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Volunteer Management Update
December 2014
December Hot Topic

Seemingly at the speed of light, 2014 is rapidly coming to an end. Before you consider making any resolutions for the new year, use December as an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months. Susan offers some probing questions to highlight all the things that went right this year!  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. 

New Network
Better Impact Member Community Canadian colleague Tony Goodrow, founder of the volunteer management software company, Better Impact, Inc. (formerly Volunteer˛) has continuously sought new ways to help volunteer resources managers. The company has divisions in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Their newest initiative is the Better Impact Member Community, a free "professional community with a focus on learning...open to all leaders of volunteers" - with no obligation to purchase any software.

Join now and help build the community and beta test the various tools. Connect with colleagues around the world, participate in the discussion boards, and browse the helpful articles and blog posts. A new twist is the "Consultants-on-Call" service. Better Impact Community members will be able to arrange one-to-one access to an international roster of trainers at an affordable fee. There will also be webinars and discounts from various vendors.

Give it a try and sign up today for the inaugural year! Learn more...

Online Bookstore
The principles and techniques of volunteer management apply almost universally - no matter what volunteers do or where they do it. That's why we recommend the general books in our store for everyone. But we also recognize that it's equally useful to understand the unique elements of different settings and so we also offer books for specialized audiences, such as the titles below. (Note that the reverse is also true: even if a book has been written for a particular type of organization, it's possible to learn something useful to apply in any other setting, too!)


An Asset Builder's Guide to Training Peer Helpers
A trainer's manual for adult leaders preparing young volunteers to do peer helping, with 15 interactive sessions complete with discussion guides and handouts (many useful for any age volunteer learning to do counseling).


Volunteer Management in Cultural Institutions
Experience-based and thoughtful road map to creating and managing volunteers in arts settings, combining western best practice with the perspective of eastern Europe.




  Volunteer Management for Animal Care Organizations
As of August 2011, this guide is offered as a free resource by the Humane Society of the U.S.! Geared specifically to the challenges posed by an animal shelter environment but can help any animal care organization build its volunteer program.

Church Puzzle Game
Complete instructions and materials for an interactive group activity designed to allow faith communities to self-assess how well their congregations function.

Running a Safe and Effective Mentoring Program
Clear and streamlined guide to developing a youth mentoring program of excellence, taking you from vision to recruitment, matching, retention, and evaluation.

What Can I Say?
A clear, concise guide on how to communicate with people who are ill.


What's New in e-Volunteerism?


Volume XV, Issue 1 of e-Volunteerism, our international, subscription-based journal for informing and challenging leaders of volunteers, opened on 15 October and will run through mid-January.


Free Access this Month:


From the Archives


Religious Roots of Service
No ancient holy book mentions "volunteering" by that name, but every religion in the world encourages charity, service to others, and personal risk for one's beliefs. This unique article by Lori L. Renner compares the major religions of the world in terms of charity.

From the Current Issue


"Incentivizing" Volunteering
Volunteer for four hours and get a free concert ticket. Volunteer for 100 hours and get a tax rebate. In their
Points of View feature article,Rob Jackson and Susan J. Ellis debate: Do we need to offer incentives to people to get them to volunteer? 




Subscriber Access Only:

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


New Postings Since the Last Update


The Evolution of International
Volunteer Managers Day

At its 15th anniversary, Andy Fryar and members of the IVMDay International Steering Committee recall the start and evolution of the annual November 5th celebration of our profession.



Still to Come in this Issue
Readers can look forward to these upcoming articles this quarter: a great introduction to "how an Eagle Scout and 38 goats volunteered to make a campground safe from poison ivy"; a Training Design with simple ideas for making use of video as a training tool (nothing fancy!); and a review of "clicktivism."  As always, the articles in all past issues 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 14 previous volume years.

We at Energize, Inc. wish all of you a holiday season of joy and peace, and the best of volunteer service in 2015.
Susan's Tip
of the Month
Looking for a conversation starter to open dialogue between you and the executive team or department heads about their understanding of volunteer involvement in your organization? The biggest challenge is that decision-makers assume they know what is going on. But it's rare for an executive to know all the ways volunteers contribute to daily work and even rarer to know what the trends are in volunteerism today.

Try creating a one-page quiz, such as the one below. The point is to make senior managers say "huh?" when they read some of the questions. You want to pique their curiosity to ask you more information, giving you a teachable moment.

The instructions for responding below emphasize that the quiz is assessing knowledge - in truth, the biggest learning will come from those items the responder marks as "?" Shouldn't s/he know? Why not? How can s/he become and stay informed?


Test your understanding of our volunteer involvement by indicating your opinion next to each item below:

Y = Yes  |   N = No   |   ? = I don't know

Our organization...

__ Has access to highly skilled volunteers as on-call consultants or advisors.

__ Lists current volunteer opportunities on free Internet sites established for that purpose.

__ Has put the expectation of teamwork with volunteers into the job descriptions of all paid staff - and then provides training for staff on working with volunteers.

__ Has a volunteer corps that reflects the diversity of our community.

__ Knows what volunteers are saying about us to their friends and contacts.

__ Is tapping into new trends in volunteerism such as virtual and micro volunteering.

__ Invites financial donors to also participate as volunteers to increase their long-term loyalty.

__ Gives volunteers the chance to give money as well as time, but with solicitation materials that first recognize the value of their donation of time.

__ Fulfills legal requirements for screening volunteers and keeps background checks current over time.

__ Benefits from national and local days of service like "Make a Difference Day" or the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

__ Is implementing the best practices of volunteer management.

__ Sees the connection between direct-service volunteers, fundraising volunteers, board members, student interns, loaned executives, and other people who contribute time and talent to us without going onto our payroll.

__ Gets and uses input from volunteers on how we might improve our services.

__ Is able to create useful assignments for volunteers who offer us unexpected skills.

__ Has a vision for what we want volunteer involvement to look like here in ten years.


Add whatever questions are pertinent for you, of course.

You can also add a closing comment on the form - or use the following as the opening to the conversation you want to start:

Do these questions make you wonder if we are maximizing volunteer involvement on behalf of our agency? They should! Volunteerism is all about tapping the community to help meet agency needs. The only limits are imagination and not providing effective support once volunteers have been recruited.



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.


International Volunteer Day
5 December 2014

IVD 2014 is a global celebration of volunteerism, honoring people's participation in making a change at all levels.On December 5th, 2014 join us in applauding hundreds of millions of people who volunteer to make change happen. 

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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