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InnoVate Blog

Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Wed, 2014-08-20 21:48.
Whether you represent a food pantry, youth program, senior center, theater, or other organization or agency, families are likely a key constituent of yours. They may be welcomed as members, program attendees, visitors, or clients. They may be cultivated as donors or participants. Rarely, however, do families easily and readily find ways to volunteer at these organizations – to volunteer together.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Thu, 2014-08-14 09:47.
Summer may be waning, but at JFFixler Group, we are keeping the summer feel alive as long as possible by continuing to enjoy inspiration from our summer reading list. As is our tradition, we wanted to share some of the books we have been enjoying in recent months. Each of these three titles has added to our perspectives on volunteer and member engagement. We think they will enhance yours as well, providing fodder for productive conversations with your staff and volunteer colleagues.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Wed, 2014-07-09 13:40.
Large conferences are the ultimate hyperbole: Simultaneously energizing and exhausting. Similarly, while it's inspiring to be one among a movement of thousands, it’s often the individual conversations and connections that are most profound. Recently, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service was held in Atlanta, GA, where thousands of engagement and service leaders (both professionals and volunteers) gathered to learn, share, celebrate, and advocate for our work.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Mon, 2014-05-05 13:23.
Last month, while facilitating a reunion of organizations who participated in a year-long High Impact Volunteer Engagement project (HIVE), I was once again struck by the powerful potential that one strategic change can have on an organization overall.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Tue, 2014-04-08 18:18.
This is a story of an “unexpected” volunteer who is making a very significant contribution to an organization – all because of a crazy idea and the fact that the organization made it incredibly easy for him to make his idea a reality. While we at JFFixler Group love to share case studies gathered from our research and work in the field, this is the story of my friend and “running buddy” Adam.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Fri, 2014-03-21 10:18.
Maybe I was a little woozy from hunger when I first read today’s article, “It’s a Wrap: How Chipotle transformed itself by upending its approach to management” by Max Nison, as I couldn’t help but think about all the ways that volunteer engagement leaders can benefit from applying the burrito giant’s management tactics.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Thu, 2014-02-27 18:50.
While it is not uncommon for volunteer engagement professionals to occasionally feel alone in their work, there is no better antidote to that frustrating feeling than by connecting with thousands of peers at the National Conference on Volunteerism and Service (NCVS). Hosted by Points of Light and scheduled for June 16 through 18 in Atlanta, GA, this year's NCVS will be putting strategic volunteer engagement at the core of the conference.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Tue, 2013-12-10 17:50.
‘Tis the season of holidays, gratitude, celebration, and, yes, a bit of stress, too. The last six weeks of the year are always busy times. Whether planning work events, juggling family and social engagements, or trying to get ready for a much-needed vacation, many of us find our days and nights to be full and demanding. At the same time, the season often inspires us to reflect and express gratitude. Volunteers certainly make my list of “things I am grateful for” each year and I always try to express that gratitude to the volunteers who contribute their time to the organizations in which I am involved. As we have often discussed, volunteers today do not have the same motivations or expectations around volunteering as do older, more traditional volunteers. In that vein, traditional methods of recognizing and thanking volunteers (pins or plaques for years of service) often don’t resonate with new generations. The good news is that thanking volunteers and acknowledging their work do not have to be difficult, time consuming, or costly. The most important factor in meaningfully acknowledging volunteers is that we be sincere in our thanks.
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Tue, 2013-11-19 16:18.
When I first started working with volunteers more than two decades ago, few people talked of volunteer “cultivation.” Cultivation is a term first borrowed from the fundraising world. Fundraisers had long recognized that successful fundraising is all about relationships. With the shift from volunteer “management” to volunteer “engagement” over the past decade, nonprofits began to embrace the relationship-focused approach with volunteers as well, and “cultivation” has slowly but steadily been replacing “recruitment” as evidence of our commitment to cultivating ongoing relationships with volunteers over the long haul, rather than simply filling quotas through traditional recruitment methods.  The evolution of our field – and the terminology we use to define the field – was top of mind for me when I was asked to present on Stewarding High Level Volunteers to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society yesterday at the Light The Night Campaign leadership meeting. “Stewardship” – like the concept of cultivation – is a term originating in the fundraising world. The Association of Donor Relations Professionals describes “stewardship” as activities “that take an externally-oriented view of bringing donors closer to the outcomes they are making possible, thereby demonstrating that the organization is indeed fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility to deploy the funding as the donor intended.” So what does this mean for volunteer stewardship?
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Submitted by Beth Steinhorn on Thu, 2013-10-24 10:55.
There’s nothing like a dynamic gathering of dedicated volunteer engagement professionals with a shared commitment to service to get the adrenalin going. That’s likely why I am typing away on my laptop on this late evening flight home from the Ohio Conference on Service and Volunteerism , hosted by Serve Ohio (the State’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism), rather than trying to catch a few ZZZZs. Today I was honored to be part of a dialogue about if, how, and why service can be a uniting force in our communities and in our country. While the dialogue lasted only an hour, we viewed it as just the beginning. I encourage readers to use these highlights as conversation starters amongst colleagues and volunteers in your organizations to explore what’s in it for you to embrace service as a uniting force.
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