Energize Inc. logo
Volunteer Management Update
November 2013
November Hot Topic


November 5th is IVMDay. Most professions do not expect or need a special day of recognition - why do we? Because it's an opportunity to get others to pay attention to what it takes to coordinate volunteers effectively.  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. 

Celebrate Leaders of Volunteers


It's here! November 5th is International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMDay)! As promised, Energize has continued our tradition of creating an annual thank-you card ready to send to your colleagues in volunteer management. Go to the banners and posters area of the IVMDay site to download it and the other free colorful materials and logos available for your use.


Online Bookstore

Ever walk into a bookstore or library and head straight to your favorite section just to browse for books you don't own yet? You can do the same in the Energize Online Bookstore. Visit the Books and Articles Organized by Subject page for a list of key subjects within the field of volunteer management. Whether you are looking for books on volunteer recruitment, the philosophy of volunteerism, diversity in volunteer engagement, risk management, or anything else, this is the place to start. Plus, following the list of books on a specific subject, we've included a link to e-Volunteerism articles on that same subject, making this the ideal place to do wider research.


The Energize Volunteer Management Resource Library is, of course, also organized by subject. But have you noticed that at the top of each library page we've given you a link to "see books and e-Volunteerism articles on this topic"? So it's all integrated to help you find the most information to answer your questions and expand your knowledge.

What's New in e-Volunteerism


Volume XIV, Issue 1 of e-Volunteerism, our international, subscription-based journal for informing and challenging leaders of volunteers, launched in mid-October and will run through mid- January.


Free Access this Month:


From the Current Issue 


New Points of View 


The Uncertain Future of Local Volunteer Centers
Entities that most colleagues recognize as volunteer centers exist in many countries around the world. Although some are effective and creative, too many volunteer centers have never been visible in their communities or received adequate funding - but they still have loads of potential. Rob Jackson and Susan Ellis open a dialogue to be expanded in the April 2014 issue of the journal.



Volunteering Word Cloud Results
Our reader-created "word clouds" are ready to view, download, and use! 



New Postings Since the Last Update:


Subscriber Access Only:

(Subscribe for a full year or 48-hour access)


Star Power: Celebrity Support of Charitable Events and ActivitiesUK author Sean Kelly reports on his useful study of what celebrities think of their charitable volunteering, and how you can engage noted people of all sorts to support your cause.


A Unique Model: A Personal Account of an Innovative Volunteer Program - Andy Fryar (on the journal's editiorial team) at long last provides an in-depth article on the unusual structure of the hospital-related volunteer corps he leads in South Australia.


Pets and Volunteering: Surprising Connections - Erick Lear takes us Along the Web to explore the trending topic of volunteer opportunities available for pets and their human companions.


What's Ahead in the New Issue


Still to come in this issue are articles on: managing volunteer conflict in churches; a personal reflection on how we treat volunteers; a review of a study on accountability for volunteer contributions; and a Training Design on how a British charity has learned to use e-learning to cut down the time needed to induct and train volunteers. Don't miss out!


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 thirteen previous volume years.

Susan's Tip
of the Month


Committee meetings are a fact of organizational life, yet often waste members' time and patience. Here are 10 ideas that apply a volunteer management perspective to making such teams work.


#1: Make sure you really need a committee.
If the work required only needs two or three efficient people, don't form a "committee." Designate a dynamic duo or terrific trio to work out the tasks themselves - no chairperson needed, either. If you do need a larger work group, consider dropping the label "committee" in favor of terms such as "task force" or "action team." It's amazing how changing the name can change attitudes.


#2: It's better to live with a vacancy for a while than to put the wrong volunteer into a key position.
Screen candidates to assure that your committee has the skills it needs. Don't negotiate away critical responsibilities in order to recruit someone (especially such things as attendance at meetings) or you will get less participation than you need.


#3: Interrelationships are critical to success (or failure) of volunteer projects.
Make sure committee members get to know one another and what each brings to the table. Use tools like meeting minutes that record who agreed to do what, by when, to keep everyone informed about work in progress. Clarify what the role of any paid staff liaison might be in relation to the volunteer committee. Equal partner? Clerical support? Who has veto power?


#4: Concentrate on good followership as well as on good leadership.
Define in writing what the goals of each committee are and write a position description for all committee members. After you've defined what each member will do, then develop the description for the chairperson or other officers. Train everyone to initiate discussion or action and not wait for all ideas to come from the chair.


#5: Burnout of valued volunteers is the inevitable result of going back again and again to the same people.
Develop and enforce a rotation policy for committee membership and leadership. Take some risks in recruiting members who may be new and untried. Allow experienced people to consult with a committee in short-term, specific ways without having to serve on the committee and attend every meeting.


#6: Be sure you are truly welcoming to newcomers.
Are new committee members brought on board in a friendly and helpful way? Consciously orient newcomers, both with a solid set of historical materials and with an explanation of how the committee works internally.


#7: Applaud steps on the way to goals.
Don't hold recognition only for the end of a project. Thank people for their efforts as they move through the process. Be aware of low points in enthusiasm and do things that regenerate interest. Even something as simple as applause for an accomplishment can lift spirits.


#8: Support volunteers who are doing good work.
Mutually agree upon expectations and methods of reporting at the very start - and don't allow absence from a meeting to mean a member doesn't have to report. Deal with poor performance as it reveals itself rather than waiting until it has become a problem pattern of behavior. Which is a key way to make every volunteer who is doing the work right feel supported and recognized.


#9: Make the most of your written communication, especially e-mail.
Give committee members a fighting chance to read - and act on - your mailings: highlight, use boxes, humor, color. Send shorter messages more often and use e-mail subject bars to assist volunteers in separating FYI messages from items that need a quick response.


#10: Document procedures so that they can be passed on to successors.
In addition to committee minutes, it is equally important to keep track of policies made or changed, procedures implemented, sample forms developed, and other tools that will be useful to those who serve in later years. Schedule a transition meeting between incoming and outgoing chairs.


If your organization has many committees, consider holding a chairperson's institute and training everyone to implement tips such as these. You can foster a consistent approach to group work that helps everyone to get more done and treat one another better while doing it.

This Quick Tip comes from
Susan J. Ellis, President of Energize, Inc. 


Want more of
Susan's Wisdom? 

Read her books. You'll find them in our bookstore.


If you missed our last newsletter, you will find our newsletter archive here 

Material may be re-posted or printed without additional permission, provided credit is given to Energize, Inc., and our Web site address is included: 


Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter