Home Books Resources Articles Workshops Contact Links
Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 113
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.

You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up or asked to be on the list. Please recommend this e-mail newsletter or ezine to anyone who is interested in volunteer management.

If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you'd like to receive your own personal issue each month, please subscribe to receive free tips on how to recruit, manage and motivate volunteers.

In This Issue
  1. Featured Article: The Challenges and Opportunities of Leading Four Generations of Volunteers
  2. The New Breed: The second edition of The New Breed is on sale now
  3. Check this Out: Tom McKee speaking at ReGroup in Loveland, Colorado, January 21-21
Featured Article: The Challenges and Opportunities of Leading Four Generations of Volunteers
The Challenges and Opportunities of Leading Four Generations of Volunteers
By Thomas McKee

He took a seat in the back row, and as he was booting up his MacPro, this 40-something gentleman asked me, "Do we have wireless in this room?" Since most men his age are not very good multi-takers, he would either be with me or the web, but not both. I was facing the challenge to so engage him in the workshop that he would not have time to surf the web. I loved that challenge.

At the same time, several 20-something young women were picking up their welcome packets, visiting with friends whom they had not seen since the last meeting, loading their plates with snacks, getting coffee, and still somehow texting. How I wish I could multi-task like that. I looked across the room and saw a very distinguished 70-something woman reading the handout materials while waiting for her colleague.

I couldn't help but notice the diversity of the group of 120 leaders of volunteers. Their name tags identified that they were from groups such as Make a Wish Foundation, Ronald MacDonald House, Girl Scouts, Colorado Cochlear Implant Community, churches, and some other local groups that I had never heard of before. They were gathering for the Sioux Falls Empire all-day DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies) training event. But the diversity of the group was not limited to their organizations. The most obvious diversity that I faced that day was the four different generations. Just as I needed to frame my presentation to participants in their 20s through their 80s, I also knew that each of them would need to utilize different leadership skills to reach across generational lines in their own organizations.

What leadership skills do we need when we are leading a team of volunteers made up of four generational groups? Each one responds to different styles of leadership, and in order to be effective, we need to adapt our leadership style to each age group.

As you listen to statements that I heard from the DOVIA members in Sioux Falls, SD, think about these two questions:
  • What is this statement saying about how to lead this generation?
  • What best practice leadership skills should I be using to be effective with this group?
The Texting Generation: Millennials born roughly in the 80's and 90's

The statement from a millennial:

"We are the leaders of today, not the leaders of tomorrow. We have volunteered, we have worked hard, we have studied hard, we have graduated from college and graduate school, and we have our Ph.Ds. We are eager and ready to lead-- now."

Those words were not from a Gen Xer, a boomer or a 71-year-old volunteer. They were comments from a 20-something young woman in response to a break out exercise where we defined the "work ethic" of each generation. Although I've used this exercise over the last twenty years, this time the huge difference was the greater number of under-30s in the room. Out of 120 participants, there were around 30 millenials. Usually we get under 5% of the room that represents the under 30 age group, but to have over 25% of DOVIA members under the age of 30 was a first for me. And they were not just attending the leadership workshop; they were active, leading the volunteers from non-profit organizations. The bottom line of her report was, "We are eager and ready to lead-now." As I watched their enthusiasm and interaction in the class, I pondered this question, "How do we handle all that energy, passion and potential?"

Leadership Tips: Let them lead. Give them an event to run. Empower them. Put them in charge-now.

For more on how to do this read, "How Can Millennials Lead Older Generations-Some Quick Tips."

Gen X- Born between 1964 and 1981

The statement from a Gen Xer:

"5% of our volunteers do 95% of the work."

Sound familiar? This comment came from a Girls Scouts leader. I hear these words from Gen Xer's more than any other generation because of three unique problems when recruiting 30 and 40-year-old volunteers.

