Home Books Resources Articles Workshops Contact Links
Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 59
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter

2008 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: How to Do it Your Way and Yet Be Flexible with Volunteers Who Want to Do It Your Way - Thomas W. McKee
  2. 21St Century Volunteer Culture: The Young People on a Mission are Back - The New Social Entrepreneurship
  3. Check out the Two New Volunteer Power Workshops in Sacramento and Detroit - by Thomas and Jonathan McKee
  4. Hear Tom McKee Live Listen to an MP3 of a ten-minute sample keynote presentation by Tom McKee, The Power of Volunteer Passion

Featured Article: How to Do It Your Way and Yet Be Flexible with Volunteers Who Want To Do It Their Way - by Thomas W. McKee
Most organizations have procedure manuals that outline the proven way to accomplish our mission. When I was training volunteer leaders for Ducks Unlimited (DU), I read very detailed organization manuals on how to set up a chapter. DU knows how to get it done-the right way. Most effective organizations have developed systems that work and have learned by trial and error what doesn't work. The last thing we need is someone who wants to do it their way-the old way that doesn't work or some new "out of the box" way that cold land us in jail.

And yet in the book, The New Breed, a major theme is how to recruit and manage a whole new breed of volunteer who wants to do it his/her way. Isn't this a contradiction with reality? How does this work?

Jonathan and I discuss this problem. The following is a short section from our book, The New Breed (pp. 29-31).

Jonathan writes:

    Hey Dad, I'm starting to notice a tension here. Are we contradicting ourselves? We've said that the new breed of volunteer wants to do things their own way. Yet we also say that volunteer managers need to have high standards in laying out roles and responsibilities. If we have high standards, how can we also be flexible?

Tom writes:

    That's an important question and distinction. Volunteer managers must constantly balance that tension. We need to keep standards high, because the new breed of volunteer won't put up with leaders who are inconsistent or unprofessional. Yet the same new breed of volunteer also wants flexibility.

Jonathan writes:

    So how do we live in that tension?

Tom writes:

    It really isn't that difficult. When volunteer managers listen to prospective volunteers during the "dating process," they simply need to evaluate what kind of commitment they can expect from each individual. Some people will choose short-term service roles. Others, weekly roles. And even the weekly roles vary.

Jonathan writes:

    I see this often in the youth ministry world as youth ministers try to balance this tension. Some youth pastors limit themselves to a rigid criteria, only accepting volunteers who can commit Sundays, Wednesdays, staff meetings, and events. That's huge! While it's important to have some volunteers who can make these bigger time commitments, the kids in the youth ministry benefit when other volunteers help in smaller ways.

    My friend KJ does this well in the junior high ministry he leads. A few years ago, a mom named Jenny asked KJ if she could help. As KJ talked with her, he quickly realized that Jenny was swamped midweek, but had Sunday mornings free during the youth group's class. KJ invited Jenny to visit the next Sunday. She immediately gravitated toward the welcome table-a great example of letting people find their own comfort zones. Within a few weeks, Jenny took over the welcome table-organizing materials, involving students, and making visitors feel welcome. Most of KJ's other volunteers don't want to be stuck behind a table all morning, but Jenny loved it.

    I still speak at KJ's ministry, and whenever I'm there-rain or shine-Jenny is behind that table greeting kids, introducing new kids to regular attendees, and signing up kids for events. She's amazing.

    KJ always needs volunteer staff that can hang out with kids and attend midweek meetings and other events. But KJ would have lost an amazing volunteer if his structure was too limited to include roles like Jenny's.

As I re-read that section of the book this week in preparation for a workshop, I identified with Jenny. Susie and I just spent a week taking care of our grandchildren (ages 10, 12 and 14), while our kids took vacation. We both were working full time and tying to keep up with checking homework, soccer games, music lessons, karate, church activities and just some fun time (and why this newsletter is a week late). When our kids came home, we collapsed and were reminded of the words:

I've seen the lights of Paris
I've seen the lights of Rome
But the greatest lights I've ever seen
Are the tail lights of my children's car
Taking my grandkids home.

My grandchildren are a huge priority over my volunteer activities. I can do all of this for a week and keep up my volunteer work, but I'm not sure that I could keep it up for the long haul. That is why those of us who lead volunteer organizations need to be flexible in how we keep the standard high, without lowering the standard. It is a tension, but the role of the new breed of volunteer manager must live in that tension like K.J. if we are going to keep our volunteers.

