Volunteer Management Update
Career Mobility in Volunteer Engagement Leadership
Is there life after volunteer management? Are you looking for ways to grow your career? Betty Stallings and I ran a workshop at the recent Summit to explore this very topic.
August Hot Topic
By Susan J. Ellis, President Energize, Inc.
Three Great Days: Reflections after the Summit on Volunteer Engagement Leadership
Susan came to the 2017 National Summit on Volunteer Engagement Leadership last month with cautious hope and left with enthusiastic optimism. Read her reflections and consider our shared responsibility for moving the profession of volunteer management forward again.
Read this Month's Hot Topic.
News from the Field
Call to American Colleagues: Join AL!VE
The Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement, AL!VE, was formed a decade ago with high hopes to become a new-and-improved association for everyone working as a leader of volunteer involvement and committed to growing our profession. For many reasons it has struggled to build its membership, although a succession of board members have worked hard to offer a range of services and professional development opportunities. At the recent Summit - mentioned throughout this Update and promoted over many months by Energize - attendees acknowledged that we cannot grow our profession without strong collaboration at the national level as well as through state and local associations.
Many of the AL!VE incoming board members showed initiative and leadership in the numerous strategy sessions held at the Summit, culminating in a commitment to be instrumental in convening further meetings and moving many of the ideas raised forward. Because of this, all of us at Energize have recommitted to (and rejoined) AL!VE in the fervent hope that this time there will be progress!
It costs $50 a year - is your career worth
14 cents a day
If you are already a member of a setting-specific organization (such as one for hospital volunteer services directors or people leading volunteers in the arts), there are many good reasons why you still need to support the only association that speaks for
leaders of volunteer engagement. Broaden your horizons, join a second group, and align with your colleagues, please!
Call to Colleagues outside the United States: Join Your National Organization
Be a part of determining the future of our profession. Join AL!VE to show support. Be counted. Keep informed. Participate. Volunteer. The first step, even if you do nothing else, is to
All of the "infrastructure" associations in our field in most countries are at a crossroads and need/want many more members. The late Ivan Scheier once estimated that the number of people who work in the leadership of volunteers can conservatively be estimated at 300,000 in the U.S. What might the number be in your country?
Find your professional association in the directory on the Energize site and join it, too!
And please help us keep the directory of professional associations current by letting us know if a resource is missing or needs to be updated. There is no place else online trying to capture the entire list of our networking groups.
New Issue Launched
Volume XVII, Issue 4
Free Access this Month
From the Current Issue:
Points of View
Passion, Not Mimicry
At a UK conference In 2007, Rob Jackson heard discussion of: What are the significant issues facing volunteer managers today? And when the answers in a similar event ten years later mimicked the exact same responses, Jackson's heart sank. Jackson and co-author Susan J. Ellis write, "it seems as if our profession is still stuck at the same stage of development. How are we ever going to succeed if we cannot collectively overcome the challenges that continue to dog us in our field?" In this Points of View, Jackson and Ellis suggest a simple path toward change: Steer clear of the choice to mimic what others are doing and instead develop and follow a passion for volunteer management work by refocusing on its purpose and promise.
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for a full year or 48-hour access)
New Postings Since the Last Update:
Volunteer Visitors with Red Noses: An Interview with DR CurlyBubbe
- e-Volunteerism interviews Esther Gushner, who nearly 18 years ago became a clown doctor and founding member of Bumper "T" Caring Clowns. Discover why Gushner doesn't really like the word "clown" and how these "faux doctors" focus on one-to-one conversations (most often with adults) instead of trying to be funny with patients in critical and often frightening situations. With 120 trained Caring Clowns in 27 hospitals in six states, Gushner explains how the Bumper "T" Caring Clown volunteers mesh with each hospital's existing Volunteer Services department, a part of the story that sends a strong message about how volunteer resources managers can successfully collaborate with community organizations.
From Heights to Depths: Volunteers Who Save Lives Outdoors - In this Along the Web, writer Arnie Wickens writes about emergency services volunteers who are experienced specialists in the art of outdoor rescues. Whether climbing up mountains, diving into lakes and oceans, or venturing into underground caves, these volunteers are true lifesavers when something outdoors goes wrong.
Volunteer Retention and Community Service Self-Efficacy - In this Research to Practice, reviewer Laurie Mook presents the findings of several studies that investigate predictors of volunteer retention, with a special focus on a recent study that explores how volunteers' feeling of "community service self-efficacy" (CSSE) affects their continued volunteer engagement.
Still to Come in this Issue
Volume XVII, Issue 4 launched on July 15th with the articles above. Coming up are other interesting and useful articles: the story of New Orleans teenagers who just published a book - with the help of volunteer writing mentors - about the experience of surviving Hurricane Katrina; part 2 of the Training Design on how to teach adults to train teenage volunteers; how a special track at the recent Summit on Volunteer Engagement Leadership convened funders and practitioners to "make the case" to funders to invest in volunteer engagement; and more. As always, the articles from all past issues remain available in the journal
You can subscribe to
for a full year or for 48-hour access. Note that subscribers have full access to the Archives of all 16 previous volume years.
Copyright-free Graphics about Volunteerism
Susan's Quick Tip Continued...
We began by pointing out that there are a number of options for growing your career that you can do on your current job or alongside it. For example:
Spice up your present job - Internally
Spice up your present job - Externally
- Experiment with new volunteer-related projects
- Grow your reach - size, staff, schedule, tasks
- Form collaborations with existing organizations, faith communities, businesses, schools as a community resource mobilizer
- Volunteer for in-house committees and task forces (surprise people by your choice)
- Form an advisory council and/or recruit individual advisors (it's OK if you get them to coach you in new skills, too)
- Document the history/accomplishments of volunteers in your setting to make the case for impact
Widen your geography
- Become active in a professional association
- Write something for publication
- Can start small with a letter to the editor, a response to a blog post or online article.
- Graduate to co-writing and then solo writing an article
- Contribute to a book (you can get your local professional association to publish it)
- Write your own book
- Read and learn - books, articles, online resources
- Take a course
- Teach a course
- Offer to do a workshop at a conference
- Exchange consultancies with a colleague
- Volunteer your professional skills (become a board member at another organization?)
Aim to move up in your present setting
- Look at regional and national networks and associations
- Think globally
- Use vacation time to do international exchange
- Use the Internet and become active online
- Consider what career path could include oversight of the volunteer strategy, not simply remove you from it
Then we introduced ideas that would involve a change of employer:
Make a lateral move
- Become a leader of volunteers in another similar setting
- Become a leader of volunteers in a totally different setting
- Become a leader of volunteers in a setting that didn't realize it needed someone with volunteer management experience
- Do consulting or training on the side
- Start your own company
Starting your own consulting/training practice may sound enticing, but you need to be prepared to do the behind-the-scenes administrative stuff (billing, proposal writing, etc.) as well as the sexier travel stuff. Not to mention patience in building a practice. In the meantime, the list above offers quite a range of opportunities with potential, don't you think? And you'll be contributing to our field while you're growing professionally yourself.
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 Online Bookstore.
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offering over 1200 pages of information about successfully involving volunteers in your efforts. Visit our site to learn all about volunteer engagement techniques; find ways to connect with colleagues; gain insight into trends, issues, and even controversy in the field; locate conferences and other professional development opportunities; and more!
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