My college classmate, Andrea, posted a lovely note on Facebook today in appreciation of her mother-in-law. While it was noteworthy in and of itself (how many of us take the time to appreciate our in-laws, let alone articulate that appreciation so eloquently and in a public fashion?), I couldn’t help but read it and consider the lessons that volunteer engagement professionals can learn from her post. Andrea opened with the question, “What is it about my mother-in-law that brings out the best in everyone around her?” As nonprofit professionals, we have the opportunity to bring out the best in the volunteers who share their time and skills with our organizations. Here’s how Andrea’s mother-in-law achieves that in her life.
Do you work with Board Members, Committee Chairs, or other Volunteer Leaders? Looking for some tips on how to enjoy the partnership and make the most of your collaboration?JFFixler Group is pleased to present a new webinar through MyJewishCoach.com designed for professionals in Jewish organizations who seek to enhance and strengthen their partnerships with lay leaders... and make the work enjoyable and easy!
I am honored to be one of the 35 authors contributing to VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World (#35Experts). When VolunteerMatch first approached me about contributing a chapter, I felt as if I had come full circle. Eight years ago, when I first joined JFFixler Group, I started as a researcher/evaluator and volunteer engagement trainer, but what really bonded me to the work as well as to the others in the firm was serving as project editor for the book, Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow.
I recently returned from New Orleans where I facilitated a retreat of nonprofit leaders from animal welfare organizations across the country. Among the main topics of conversation was the vital importance of engaging community members as ambassadors and advocates on behalf their shared mission. Engaging volunteers, members, clients, and community members as effective ambassadors is a topic that comes up in our work over and over again with all types of organizations.
So much has been written and discussed in nonprofit circles about what motivates today’s volunteers. The chance to use or gain skills, to make a tangible difference in a community, to support a passionate cause, networking or social benefits, and so much more. Rarely, however, do we step back and reflect on how and why we volunteer (or even if we, as nonprofit professionals and leaders, volunteer ourselves). I often reflect on my own motivations to volunteer – and that reflection has value to our own career and our own practice.
This post is also available on the VounteerMatch.org Engaging Volunteers blog.Scan the shelves of the business section of a book store or scroll through the popular TED talks these days, and you’ll be sure to find a lot of information about innovation and flexibility, nimbleness, and entrepreneurship. So much so that your eyes may glaze over and you may get a bit overwhelmed by the jargon.Nonetheless, there’s a reason that so many are talking, writing, and thinking about nimbleness and entrepreneurship and it is not limited to business. These concepts are equally important to volunteer engagement. In fact, there is a growing pool of data that demonstrates how strategic volunteer engagement is related to organizational innovation and adaptability. Paying attention to these topics is worth the time – and investing effort in implementing some of these strategies has a significant return on investment.
Storyteller… minstrel… raconteur… a teller of tales. Over the past three months, I have shared stories of volunteer engagement in trainings, webinars, and consultations across multiple states and organizations. While I feel a bit like the itinerant troubadours of medieval times, sharing real-life stories of volunteer engagement success with professionals and volunteer leaders brings to life the tools and strategies and helps workshop participants and clients aspire to achieve similar success.
"Loved this webinar! My organizartion is currently defining volunteer management and volunteer engagement so this was extremely helpful. I gained some insight that I can take back to my staff as I continue to develop their volunteer engagement skills. Thank you!!! —Webinar Participant