21st Century Volunteer Culture: The Young People on a Mission are Back-The 21st Century Kind of Volunteerism--Social Entrepreneurship - by Thomas W. McKee
In the '60s "unreasonable people" changed the world by their participation in the civil rights, antiwar, and women's movements. In the '80s and 90' the world was changed by unreasonable entrepreneurial visionaries like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I love the title of a new book that captures the spirit of these changes, The Power of Unreasonable People by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan. The visionaries of the 60's were considered "unreasonable" by the establishment. Steve Jobs was considered an unreasonable person because he did not fit into the mold of the way it was always done.

Today a new breed of "unreasonable people" are cropping up on college campuses as students are starting non-profit organizations and volunteering their time to change the world in a whole new field called social entrepreneurship. Bill Drayton, the chief executive of an organization called Ashoka that supports social entrepreneurs, likes to say that such people neither hand out fish nor teach people to fish; their aim is to revolutionize the fishing industry.

Andrew Klaber, a 26-year-old spent the summer after his sophomore year in college in Thailand and was horrified to see teenage girls being forced into prostitution after their parents had died of AIDS. So he started Orphans Against AIDS (www.orphansagainstaids.org), which pays school-related expenses for hundreds of children who have been orphaned or otherwise affected by AIDS in poor countries. He and his friends volunteer their time and pay administrative costs out of their own pockets so that every penny goes to the children.

Mr. Klaber was able to expand the nonprofit organization in Africa through introductions made by Jennifer Staple, who was a year ahead of him when they were in college. When she was a sophomore, Ms. Staple founded an organization in her dorm room to collect old reading glasses in the United States and ship them to poor countries. That group, Unite for Sight, has ballooned, and last year it provided eye care to 200,000 people (www.uniteforsight.org).

Another social entrepreneur is Soraya Salti, a 37-year-old Jordanian woman who is trying to transform the Arab world by teaching entrepreneurship in schools. Her organization, Injaz, is now training 100,000 Arab students each year to find a market niche, construct a business plan and then launch and nurture a business.

The program (www.injaz.org.jo) has spread to 12 Arab countries and is aiming to teach one million students a year. Ms. Salti argues that entrepreneurs can stimulate the economy, give young people a purpose and revitalize the Arab world. Girls in particular have flourished in the program, which has had excellent reviews and is getting support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. "If you can capture the youth and change the way they think, then you can change the future," she said.

Another young person on a mission is Ariel Zylbersztejn, a 27-year-old Mexican who founded and runs a company called Cinepop, which projects movies onto inflatable screens and shows them free in public parks. Mr. Zylbersztejn realized that 90 percent of Mexicans can't afford to go to movies, so he started his own business model: He sells sponsorships to companies to advertise to the thousands of viewers who come to watch the free entertainment. Mr. Zylbersztejn works with microcredit agencies and social welfare groups to engage the families that come to his movies and help them start businesses or try other strategies to overcome poverty. Cinepop is only three years old, but already 250,000 people a year watch movies on his screens - and his goal is to take the model to Brazil, India, China and other countries.

I am encouraged as I see the passion of the sixties married to the entrepreneurship of the 80 and 90s in a mission to change the world and make this a better planet. And it all begins with volunteers.

Two Volunteer Power Workshops in Sacramento, California and Detroit, Michigan: with Thomas and Jonathan McKee
Thursday, April 10th -- Sacramento, California: at DOVIA,
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon (Registration at 8:30)

With Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the president and founder of The Source, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, cutting-edge resources for youth workers across the world. He is a national speaker, trainer, and author of seven books, including THE NEW BREED, Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer.

