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Volunteer Management Update
April 2016
April Hot Topic
Susan tells the true story of how a photographer friend's talents are being wasted by an appealing volunteer project...and why this has important implications for designing all kinds of volunteer work. 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. Also, you can browse the archive of Susan's Hot Topics (since 1997!).
Recognition Resources
In the United States and Canada, April brings National Volunteer Week, this year on April 10-16. Click on the country name to find how each nation is celebrating this year - themes, social media links, and free resources. Even if your organization does not plan

any recognition activities in April, there is no reason not to use the national events to draw attention to the importance of volunteers. Learn about other Special Days/Weeks Related to Volunteerism around the world in the Energize "Directory for the Profession."

This is also a good time to review the many resources on our Web site that are available to you year-round for showing appreciation to volunteers and others who contribute so much to your work.
  • Quotables - Thanks to our site visitors, we have an enormous collection of quotations about volunteering, categorized for you to find the right saying for the right occasion. In addition, we have compiled humor, parables, poems, songs, and stories for you. Everything you need to prepare speeches and presentations sharing insight about the value of volunteers!
    If you like having this resource available at no cost, please "pay-it-forward" and add your favorite quote or story, using the submission form on the site.
  • Learn about Recognition in our A-Z Volunteer Management Library. Many articles, links to sites, and a range of shared ideas from colleagues, too.

  • Books on Recognition in our Online Bookstore - from skits to entertain a crowd, to charming cartoons, to fresh ideas.
What's New in e-Volunteerism?


Volume XVI, Issue 2 of e-Volunteerism, our international, subscription-based journal, is coming to the end of its quarter; Volume XVI, Issue 3 will begin on April 15th. As always, all previous journal issues are available to subscribers online in the Archives.
Free Access this Month:  

From the Archives 

Family Feud: Relatives, Co-Workers and Friends as Volunteers (Vol. V, Issue 4, July 2005) - The notion of families volunteering together is one that has a lot of intrinsic appeal and a lot of value. But Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis examine the subject from a slightly different perspective: the potential conflicts that arise when individuals with close outside relationships - spouses, siblings, relatives, close friends, co-workers, fellow church members - are volunteering "inside" the same organization but those "outside" relationships, either positive or negative, begin to affect volunteering behavior.

From the Current Issue
Points of View 
Could A Robot Do the Job of A Volunteer Manager?  The BBC ran a series of news stories on the development of robotics, following up a study by researchers that predicted about 35 percent of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerization over the next 20 years. As a bit of fun the BBC asked, "Will a robot take your job?" and provided an online tool to help people answer this question. Rob Jackson and Susan J. Ellis offer some opinions on whether leaders of volunteers should fear a robot takeover.

Subscriber Access Only: 
(Subscribe for a full year or 48-hour access)
New Postings Since the Last Update
Revisiting the Imperial War Museum North: Still Engaged in Innovative Programmes for Nontraditional Volunteers  When it opened in July 2002, the Imperial War Museum North (IWM North) in Manchester, England, unveiled an ambitious community volunteering project: the museum had recruited over 100 local residents, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, to work towards vocational qualifications in the museum prior to its opening, building confidence, gaining experience, and increasing employability. Fourteen years later, author Danielle Garcia reveals that IWM North continues to build a reputation as a major cultural institution, a community collaborator, and a leader in engaging what many would consider 'nontraditional' volunteers in service that blends self-help with accomplishing important work.

New Issue to Launch on April 15th 
Volume XVI, Issue 3 will contain articles on a wide variety of subjects, including mediating conflict involving volunteers, designing work for volunteers with cognitive disabilities, Web resources for victim services, a Points of View commentary questioning the many studies of volunteer motivation, another practical Training Design, 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 15 previous volume years.
Susan's Tip
of the Month
One of the things I value in our new publication, The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook, is Jayne Cravens and I applying the principles of real-world volunteer management to working with volunteers online. In the section on recognition, we advise you to think of ways to use the Internet to honor all your volunteers, not just those who provide service virtually. It has never been easier to show volunteers - and the world - that volunteer contributions play a key part in an organization's successes.

For example:
Make sure that pictures of volunteers "in action" appear on your organization's Web site - throughout the site, not simply on the page headed "Volunteering." Use this as an opportunity to show the diversity of your volunteer corps.
Create an online volunteer recognition area on your organization's Web site and/or on a photo-sharing site such as Flickr. Post photos there of onsite volunteers (add or refresh the photos often) and request online volunteers to submit photos of themselves, ideally working on their computers. 
Have the head of your organization prepare a short video thanking volunteers for their service. Just 30 or 60 seconds would be enough. You can post this to your Web site, private forum for volunteers, or even to YouTube for easy access (it might even turn into a recruitment tool, as people outside your organization see how you honor your volunteers).
Develop an online "badge" that volunteers can place on their own Web sites, blogs, Facebook pages, or other social media to show that they support your organization (added benefit for you: it can link back to your organization's Web site).
You can also create a special electronic graphic to award to any volunteer who has successfully completed a task for your organization, or develop a whole series of badges for special commendation or when certain milestones are reached: celebrate a year of volunteer service, recognize outstanding or reliable expertise provided (perhaps a "guru" badge), acknowledge overcoming a difficult challenge as a part of the volunteer's service (perhaps a "tenacious" badge), and more.
Develop a special profile on the social networking site most popular among your volunteers and allow only those who are volunteers with your organization now or have volunteered in the past to link to this profile as a friend. This is a particular draw for teen and twenty-something volunteers, who spend a lot of time on such sites already. Note that this would be a different profile than the one you might create for anyone who is interested in volunteering with your organization to join.
Invite volunteers who attend your real-world recognition event to blog or tweet in real time from the event, either on their own laptops or on computers your organization provides. Let onsite and online volunteers chat throughout the event, sharing text, photos, audio and video live.

For many more ideas on recognizing and working with volunteers virtually, see The Last Virtual Volunteering Guidebook: Fully Integrating Online Service into Volunteer Involvement by Jayne Cravens and Susan J. Ellis (Energize, Inc., 2014).


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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