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Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 68
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.

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In This Issue
  1. Featured Article: Why I Am Optimistic About Non-Profits in 2009 – Thomas McKee
  2. Volunteer Power Workshop: The New Breed of Volunteer Demands a Whole New Breed of Intentional Volunteer Leaders
Featured Article: Why I Am Optimistic About Non-Profits in 2009 - by Thomas W. McKee
Why I Am Optimistic about Non-Profits in 2009

As I look at 2008, I should be discouraged. According to the newspaper my house is worth almost 40% less than it was a year ago and my retirement 401K investments have not fared any better. Non-profits are anxious. This year many of the end-of-the-year appeals for money in my mailbox communicate a feeling of panic. To make matters worse, the economic downturn is leaving many people suffering and looking to government and community organizations for support. Funding for these services cannot keep up with increased demand.

That's a lot of bad news. Should we all join in on the panic?

Not even close. As I have traveled this past year and met with volunteer leaders from AmeriCorps VISTAS, state agencies that manage volunteers, churches, DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies), community volunteer centers, and non-profit associations, I believe that we are experiencing an outburst of entrepreneurial volunteerism that is creating solutions. And we are just beginning to see the impact of this movement. I was encouraged and energized by the words of David Isner, former CEO of The Corporation for National and Community Service, in his farewell speech delivered last month at Georgetown University. He challenged the students to step up to a new paradigm of volunteering (read or hear David's entire speech " From Dropouts to Downturns"). I think that his words can be summarized in the following two statements that capture the significant changes in volunteerism.

The old paradigm: Volunteering is a nice way to engage people to help others in need.

The new paradigm: Volunteering is a powerful method to tackle the huge problems that are overwhelming our society.

Volunteers are tackling significant issues of poverty, health care, prisons, the homeless, and illiteracy. What I witnessed this year is just the beginning, and we have not yet begun to experience the results of Volunteer Power. And this is why I am optimistic.

So how do we gear up for 2009?

How do we mobilize the millions of volunteers needed this next year? We are on a roll, and we can make a difference if we understand how to take advantage of three volunteer leadership drivers.

Driver One: The infrastructure is in place.

We live in a country that is filled with organizations that are ready to go. One list of non-profit volunteer organizations is on the VolunteerMatch website. Their list of Preferred Partners includes the following:

American Red Cross
American Red Cross Blood Services
Easter Seals
Feeding America (formerly named America's Second Harvest)
Girl Scouts USA
Habitat for Humanity - Hurricane Recovery
Impact Ministries
Kids In Need
Los Angeles Unified School District
National CASA
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Points of Light & Hands On Network
Rebuilding Together

Last month when I interviewed Christine Wallace from Volunteer Sacramento, I learned of some organizations in my community that I didn't even know about, and I also learned that most communities have volunteer centers (for Christine's interview see last month's newsletter— Edgy Volunteer Leadership Ideas).

Last summer my son Jonathan and I facilitated a Volunteer Power workshop for the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA). The leaders of CDFA had gathered volunteer managers from non-profit organizations from all over the state and what amazed me was how many of them were addressing the same humanitarian needs with volunteers that my home state of California does by public sector employees. Since many of our state services are in serious trouble because of our California budget crisis, I thought that we could take a lesson from New Hampshire.

And in addition according to Mark Chaves, we have more than 300,000 religious congregations in the United States. (Congregations in America, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, p. 3). And many of these churches are tackling these problems.

We have the infrastructure in place.

Driver Two: People are ready and willing to volunteer.

I was a college student when President Kennedy gave his inauguration speech on January 20, 1961 and he called his fellow Americans to ask what we could do for our country. We rallied with enthusiasm. I am sensing this same kind of enthusiasm today primarily from two groups of people: the boomers who first heard Kennedy's speech and from young people. David Isner, said,

Baby boomers are today volunteering at rates that exceed volunteering among this age group over past decades by as much as 50 percent. More importantly, this best educated, healthiest, wealthiest, and longest lived generation we've ever seen will conservatively double the number of older Americans volunteering within the next ten to twenty years. And, as we chart our course toward becoming a Service Nation, if the Boomers are the wind in our sails, the millennial generation is nothing short of a turbo speedboat engine. "From Dropouts to Downturns" delivered at Georgetown University)

Last October I was in Wyoming training a group of AmeriCorps VISTAs who were working to fight illiteracy and improve health services. Their mantra was, "Fight poverty with a passion". At lunch I visited with one young woman who was a recent college graduate and joined VISTA for one year before starting her professional career. She told me that she had just completing one term (one-year) and was signing up for another term. I thought as I talked with her of the 75,000 AmeriCorps members, the 500,000 Senior Corps participants, and 1.4 million Learn & Serve America students! They are making a difference. I was encouraged.

Last year, in California statewide, 6.5 million volunteers contributed nearly 900 million hours of service valued at $17 billion to the California economy. Sue Carter, the executive director of Volunteer San Diego, www.volunteersandiego.org, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes individuals and groups to make a community impact through volunteer action reports that every dollar that Volunteer San Diego receives is turned into $3.64 of community service. Volunteers provide a 360 percent return on investment - a strong case for more seriously considering service as a solution for community needs.

