Home Books Resources Articles Workshops Contact Links
Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 64
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: The Strategic Challenge of Volunteer Leadership Thomas W. McKee
  2. Monthly Volunteer Leadership Insight: Know What You Don't Know Thomas W. McKee

Featured Article: The Strategic Challenge of Volunteer Leadership - by Thomas W. McKee
The strategic challenge for volunteer organizations today is knowing how to take advantage of the fact that "volunteerism is in." Volunteers are serving in their communities (and the world) in literally billions of hours every year, and the annual dollar value on all that donated time is roughly about $225 billion a year (www.networkforgood.org). Intel, for example, is actually making donations to non-profits for the hours that their employees volunteer. See Intel in your community. I have been working with an organization that has taken advantage of this program. The Intel employees are excited-and we are thrilled to get the check.

The Strategic Challenge: How does the volunteer organization tap into this enthusiastic, passionate and powerful potential of volunteers? That is our challenge.

In this issue of Volunteer Power, I would like to answer two questions about our strategic challenge:
  • First, is volunteering really in?
  • Second, how do we take advantage of the surge of volunteer power?
Question One: Is Volunteering Really In?

Volunteering is everywhere. Even celebrities are getting into the act.

Can you answer this question? Which celebrity has more sway than other celebs to encourage teens to volunteer?
A. Bono
B. Oprah
C. Madonna
D. Usher
E. George Burns

According to a "Do Something" study highlighted on YPULSE.com, 1/23/08 the celebrity that has influenced teens to volunteer the most is Oprah. The top 10 Rankings (from most inspirational to least) are
1. Oprah
2. Al Gore
3. Lance Armstrong
4. Angelina Jolie
5. U2 and Bono
6. Brad Pitt
7. Bill Clinton
8. Leonardo DiCaprio
9. Ellen Degeneres
10. Will Smith

The study documented the following:
  • Oprah is the celebrity most liked by teens and has more sway than other celebs to encourage them to volunteer or lend a hand.
  • Teens say Al Gore has the most influence on getting them to take action; however, he has a mediocre likeability ranking that lowers his overall score.
  • Kids know more about U2's charity work than their music.
  • Teens don't particularly like Bill Clinton, but a sizable number (21%) are inspired to take action because of him.
  • Cameron Diaz, despite her youth and commitment to environmental issues, did not receive a single vote in the inspirational ranking. Nicole Kidman and Madonna each received only two votes.
Volunteerism got a huge boost from American Idol Gives Back.

Idol Gives Back 2008

Last spring, in American Idol Gives Back, Maria Shriver stood on the platform with over 100 volunteers and said,

"Ghandi once said that you can be the change that you want to be in this world. And the truth is that you can be the change by serving others . . . . Let's set a record tonight, not just with the amount of money we raise, but also with the number of people we enlist to volunteer. In the ancient Hopi prayer it says, ‘Don't look outside yourself for the leader.' It tells us, ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for.' Ladies and gentlemen, when we come together with our generosity, with our passion and our compassion, we truly can change the world. We can all be American Idols in someone's life. It doesn't matter if you can't sing because you can serve. And acts of service are the stuff that real idols are made of."

See her speech on American Idol

I recently visited with Ryan Anderson, who was just selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets. Ryan is a 20-year old young man who is now a millionaire. He was asking me about volunteer work and especially building homes in Mexico. He served with his church while in high school on volunteer teams building homes, and it greatly impacted his life. NBA Cares is not just a marketing promotion for Ryan. He is excited about his influence and the impact he can have as a volunteer.

Volunteerism is in the news, on campuses, in the NBA, on T.V. and alive and well.

So the strategic questions are:
  • How can volunteer organizations take advantage of this trend?
  • How can we mobilize the power and passion of this untapped potential?
And that is what Volunteer Power is all about. The answer to the strategic challenge is one word: Leadership. Volunteer leadership is more important than ever. Jonathan (co-author of The New Breed) and I were talking with two volunteer managers recently (both under 30). They both were passionate about their vision.

The young man kept telling Jonathan that he was going to mobilize volunteers to accomplish his mission. Jonathan kept asking him what he was going to do to mobilize them, and his answer was, "I'm going to mobilize volunteers." Jonathan kept pressing him by asking, "I understand you are going to mobilize them, but how?" The young man's answer was, "I'm going to mobilize them." But this young man only had a dream. He didn't have a clue how to do it. His vision was impressive. His leadership was lacking.

