They are recycling officers because few members want to take leadership roles. Their projects and the amount of money raised are in a downward spiral. Understandably, volunteer leaders are defensive about this situation, especially if they cannot see alternatives to future survival.


Almost always the all-volunteer support group pre-dates the creation of the paid coordinator of volunteers position. The world has changed around the veteran volunteers, who do not necessarily feel inclined to change along with it. So, the paid volunteer resources manager and the group's volunteer officers are out of sync with each other from day one.


The seeds of discontent are further sown by unwitting executives who add the new staff position without any clear explanation of what will be expected in terms of coordination and cooperation between the new employee and the pre-existing volunteer leaders. All the options raise red flags. If the new in-house volunteer office is given no authority (or direction) to deal with the all-volunteer group, the two programs are left to their own devices to work out a relationship and bump against each other trying to co-exist. If the employee is suddenly put in charge of the formerly independent volunteers, it's easy to see the potential for resentment and resistance. If the all-volunteer group is asked to fund the paid position (which does still happen), questions arise about the chain of reporting and ultimate responsibility.


Someone has to define policy to eliminate assumptions. If volunteer association officers assume a hierarchy in which they are on top, they may view and treat the paid volunteer resources manager as administrative (largely clerical) staff at their beck and call. On the other hand, the volunteer resources manager, assuming a hierarchy in which s/he is on the top, may view and treat the volunteer association as an irrelevant (or irritating) appendage. If the person hired to fill the new employee role was previously an officer of the all-volunteer association, all sorts of additional friction emerges!


Finally, if a merger between two or more organizations forces the consolidation of previously operating volunteer groups - and possibly more than one paid volunteer management position - expect similar problems unless strategic planning prepares the way.


Potential Consequences
Apart from unpleasantness, tension between two sets of volunteers creates practical problems, both in handling daily work and in public perception. The division can confuse the community if each does separate publicity and recruitment, rarely mentioning the other or offering a prospective new volunteer the choice to become involved with the other or both groups.


Frequently the two volunteer corps compete, particularly for younger, more diverse new members. Association officers may request that all new volunteers be required to join the all-volunteer association or automatically be considered members. This is a non-starter, as someone interested in contributing time to a specific volunteer assignment or project rarely is also interested in the social and political infrastructure of a membership association focused on meetings and events. Despite this reality, some organizations acquiesce to making all volunteers titular members of the auxiliary simply to appease the veteran leadership. This only tends to draw out the slow death of the all-volunteer group by swelling their membership roster with people having no intent to participate in the planned activities. Worse, volunteers attracted to the new range of work under paid leadership might resent the unwanted added layer of group involvement.


The Way Forward
Neither the paid volunteer resources manager nor the officers of the all-volunteer group can solve their divisions on their own. If it is genuinely time to disband the long-standing volunteer group altogether or officially make it a project within the larger volunteer program, muster the courage to do so. This should be done with the members, not to them, and any volunteer who wishes to continue supporting the organization should be offered that chance. Some pomp and circumstance might be in order, to honor the long history of contributions by the friends group - maybe even a plaque on a wall visible to the public.


If the decision is made to continue having two distinct corps of volunteers, articulate the rationale and create policies for how the leadership will interact. This probably means an intentional separation of the roles each set of volunteers will fill and guaranteeing that all volunteer applicants will be able to choose whether to affiliate with one or both.


Co-existence is possible, but only if both groups of volunteers are valued by the institution and by each other. The paid volunteer resources manager and the officers of the all-volunteer group need to have open lines of communication and collaborate whenever possible. Each is a resource to the other; combining their perspectives can only lead to more opportunities.


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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