For leaders of volunteers and volunteer involvement, updates on news from the field, new volunteer management resources, and a monthly quick tip about successfully engaging volunteers.   
Quick Tip for Leading Volunteers

Encouraging Culture Awareness Among Volunteers
The following quick tip is excerpted from the book The A-Z of Volunteering and Asylum by Ruth Wilson, published in 2003 by The National Centre for Volunteering (England).

'Culture' is a shared set of knowledge, beliefs, customs, morals and habits. Many of us are unaware of our culture, because we grow up in it and consider it normal - though if we are members of a minority group we may have been pushed into being culturally aware through being made to feel 'different'...

It is both enriching and beneficial to learn about different cultures. Volunteer managers can work to help staff and volunteers be aware of both their own and other people's cultures - this can also help if friction occurs because of different cultural norms or because of misunderstanding.
February Hot Topic
By Susan J. Ellis

Is Volunteer Management Really a Profession? (Revisited)

For this month, let's revisit an intriguing Hot Topic that Susan first explored in 1997. While volunteer management has been evolving over the past several decades, some questions are still unanswered, particularly whether or not we can identify our work as a "profession." What about now in 2018?   Read this Month's Hot Topic.  
You can subscribe to the Hot Topic as a podcast or  RSS text feed.

News from the Field

2017 U.S. Tax Reform: VOLUNTEER MILEAGE RATE Remains Unchanged
In a July 2008 Volunteer Management Hot Topic post, Energize, Inc. President Susan J. Ellis challenged a U.S. federal tax policy that keeps the tax deduction for driving as part of volunteer service at 14 cents since 1997.

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, as of December 22, 2017 (the date the December 2017 Tax Reform was signed into law), there were no changes to the current U.S. law regarding the VOLUNTEER MILEAGE RATE. It "has been fixed in statute at 14 cents per mile, which is far below the actual cost volunteers incur when they drive their vehicles on behalf of nonprofits." The Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) has shared the full analysis of the bill's impact on nonprofits from the National Council of Nonprofits on the PANO website at The analysis can also be found at this address:

You can follow the issue on the National Council of Nonprofits website:


MAVA Conference 2018
Volunteer Engagement Leadership: Next Steps and Beyond
June 6th to 8th
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) invites you to take a big step forward in volunteer engagement and attend their 2018 Conference in June 2018.

Early Bird Registration for MAVA and non-MAVA members will begin February 1st for 3-day, 2-day and 1-day attendees. View 2018 registration rates at the MAVA conference webpage.


Australian National Volunteering Conference 2018 
Ignite Invigorate Inspire

20-22 June 2018
Sydney, Australia 

Hosted by Volunteering Australia and supported by Territory peak partner Volunteering and Contact ACT, the National Volunteering Conference 2018 is the premier national volunteering event in Australia. To achieve a vision of creating a collaborative, inclusive and engaging platform for sharing knowledge, the Conference will bring together managers of volunteers, decision makers, and practitioners, to advance volunteering across the country, and to inform the national agenda. A key component of the National Volunteering Conference 2018 will be a specific stream on emergency management. Visit the conference website for registration dates and program information.
Spotlight on Resources
Program Assessment Ideas and Tools

Looking to evaluate the effectiveness of volunteer management processes and the outcome/impact of volunteer services in your organization? Visit the Program Assessment page in our A-Z Volunteer Management Library for a list of articles, book excerpts, and other resources.
e-Volunteerism The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community
New Articles Available
Volume XVIII, Issue 2  
e-Volunteerism, our international, subscription-based journal, is now on it's 18th volume year. As always, all previous journal issues are available to subscribers online in the Archives.

Free Access this Month 
From the Archives 

Ivan's Musings, A Poetry of Volunteering? Vol 2, Issue 4, July 2002
It's true that poetry can say some things hard to express in sober declarative text, as demonstrated by the wonderful lyrics to "The Volunteer Song" by Paul Horrisberger, an outstanding volunteer coordinator and musician, which is shared by Ivan Scheier along with several other of his poems in this e-Volunteerism article.
From the Current Issue
I n this issue's  Points of View,   Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink raise important questions about the concept of legacy in the volunteer engagement profession. They present three reasons to explain why there is often a disconnect between the purpose and the impact of volunteer management work, and they challenge everyone to take action now to define a better legacy in the year ahead.  

Subscriber Access Only  
( Subscribe for a full year or 48-hour access)
New Postings Since the Last Update

Sheri Wilensky Burke argues that volunteer evolvement is critical to volunteer retention. She defines volunteer evolvement as enabling volunteers to take on greater responsibilities within an organization, much like a volunteer "career ladder." Burke notes,"Even the most engaged volunteers can get bored from doing the same thing repeatedly. Just like paid staff who want professional development and promotion, many volunteers similarly desire new challenges in their volunteer careers. What better way to recognize your most committed volunteers than by asking them to take on new tasks and/or assume a leadership role?"  
Canadian communications expert Jennifer Spencer introduces a new collection of volunteer resources and written materials recently produced by CNIB (previously known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind). The materials include a series of manuals, toolkits, and training guides on a range of topics-all designed to enhance the volunteering experience with CNIB. 
What's Coming Up?
Still to come this month in e-Volunteerism: Meridian Swift, a well-known volunteer manager, author, and blogger, explores why training should be embraced to influence a volunteer's future commitment; and writer Allyson Drinnon shares stories from individuals about how they used "International Volunteer Day" to recognize volunteers. 
As always, the articles from all past issues remain available in the journal 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 previous volume years.
Ideas for Volunteer Recognitionon Pinterest
National Volunteer Weeks around the world are not that far away. Visit out our Pinterest Board " Ideas for Volunteer Recognition."
QTipQuick Tip Continued...

It is important to remember that people brought up within the same culture may perceive that culture differently. No culture is static, all cultures change, and cultural identity is only one of the many influences that make us who we are. For instance, our ethnicity, immigration personal philosophy are all part of our makeup, and some of these may mean more to us than culture.

So, while learning about culture is important, it is equally important to avoid stereotyping. Alongside giving staff and volunteers information about particular cultures or nations, you need to help them build up self-awareness and the skills to ask the right questions, to listen well, and to be sensitive when working with people from different backgrounds.

[Start with the following checklist, compiled by Judith Schott and Alix Henley, in their book Culture, Religion and Childbearing in a Multiracial Society, published by Butterworth Heinemann, 1996.]

Checklist - Cultural Awareness
  • Be aware of your own cultural assumptions and how these may affect your understanding and responses
  • Listen with respect and a genuine wish to learn
  • Find out how people see themselves and their culture, what they value, what they see as important
  • Beware of negative or pejorative 'information' - it usually indicates prejudice or incomplete understanding
  • Understand that in discussing culture we are discussing possibilities, not certainties - a framework, not a straitjacket
  • Be prepared to change your understanding as new information becomes available
  • Sort out what information is useful and helpful to your work, and what is merely exotic or personally fascinating
  • Understand the importance of factors such as age, generation, life experience, occupation, education and so on
  • Realise that culture is one factor, but not the only factor in anybody's life remember that the person you are working with is always the expert on their own life, wishes and needs
This Leading Volunteeers Quick Tip comes from The A-Z of Volunteering and Asylum by Ruth Wilson  
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