Another reason that I am optimistic is the surge of high school and college students who are using their entrepreneurial skills to tackle these issues. I recently had the opportunity to speak to 300 honor students at our local high school renaissance club about the power of volunteering. Huge numbers of today's students are seeing the need and don't want to just stand by and watch. They want to get involved. And some are so young. Kendall Ciesemier started a nonprofit organization, Kids Caring 4 Kids when she was only twelve-years old. A few years later, in September of 2007, during Kendall's second week as a freshman at Wheaton North High School (Illinois), former president Bill Clinton, in town on tour for his new book, Giving, honored her at a school assembly. Afterwards, Clinton swept her away to a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show, where, during a commercial break, an anonymous donor traveling with Clinton pledged $500,000 to Kendall's organization. (Chicago Magazine, January 2008 for complete story)

Volunteers of all ages are ready and willing. We just have to know how to recruit and mobilize them.

Driver Three: Organizations are intentional about recruiting and managing the new breed of volunteers.

Are you ready to recruit and lead the new breed of volunteers? Do you know how to mobilize your volunteer team for this new shift in volunteer management? Do you know how to look at crisis as an opportunity to transform the public desire to make a difference into solutions for our world through volunteer power? Has your volunteer management system made the shift from "nice way" to make volunteers feel good to "powerful change agent" method?

Here are three ways that you can get ready:

First way: Use the absolutely free resources on www.volunteerpower.com website. That is our mission—to provide free resources to help you mobilize the power and passion of your volunteer leaders. You have permission to print the articles for training, discussion and development. I have used many of these articles with staff. We read them and then discuss how we can implement the ideas. The achieves of past newsletters are filled with many discussion topics for your use—and they are all free.

Second way: Follow the four steps of volunteer passion
  • Awaken the passion
  • Channel the passion
  • Sustain the passion
  • Empower the passion
Do you know how to follow the four steps of volunteer leadership, starting with awaking the passion (recruiting volunteers to your cause) and ending with empowering them? Contact us to talk about training your volunteer leaders.

Third Way: Give a copy of The New Breed to your volunteer leaders

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) ordered 100 of The New Breed for their volunteer leaders and gave them out at their volunteer recognition luncheon.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers purchased 275 copies of The New Breed, to give their volunteer leaders at their six leadership meetings in 2009.

Susan Ellis, President of Energize, Inc writes about The New Breed:

Jonathan and Tom McKee's book, The New Breed, is an enthusiastic, thoughtful, and contemporary look at volunteering as it is evolving in this new century. There's no question that organizations must utilize up-to-date management techniques to attract and retain the wide range of people who want to serve their cause. In a practical and often humorous way, the authors introduce real-life challenges in volunteer engagement and give wonderful suggestions for everything from recruiting to using computer technology for communication. They aim to inspire the leader of volunteers and they succeed.
    – Susan J. Ellis, President, Energize, Inc.

So What? Why I Am Optimistic about Volunteering

In conclusion, we cannot depend on legislators to try to fix the country's problems of poverty, health care, prisons, illiteracy and the homeless. Crisis always seems to bring out the best of us. It is in the American DNA. Katrina, 9/11, the fires, floods, and now the economic crisis has cut off many services. I am optimistic because of the individuals, organizations, and churches that are looking at the needs of their communities and the world and putting together teams of volunteers to tackle the issues of our day.

And let' face it, this is what volunteerism is. In By the People, Susan Ellis and Katherine H. Campbell define volunteerism as "To volunteer is to choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one's basic obligations."

Marlene Wilson says that the three key elements of that definition are:
  • Free choice
  • Social responsibility (benefiting others)
  • Without personal economic gain
Wilson goes on to say that "at its best, volunteerism creates hope in the hearts of the receivers and meaning and purpose in the lives of the givers. The end result is a more caring and civil society. Volunteerism is love made visible and it changes lives, changes communities and can change the world. And this, my dear friends, is what keeps us doing what we're doing and loving it passionately!" (Leadership in Volunteer Programs: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson).

And this is why I am optimistic about next year. What I witnessed this year is just the beginning, and we have not yet begun to experience the results of Volunteer Power.

Volunteer Power Workshop: Filled with New Ideas, Trends and Ways to Empower your Volunteer Leaders.
The New Breed of Volunteer Demands a
New Breed of Volunteer Entrepreneur

A Volunteer Power Workshop
Thomas McKee

Recruiting and managing the 21st Century volunteers who want to do it their way

Workshop Content

The 21st century volunteer culture is very different because of seismic shifts that have changed volunteer management. These shifts have impacted the volunteer organization; therefore how we recruit and manage the new breed of volunteer is a whole new game. The seismic shifts include the following:
  • Generations – Gen Y and retiring boomers-the new frontier of volunteers
  • Technology – The addition of the virtual volunteer to the face-to-face volunteer.
  • Empowerment – The knowledge worker demands to be led- not managed
The Two Leadership 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?
The Volunteer Power Management Strategy
  • Stage I – Awaken the Passion – The Pre-Volunteer – (Low Trust-Low Guidance)
    • The three levels of motivation
    • The deadly sins of recruiting volunteers
    • The dating process of recruiting
    • The "big idea" method of presenting your passion

  • Stage II – Channel the Passion -- The Passionate Beginner (Low Trust – High Guidance)
    • Communicate expectations five ways
    • Train

  • Stage III – Manage the Passion -- The Talented but often Fragile Veteran (High Trust, High Guidance)
    • Affirm the passionate who are the core of your volunteer team (recognize and reward)
    • Awaken the passion of the veteran volunteer
      • Reframe
      • Refresh
      • Re-assign
      • Re-train
      • Or – if all else fails--Retire

  • Stage IV – Empower the Passion -- The Empowered Volunteer (High Trust, Low Guidance)
    • Delegation vs. empowerment
    • How to empower the volunteer without dropping the ball

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.

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