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Volunteer Management Update
September 2014
September Hot Topic

Finding the right volunteers has always been a priority - and the basic principles of recruitment never change. Susan Ellis shares ten timeless recommendations for attracting new volunteers that we shouldn't neglect...and then asks you to share your tips, 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. 

Free Publicity


At least once a year we remind you that Energize offers you free ways to share news with colleagues in the volunteer world. Remember to use these opportunities! You can:


  • Submit information about any volunteer-management-related conference, workshop, or class - on-site or online - as long as it is open to public registration. We give you a form to complete which guides you in explaining your offering.

  • Post a vacancy for a paying job in volunteer management, or a job with major responsibility for volunteers in some way. We also have a section for internships in volunteer management (paid or volunteer). Again, we give you a form to complete.

Submissions are welcome from anywhere in the world. Never think that your local event or job is too specialized to benefit from Internet exposure! First, you never know whether someone is interested in traveling or relocating and, second, you are not acquainted with every single person in your area. We often get reports of publicity on our site generating participation from someone less than a mile away, but heretofore unidentified. Give it a try.


Also, we are in the final stages of redesigning the Energize Web site and very soon the sections on professional education and jobs will be even easier to use - and more effective in reaching more people. Stay tuned!

Author Spotlight: Carol Weisman 

Carol Weisman Carol Weisman, president of Board Builders, is an internationally known speaker, author, trainer and consultant who specializes in volunteerism, fund raising and governance. She has worked with a wide range of clients and has served on 37 boards and been president of 8. Carol's hilarious sense of humor is showcased on her Web site where her biography quips, "Carol began her professional career working with gangs, a marvelous background for working with boards." Her humor permeates all the books we carry by her in the Energize Online Bookstore. You'll learn and laugh! What could be better?


book cover

Build a Better Board in 30 Days

Great reminders for experienced board members and an easy orientation for new board members.




Raising Charitable Children

Warmly provides practical tips for adults to share the gifts of generosity, selflessness, and compassion with children of all ages and get past the "gimme-gimme" mind-set.


book cover The Secrets of Successful Boards

A "Boards 101" book for trustees new to boards, for leaders of all-volunteer associations, or for anyone starting a nonprofit from the ground up, with chapters by ten well-known authorities on boards.


Secrets of Successful Fundraising

Written in the same fashion as Secrets of Successful Boards, nineteen top fundraising professionals clearly explain all your options for increasing your revenue and promoting your organization.



What's New in e-Volunteerism?


Volume XIV, Issue 4 of e-Volunteerism,our international, subscription-based journal for informing and challenging leaders of volunteers, launched in mid-July and will run through mid-October.


Free Access this Month:


From the Archives


Betty Stallings Designing a Strategy for Persuasion  (III, 2 - January 2003)
Individuals leading volunteer programs must not only be excellent technicians but also be able to proactively influence individuals and systems to work effectively with volunteers. In this Training Design, Betty Stallings takes you step-by-step through the process of developing your own persuasion strategy.


From the Current Issue


 author imagesThe Challenges in Educating Senior Managers

 In their Points of View feature article, Rob Jackson and Susan J. Ellis ponder the continuing question of why it is so hard to teach executives to value the contributions of volunteers and suggest some ways to improve the situation.


Subscriber Access Only:

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


New Postings Since the Last Update


Laurie Mook A New Approach to Retain Volunteers: A Reflective Activity  While researchers have used field experiments to understand the giving of money, there have been few studies on the giving of time. Laurie Mook reviews Sign Me Up! A Model and Field Experiment on Volunteering, that contributes to filling this gap.


Still to Come in this Issue
Over the next weeks, readers will gain access to: reflections from Australian volunteerism pioneer, Louise Rogers; a Training Design on "The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations That Matter"; and a history of the Junior League and how it has reflected changes in the lives of women. As always, all past articles remain accessible (and open to reader comments) in the online Archives.


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

Corporate social responsibility intersects with volunteering when a for-profit company encourages its employees to volunteer in the community, whether on company time or on the employees' personal time - and whether in a pro bono capacity sharing the skills with which they earn a living or pursuing outside interests. And business people are fantastic resources. But sometimes, as former head of General Electric's employee volunteer program, David Warshaw, says, "Businesses are from Mars; Nonprofits are from Venus."


There are indeed many things that are different in world view and operating practices between businesses and both nonprofits and government agencies. Being aware of these differences can help you to orient volunteers from the business sector more effectively and, in turn, help them to maneuver in their new volunteer environment. Also, it's vital to consider what attitudes might be held by the company as an entity, separate from those of individual company employees.


Here are some examples:

Decision-Making Process

In for-profits: Within a pre-set budget, the authority to make decisions is decentralized and often rapid.


In nonprofits/gov't: Often, plans made on the frontline must be submitted for board approval or legislative review. Rare to have fast action.


Method of Project Funding

In for-profits: Once a decision is made, cash is allocated and available to carry it out.

In nonprofits/gov't: Unless already in the budget, a new project may need special fundraising or grant-writing, which can take a lot of time (and may not get approved).


Non-cash Resources

In for-profits: Companies may draw on assets that it pays for:

  • Employees as volunteers
  • Employees for in-kind services (printing, designing, etc.)
  • Meeting space
  • Equipment, including transport 

In nonprofits/gov't: Nonprofits have fewer cash-based assets, but offer other benefits:

  • Employees and volunteers
  • Community contacts and sphere of influence
  • Location (possibly)

Possible Concerns

In for-profits:

  • Remaining profitable is the business' primary focus rather than the nonprofit cause/mission
  • Businesses may question the capacity of the nonprofit to contribute to the project 
  • Businesses may worry about loss of control
  • What is the amount of cash ultimately needed?
  • Could unexpected business climate changes arise affecting the ability to continue with the volunteer project?

In nonprofits/gov't:

  • The cause/mission is the agency's primary focus, but not for the business
  • Will the business commitment last through a slow process?
  • Nonprofits may worry about loss of control
  • Will there be equity of labor, or will the company assume it pays the bill and the nonprofit does the work?

Image Issues

In for-profits:

  • Who might dislike the company's involvement with the specific cause or agency?
  • Will the company gain a "halo effect" for good works or be suspected for self-serving motives?

In nonprofits/gov't:

  • Who might dislike the corporate involvement?
  • Might some see the agency as "selling out"?

You can see that it's a mistake to assume that someone from the "other side" approaches projects in the same way. Learn and appreciate the differences while you find your commonalities. Your agency, the business, and the volunteers in the middle will all benefit.

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: 


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