Topics include:
  • Frame your recruitment message for today's volunteers
  • Understand how the different generations are motivated
  • Discover the seven seismic shifts that have changed volunteer management
  • Empower volunteers to 'own' their projects
  • Engage the passion of your volunteers
Place: RSVP Offices, 3727 Marconi Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95821
Cost: $35 members, $50 non-members (pay at the door)
Reservations: Contact: Diane Rhodes at Rhodes2@sutterhealth.org or (916) 733-8557

Saturday, April 19th -- Detroit, Michigan:
Ward Presbyterian Church
40000 Six Mile Road, Northville, MI 48168
Saturday, April 19th
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Optional Q & A - 12:30

With Thomas W. McKee

Topics Include:
     Part I: The Volunteer Leader
                How to mobilize the unlimited power of the volunteer team
     Part I: The volunteer Recruiter and Manager
                How to recruit and manage 21st Century volunteers

Place: Ward Presbyterian Church
Registration: $25 (after April 11th or walk in at the door)
Pre-Registration: $20 (before April 11th)
Additional same origination (separate form required for each ($15)
Box Lunch (Optional for Q & A -- $7)

Reservations: http://www.wardchurch.org/templates/cuswardepc/details.asp?id=1702&PID=509295

Tom's Books: The New Breed and/or They Don't Play My Music Anymore
The New Breed


Here's a glimpse of the Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Common Predicament
Where It All Begins

Chapter 1: Who Is the New Breed of Volunteer?
   A Profile of the 21st Century Volunteer

Chapter 2: Recruiting the New Breed of Volunteers
   The "Courting" Relationship

Chapter 3: Finding the New Breed of Volunteers (Not Scaring Them Away)
   The Seven Deadly Sins of Recruiting Volunteers

Chapter 4: Tapping into Two New Breeds of Volunteers
   Retiring "Boomers" and "Generation @"

Chapter 5: Motivating the New Breed of Volunteers
   Discover Three Levels of Motivation

Chapter 6: Empowering Volunteers to Do It Their Way
   Move from Delegation to Empowerment

Chapter 7: Managing the Virtual Volunteer
   Virtual Volunteers and Using Technology

Chapter 8: Managing High Maintenance Volunteers
   Performance Coaching the Volunteer from Hell

Chapter 9: Leading the Successful Volunteer Organization
   Mobilize the Collective Power of Volunteers

Chapter 10: A Leadership Case Study
   A Fable of How to Do It Right

  • Sample Position Charter
  • Sample Project Charter
  • Interview Guide for Hiring a Paid "Volunteer Manager"
  • Sample Questionnaire for Virtual Volunteers
  • Sample Board Code of Conduct
  • Strategic Planning Retreat - Agenda of Questions
  • SWOT Analysis Form
  • Ice-Breakers and Openers
  • Team Building Activities
  • Sample Training Exercise-A Case Study:


Plan Your Future
When the World
Keeps Changing

Get Tom's Inspiring Book

As we try to navigate the 21st Century in this increasingly fast-paced and technology-driven world, many people are drowning in our culture of unremitting change. In the innovative book, They Don't Play My Music Anymore, Thomas McKee presents a creative approach to facing personal and professional change. He offers eight essential principles that can help you gain the confidence to face an unknown future. Using these techniques, you will develop a new thinking frame by which to approach your future with hope and confidence as you learn to embrace change instead of merely reacting to it.


Tom's Eight Principles
Will Help You Gain the Confidence
To Face an Unknown Future

"In a world where change seems to be happening faster than the five miles every second the Space Shuttle travels, They Don't Play My Music Anymore offers a practical, common sense approach to not only surviving this frenetic pace of change, but building and growing from it. Incorporating Tom's methodology as I chose to make a change in my profession has helped me map out and launch into new adventures in many ways as exciting as the three space missions I flew. I very highly recommend applying these principles!"
Rick Searfoss, NASA Astronaut
and Space Shuttle Commander

Hear Tom McKee Live: Listen to an MP3 of a ten-minute sample keynote presentation by Tom McKee, The Power of Volunteer Passion
Thomas McKee
Who Takes the Fall When Your
Keynote Speaker is Just

You Do!

You can count on Thomas McKee for any size group. He has spoken to over one half million people in Europe, Africa and the United States over the past 35 years and has worked with some of America's top corporations, organizations and associations.
(More info about Tom here)


Click here to listen

Tom McKee is a leading volunteer management speaker, trainer and consultant. You can reach Tom at (916) 987-0359 or e-mail him at tom@volunteerpower.com. Other articles and free resources are available at www.volunteerpower.com

For more articles by Thomas McKee, visit the Articles section on our website.

Resource Highlight: Take a Peek at Our New Website
The New VolunteerPower.com is live! Words cannot describe it... take a peek for yourself! www.VolunteerPower.com

Volunteer Power!

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!