In contrast last month we met Tracy, a young woman in her early 20's who also had a passion for a cause. But Tracy knew how to mobilize her volunteers into an exciting organization that was impacting her community.

What was the difference between these two volunteer managers?

The answer: Leadership

Volunteer Power teaches the art of volunteer leadership. Volunteer Power is a simple yet effective step by step, easy to follow system of moving the volunteer through four phases of involvement-from the initial contact with a pre-volunteer (marketing) to unleashed energy and service (empowerment). Tracy knew how to awaken the passion (stage one) of the pre-volunteer who felt a stirring to give back. She also knew how to channel that passion (phase two) into a significant role for her organization. She had these first two phases of leadership down very well. She was asking for our help on the third and fourth phases. The third phase is one of the most challenging for many volunteer managers. This phase charges the leader with the task of managing the passion of volunteers during the difficult and often fragile time when volunteering gets tedious. But the volunteer leader who can master phase three reaches the goal of every manager-the final phase. The fourth phase empowers volunteers and unleashes their passion far beyond our wildest expectations.

During these four phases the leader is walking a delicate and sometimes easily broken balance of guidance and trust. The four phases of leadership are a combination of two management factors: Guidance and Trust. Guidance - How much hands-on direction do I give? Trust - How much confidence do I have that I can depend on the volunteer?

  • Guidance: The hands-on direction and control you use in managing your volunteers. It includes giving expectations, training, regular follow up and evaluation.

  • Trust: The shared belief that you can depend on each other to achieve a common purpose. It includes the expectation and total confidence that the volunteer will execute the duty.
The volunteer leader begins at phase one and skillfully guides the volunteer through the stages while increasing the trust and decreasing the guidance (see diagram below).
  • Phase One: Awaken the Passion: Low Trust and Low Guidance
  • Phase Two: Channel the Passion: Low Trust and High Guidance
  • Phase Three: Manage the Passion: High Trust and High Guidance
  • Phase Four: Unleash the Power and Passion: High Trust and Low Guidance

We would love to help you answer the strategic challenge. Consider two ways to answer this challenge:
  • The freeway. Look through the articles and archives of Volunteer Power and copy and print up any of our articles. Hand them out to your staff and discuss them.

  • The cost-effective investment way. Invest in your volunteer managers by booking a workshop for your agency, church, organization, or local groups of volunteer leaders. I'd love to help you.
For Information about bringing a workshop to your organization, click here.

Monthly Volunteer Leadership Insight: Know What You Don't Know - Thomas W. McKee
"It's not what we don't know that gives us trouble. It's what we know that ain't so."
Will Rogers

"Chaos and uncertainty are market opportunities for the wise."
Tom Peters

I would much rather follow a leader who has the confidence to say, "I don't know" than to follow leaders who thinks that they know it all. When leaders have the security to say "I don't know", those leaders give their team members permission to do the same thing. They send their team an important message: In this organization it is okay not to know. As a leader it is important to know what those around you know and don't know.

There is an old Persian proverb that says:

  • The person who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool--shun him.
  • The person who knows not and knows that he knows not is a student-teach him.
  • The person who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep--wake him.
  • The person who knows and knows that he knows is a leader-follow him.
How do you find someone who knows and knows that he knows in a society where knowledge is changing so fast? I recently attended a graduation in a medical school, and the speaker told the doctors that the most important thing they had learned was how to learn. He went on to say that medical knowledge was changing 10% a year, and if they didn't keep up they would be out of date in a couple of years. Knowing is often the willingness to keep learning. That begins with knowing that you don't know.

I love to add one more line to the Persian proverb. "The leader who knows not but will search for an answer is secure a leader-help him search." I will follow the leader who is secure enough to say, "I don't know, but I will find out." Andy Stanley suggests some phrases to file away for your leadership tool box for future use:

  • I don't know right now, but I am confident we can figure it out.
  • I don't know right now, but when the time comes to do something about it, I am confident we will have an answer.
  • I don't know right now, but with folks like you around, I am confident we will come up with a solution.
  • I don't know. I have never done this before. But I think we are up for the challenge.
Don't pretend you know. Knowing everything is not a prerequisite for leadership. But confidence is.

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!