  • Problem One: This generation is the smallest. While the boomers and millennials boast of being around 80 million people, Gen Xers have only about 38 million people to draw from. In other words, their pool for volunteers is about half the size of the boomers or millennials.
  • Problem Two: Most groups recruiting volunteers from this generation, organizations such as the PTA, scouts, sports, music and youth groups, are seeking volunteers from parents whose children are active in more than one group, and the parents are often volunteering for more than one group. Which leads to the third problem.
  • Problem Three: Many Gen X volunteers can be classified as the "Non-volunteer volunteer." They only volunteer because it is a requirement for their children to be involved.
Leadership Tips: Develop more short-term projects and determine if you need to retool a multi-layered organization to accommodate the non-volunteer volunteer.

For more on managing the non-volunteer volunteer: Boomers Born Between 1946-1981

The statement from a boomer volunteer:

"I'm going to Florida for the winter. I'll be leaving in a December and won't be back until May."

A boomer announced at our lunch table that she had just heard that statement from one of her best volunteers last week. None of us at the table blamed this volunteer-after all, it was 27 degrees in Sioux Falls that morning.

When you live up north, snowbirds are common.

A Leadership Must: Flexibility

As we talked at the lunch table, we all agreed that flexibility was the number one requirement for this generation, and if we could somehow set up flexible volunteer systems, we could benefit from their talents, resources, and expertise. The flexible, "no-collar workplace" is not just a millennial or Gen X phenomenon. Tele-commuting and even the hi-tech workplace (remember our first PCs and those very first fax machines) had it roots over thirty years ago with the boomer generation, and although the millennials have taken it to a whole new level, the boomers learned to work in flex time, team-based, video conferencing, knowledge-worker systems. I know because I was training them how to work this way in the 90s. On the go, retired boomers demand flexibility today. To learn more about how to implement flexibility into your volunteer organization, read "How The No-Collar Workforce is Reshaping the Workplace and What it Means for Volunteer Engagement."

Mature-or sometimes called the Veteran Generation-born before 1945

The statement by a mature leader

"Five years ago I saw a need, so I recruited some volunteers from my church, procured grant money, and created an organization to help children deal with the grieving process from losing a family member or friend."

This was the comment from the very distinguished 70-something woman sitting alone reading the hand-out material as people were gathering for the workshop. I sat down next to her and said, "I see that your name tag says, 'Sad is O.K.' I have never heard of that organization. Tell me about it." She explained how five years ago she saw a need, was retired and wanted to make a difference, so she formed a 501 (c) (3), got permission to use the name, "Sad is O.K." and then proceeded to get grant money. She recruited professional counselors to train volunteers so that the volunteers could counsel children how to deal with grief. She was off and running, and for the past five years "Sad is O.K." has ministered to the emotional and spiritual needs of children in the crisis of death. She is a visionary. I love working with visionaries.

As I listened to her, I was energized, but I also realized that working with a visionary can be a challenge. When visionaries this age volunteer in your organization, they can bring insight, wisdom, energy, passion and leadership, but they also can threaten and overwhelm your volunteers (and your leadership). How can we benefit from this kind of visionary leadership?

Leadership Tip: Unleash visionaries by removing roadblocks and setting up certain guardrails. To see how to do that, read, "How to Unleash the Visionary Volunteer Without Destroying the Organization."

Leading The New Breed of Volunteer Is Not Boring

Don't you love diversity? Leading volunteers would be very boring if we were all the same. Even within each age group we differ; there are texters and visionaries in all groups. Just as the participants who turn on their laptops force me to be more creative and a better presenter, I also am stretched to be a better leader as I frame my leadership style to each volunteer.

Contact us to book a workshop, key-note presentation in your area.

The New Breed: The Second Edition of The New Breed on Sale Now
The New Breed The first edition isn't that OLD... it's just that we quoted so many studies in that book that we wanted to keep it current. The publisher agreed, so we released a new edition that has the following changes:

In this SECOND EDITION, look for...
  • A whole new chapter on using a "New Breed" of Technology
  • Four more seismic shifts that have shaken the world of volunteer management and catalyzed this "New Breed" of volunteer.
  • New and updated studies about volunteer culture and technology
  • Brand new research and insight into the mind of the fastest growing group of volunteers... Generation Y!
  • A new section on how to use the social media, which, in the last 5 years, has greatly impacted volunteer involvement
  • All the practical tools that the first edition offered, like the "Dating Method," the "7-Sins of Recruiting"... and even how to fire the volunteer from Hell!
And much, much more.

