Volunteer Power News - Number 112
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter
© 2012 Advantage Point Systems Publishing
A warm welcome to all volunteer managers-those of you who recruit, motivate and mobilize volunteer workers.
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In This Issue
Featured Article: Two Overlooked Priorities of Successful Volunteer Involvement
Two Overlooked Priorities of Successful Volunteer Involvement
By Thomas McKee
Watch out for the trap that creeps up on us. I call it the "neglect trap." Leaders of volunteers become so preoccupied with hot leadership topics such as the social media, empowerment, accountability, recruiting, and getting Gen Y and Boomers to work together (or even like each other), that they neglect the two most important priorities of volunteer engagement. The key word of that last sentence is the word "neglect." It is not that the other issues are not important. To effectively lead the New Breed of Volunteer the issues are important, but if we neglect the two major priorities, we can never be effective leaders.
The two priorities stand huge, and that is why I always start my workshops talking about the importance and power of these two significant leadership factors. The first priority is the engine of your volunteer involvement, and the second is the fuel that fires that engine. All other issues are powerless if we ignore these two priorities.
What are they?
If you have been recruiting and leading volunteers for the last few years, you have experienced tectonic shifts that impact your effectiveness. We have a whole New Breed of volunteers because of changing family dynamics, technology, the growing number of retiring boomers, the knowledge worker, and the no-collar-Gen Y workplace. All of this has changed volunteer involvement, and we must know how to lead The New Breed of Volunteer.
BUT -- and there is a huge BUT.
A major factor has not changed. Too many times we focus on all of the changes and get discouraged. Richard Nelson Bowles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute, said this about change, "I have always argued that change becomes stressful and overwhelming only when you've lost any sense of the constancy of your life. You need firm ground to stand on. From there, you can deal with that change."
Before you get stressed out about the seismic shifts in volunteerism, let's stop and reaffirm your constant. What is it? It is the stability of your mission. In the midst of constant change your mission remains a constant. To deal with the stress of change, you can make sure you have not lost your sense of constancy by utilizing your mission. How?
Here is how it works.
Recently three experiences drove home the stability of mission. This summer I researched and wrote an article on volunteer involvement for the fall back-to-school issue of the national PTA magazine. Then a few months ago I had the privilege of spending a morning with the Girl Scouts leaders of Southern California, and in August I spoke to the national conference of the NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). The PTA and Girls scouts have a history of over 100 years. Hospice and Palliative Care is fairly new to the United States, beginning in the 70s's. But these three organizations all have something in common-they all began with a mission that has remained constant in the sea of change. The role of women in our culture (Girl Scouts), education (PTA) and health care (NHPCO) have experienced major changes, but the mission of these organizations has remained strong and constant in the midst of those changes.
When Juliette Low started Girl Scouts in 1912, she wanted girls to build their own skills and values and give back to their country through leadership and service. That has not changed. Although the Girl Scouts have wordsmithed their mission statement to keep up which a changing rhetoric, the mission is the same-- "Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place."
For 115 years, PTA has promoted the education, health, and safety of children, youth, and families. The PTA's mission is a long-term, constant advantage over other groups that are trying to recruit parents to get involved. PTA leaders focus on the constant of emphasizing what they are doing to enhance the education, health and safety of children today.
Even though the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) changed its name in 2000 to include palliative care, their mission--"To lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end of life"--has remained the same.
Your mission is the engine that powers your organization, and it is a constant in the sea of change. How you recruit and lead volunteers has to be up to date. But your starting point is your mission, and as leaders of volunteers you must constantly take advantage of the passion people have to see you accomplish your mission.
Quick Tips: What you can do to take advantage of your constant?
Leaders of volunteers know that it isn't just about a mission statement. Passion drives that mission, and without passion the mission is just a plaque hung on a wall. Parents in the PTA are passionate about their children, Girl Scout volunteers are passionate about preparing young women to be women of courage and character, and hospice volunteers are passionate about improving care at the end of life. Passion is always a starting point for recruiting volunteers. That has not changed.
For over 20 years I was a motivational speaker for the public and private sector. My job was to energize the managers and supervisors of an organization that was going through corporate changes, and the transition to a new organizational structure was sucking the passion out of its people. I often walked into a room of discouraged, cynical and angry people, and I had to awaken their passion with a dynamic, motivational speech. But ten years ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of AVA volunteers in Wichita, Kansas, and what overwhelmed me as I walked into the training room that morning was the passion. I didn't have to awaken passion. The room was alive with energy. My job that day was to educate these leaders of volunteers on how to mobilize all of that passion into a powerful volunteer force to accomplish their vision. We had such an exciting day I was hooked, and Volunteer Power was born on the plane ride back to California the next day.
It all begins with passion. People get behind your mission because they have a passion for your cause. It is that simple. Our job as leaders of volunteers is to know how to tap into that passion and organize passionate people to accomplish our mission. That is a whole different topic--but for now let's celebrate the fact that at least we don't have to drum up passion--it is here.
Check this Out: A one-day New Breed Volunteer Power workshop is coming to DOVIA South Dakota on October 26thMost of my workshops are not open to the public but are designed for a specific non-profit organization. However, I am going to be teaching a New Breed, Volunteer Power workshop that is open to the public this month.
The State-wide DOVI South Dakota state-wide conference on
October 26-a one-day training event
Sioux Falls, S.D.
What You Will Learn in this One-Day Workshop
Part I - The Strategic Challenge - The Changing Volunteer Culture
Part II - Seven Recruiting Best Practices
Date: Friday, October 26, 2012
Time: 8:30am - 3:45pm
Contact us to book a workshop, key-note presentation for your organization.
The New Breed: The Second Edition Has Arrived
THE SECOND EDITION
We are offering a special on the second edition of the New Breed-20% off
and Occasionally Even Firing
RETAIL PRICE $16.99
OUR PRICE: ONLY $13.59 (20% OFF)
The book that Zig Ziglar calls,
"Eye Opening and thought Provoking!"
The perfect resource to help you mobilize
the team of people you've always wanted!"
"The New Breed" Just Got Better!
We just sharpened the tool that has been helping volunteer
recruiters and managers survive the last 5 years!
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