Volunteer Frontier Updates - Get tools, research, and thinking about volunteer engagement strategies. Updates have links to great resources on the web. Many issues have themes in such areas as volunteer recruitment or leadership.
The New Volunteer Workforce(free download) By David Eisner, Robert T. Grimm Jr., Shannon Maynard, & Susannah Washburn (2009) Stanford Social Innovation Review Nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers, but many CEOs do a poor job making volunteer a priority. As a result, research shows that more than one-third of those who volunteer at a nonprofit in the first year do not donate their time the next year. This is a thoughtful article that gives as good a business case for changing the paradigm as I've seen. David Eisner served as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). I consider this his "legacy" article, that came out near the end of his tenure at the CNCS.
Reimagining Service Initiative Reimagining Service seeks to explore new ways of addressing the challenges and opportunities of increasing social impact through volunteer engagement. It is a coalition of representatives from nonprofit, government, education, and faith-based sectors in partnership with funders and corporations.The website as a number of good resources on volunteer engagement along with guiding principles that make a good deal of sense.
Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Guide for Nonprofit and Public Sector Leaders (free download) Sarah Jane Rehnborg, Ph.D. (May, 2009) RGK Center for Philanthropy & Community Service A good longer piece to read for nonprofit/government senior managers after reading The New Volunteer Workforce. Provides a more in-depth overview of the business case for effective volunteer utilization. As Rehnborg writes, “remarkably few organizations possess the knowledge to strategically maximize this advantage. Equally few decision-makers understand the basic constructs of volunteer engagement.” She introduces her Volunteer Involvement Framework™ and provides a good summary on how to develop a vision for volunteer engagement.
From the Top Down(for sale – paper or downloadable book) By Susan Ellis (updated, 2010) Susan's book addresses the top decision-maker's role in developing a strategy and and the resources needed for high-quality volunteer engagement. It explains fundamental subjects that must be considered at the executive level, including developing a vision for volunteer involvement, creating policies and setting expectations, budgeting and finding funds to support volunteers, hiring the best staff leader, assessing the impact of volunteer contributions, and dealing with legal, risk management, and insurance issues.
Leading the Way to Successful Volunteer Involvement: Practical Tools for Busy Executives(for sale - paper or downloadable book) By Betty Stallings (2010) This work book is designed as a companion to the book, From the Top Down by Susan Ellis. It provides solid tools and examples for nonprofit and government senior managers to assist them in thinking strategically about volunteer engagement. The book also serves as a good planning resource that can be easily used with a volunteer manager and/or other staff to come up with an effective course of action. Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow (free download with templates and forms) by Jill Friedman Fixler and Sandie Eichberg, with Gail Lorenz, CVA This practical book boils down in a simply, yet elegant way the core concepts in starting and building a well thought out boomer engagement plan that really is what good overall volunteer engagement is all about. This step-by-step guide provides overall concepts and helps users think through the best way to proceed. Go to the site above to get 14 downloadable PDF worksheets, including a work plan and progress report templates. You don’t even have to buy the book… but you’ll want to do so.
Volunteer Engagement Tools & Handouts
Volunteer Frontier Service ROI Calculator- This Excel template helps managers accurately calculate the monetary benefits of volunteer engagement. Plug in your own expenses and revenue to easily calculate the true financial contributions volunteers are making.
Changing the Paradigm: A Volunteer Engagement Assessment Tool - Back in the mid-90s the Points of Light Foundation created a validated self-assessment tool designed to help organizations increase the effectiveness of volunteers through an organizational development approach. View the participant's guide and assessment tool.
Key Resources On Volunteer Management
Volunteer Management: Mobilizing All the Resources of the Community, 3rd Edition, (for sale - paper or downloadable book) Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch Many consider this book the “bible” on volunteer management. It provides a thorough examination of every facet of a successful volunteer program, from planning and organizing a program through measuring effectiveness of it. The book is ideal for a staffer who’s running a volunteer program and needs a solid framework and foundation. It is newly revised, up to 418 pages – with ample sample forms, policies, and worksheets.
The 55-Minute Staff Training Series By Betty Stallings, 2009 ($69 dollars – best money you’ll ever spend!) 12 ready‑to‑deliver – but completely adaptable – training sessions to teach staff the fundamentals of working with volunteers. Each training module is designed for delivery in 55 minutes of staff time. Easy to use and adapt, each electronic module comes with: a complete PowerPoint® presentation; a timed script for the trainer highlighting “4 Key Concepts” on each topic; suggestions for expandable group activities; handout masters ready to duplicate, including a workshop evaluation form; and more.
www.serviceleader.org A project of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs of the University of Texas at Austin. Provides solid information on all aspects of volunteer field. A great site and very practical.
www.energizeinc.com A comprehensive resource on volunteer management and leadership for leaders of volunteers, as well as for senior managers in nonprofits and government. The website is full of free resources along with products for purchase (newsletter, training program, books, tools - many in an electronic format).
Improve Your Philanthropic Portfolio - While an older publication published years ago by the Points of Light Foundation, it still rings true. See page 15 and complete the checklist on the Elements of Volunteer Resources Management to see if you're covering most of the bases.