We are offering a special on the second edition of the New Breed-20% off and signed by both authors if you order this month.


Recruiting, Training,
and Occasionally Even Firing
Today's Volunteers

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!

Check This Out: Tom McKee Speaking at ReGroup-January 21-23 in Loveland, Colorado
Reaching Today's Volunteer
ReGroup 2013

Most 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 The New Breed, Volunteer Power workshop that is open to the public in Loveland, Colorado in January 2013.

The January Conference
Focus on Faith-Based Organizations
Loveland, Colorado
January 21-23 (A three-day conference)

Leading Today's Volunteer

Understand, empower and grow the volunteers in your ministry!

We know that finding (and keeping!) good volunteers is challenging. We've created this leadership training event to equip you with the best tools and knowledge to help you understand today's volunteer. You're invited to join us for a 3-day interactive training with Thomas McKee. It's a time for learning, sharing with others, and getting tangible tips you can take back to your church to multiply your volunteer involvement.

This training will help you:
  • Discover what the 21st century volunteer expects and what you must do if you want to recruit and lead the new breed of volunteer
  • Understand the seven deadly sins of recruiting volunteers and what leaders must do to have a successful recruiting and screening process
  • Discover how to lead volunteers with vision and purpose
  • Learn how to mobilize the unlimited power and passion of volunteers
  • Get equipped with practical resources to evaluate how empowerment-friendly and generation-friendly your organization is towards volunteers
If you're involved in any area of ministry that involves recruiting, training and/or leading volunteers, then this training is just for you!

Download Conference Information

January 21-23, 2013, Loveland, CO

Before December 31st: The cost for the ReGroup is $149. Only $119 per person if you register 2 or more!

After December 31st, 2012: $199 per person.

Register Now

Volunteer Power Key-Notes, Workshops,
Or An Education Day
The New Breed of Volunteer
A Volunteer Power Workshop
Recruiting and leading the 21st Century volunteers who want to do it their way

Workshop Content

The questions: Volunteerism is hot. From American Idol, Disneyland, Glee, Lady Gaga, President Obama to Wells Fargo, Intel and Wal-Mart, giving back is the rage.
  • How do we take advantage of this trend in our organization?
  • How do we mobilize the passion and power of volunteers in a culture that sometimes stifles passion and professionalism because management only allows volunteers to stuff envelops?
The answer: A 21st Century leadership strategy. We need to know how to impact our volunteer culture so that we can recruit and empower a whole new breed of volunteers.

The 21st century volunteer culture is very different because of tectonic shifts that have changed volunteer leadership. These shifts have impacted the volunteer organization; therefore, how we recruit and lead the New Breed of volunteer is a whole new game. The tectonic shifts include the following:
  • Twitch Speed - The core characteristic of Lady Gaga is speed. She is doing in 10 minutes what it took Madonna ten years to achieve. How nimble is your organization in responding to today's volunteers?
  • Generations Gen Y and retiring boomers-the new frontier of volunteers
  • Technology The addition of social networks as a leadership tool
  • Empowerment The knowledge worker demands to be led- not managed
  • Slacktivism Getting involved with the click of a mouse
  • Episodic Volunteering Sign up for only short-term projects or only when unemployed
A LEADER OF VOLUNTEERS STRATEGY: In this workshop you will learn ...
  • How to manage change: How to interpret a changing culture
  • How to empower the volunteer without dropping the ball
  • How to coach your volunteers instead of manage them: The four stages of coaching
  • How to frame your recruiting message in order to transition slactivists and episodic volunteers into valuable non-paid staff.
Contact us to book a workshop, key-note presentation.

Subscribe: If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you'd like to receive your own personal issue each month, please subscribe to receive free tips on how to recruit, manage and motivate volunteers.

You're receiving this recurring mailing because you either directly subscribed to the list, signed up on our website, or emailed a request to be subscribed. Volunteer Power respects your privacy: We won't rent, sell, or share your email address with any company, organization, or individual.

Please recommend this e-mail newsletter or Ezine to anyone who is interested in volunteer management. Thank you for reading this month's issue of Volunteer Power News!