Volunteer Power News - Number 69
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter
© 2009 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: Advice for the New Year—Seven Ways to Recharge Your Batteries.
Advice for the New Year—Take Care of Yourself for a Change
I have some critical advice for all volunteer leaders—something we don't hear enough. The advice: "Take care of yourself first." Volunteer leaders give—and give and give and give. How do you keep yourself from being burned out? How do you deal with the pressures of finding those volunteers when you have exhausted every lead? How do you handle the sleepless nights of worrying about volunteers not showing up? Bottom line—how do you keep perspective?
The airline flight attendant has some important words that most of us have heard hundreds of times, "Put on your own oxygen mask first before you help the children or others next to you who need help." But we don't take that advice into our professional careers. "Help those next to you . . ." That advice summarizes what volunteering is—helping others. Most of what we write and speak about is how to recruit and manage the volunteers who are helping others. But on this first month of 2009, I want to challenge you to think of yourself for a change.
In talking with volunteer leaders who are successful, here are seven popular energizing activities some of you are doing to keep perspective.
I want to recommend a book that brought me into my world of volunteer leadership and spoke directly to me.
Volunteer Leadership Book Review: An Energizing Read—Marlene Wilson's Visionary Leadership
Book Review - Leadership in Volunteer Programs by Marlene Wilson
To be honest, I would not have chosen to read this book, except that Susan Ellis and Cara Thenot from Energize Inc., asked me to read the book and give them feedback. And I said yes. But when I picked it up and looked at the cover, I questioned, "Why do I want to read speeches that were presented in the 70's, 80's and 90's by someone who was born in 1931?" (Wow—there must be an interesting point here—"don't always judge a book by its cover." Sorry, just couldn't resist that comment). The world is radically different today and even the world of volunteer leadership has changed in the 21st century.
If I had not been asked to read this book so that I could write a review, I would not have read it. And that would have been my terrible loss. I am so glad that I read Leadership in Volunteer Programs: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson.
Marlene Wilson captures me with her questions, her stories, her years of insight and her faithfulness to our profession and her tried-and-true nuggets presented accessibly. Often, that's the kind of advice leaders find most valuable. I especially applaud the way Wilson urges all who lead volunteers to move beyond thinking of themselves as managers to thinking of themselves as leaders—those who develop vision for volunteer programs and impart that vision throughout an organization. She was hitting this note at the end of the 20th century, yet it is so relevant to 21st century leadership where our volunteers not only don't want to be managed, they demand to be empowered (especially the under 30 crowd). We not only need this kind of leadership in our volunteer programs, but in our movement. To develop these leadership insights, Wilson mines leadership literature and her own experiences to dispense advice that resonates with principles of leadership gurus such as Max DuPree, Tom Peters, Steven Covey, Robert Townsend and Warren Bennis.
Marlene Wilson does not fit the typical mold. Who else in our field started one of the first volunteer centers in the US (Boulder, Colorado in 1968), founded the first of its kind volunteer management certificate program (University of Colorado in 1972), worked as an editor and chief of Volunteer Journal (until 1978), served as a college professor (University of Colorado), wrote a best seller volunteer management book The Effective Volunteer Manager (sold over 150,000 copies), delivered hundreds of keynote speeches about volunteerism, and became a significant leader in the early years of the whole volunteer management/leadership movement? In addition she was volunteering in her church and organizations. Visionary Leadership in Volunteer Programs: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson is intended to be a culmination of her previous works, communicating her wisdom as our profession is struggling to re-define and rediscover itself in the 21st century. After the demise of the AVA (Association of Volunteer Administration) and the efforts to establish a new association, Wilson's historical insight presents a strong foundation for us to build upon.
Wilson played a significant role in facing great challenges and change as she helped the baby profession of volunteer management grow and mature through it all. In reading these speeches I gained a new perspective about the history of volunteer management and some of the significant issues that our leaders faced in the 20th century. But she did not present the problems of volunteer management without offering solutions. Wanting people not just to hear but also to apply, she opted to be "a motivational teacher," not just a motivational speaker, which makes this book practical to a broad range of readers. She put forward her solutions in digestible chunks of hard-earned wisdom, served in a collection of the keynote speeches that she gave over the past three decades. Bringing those speeches into the 21st century, she summarizes her philosophy of volunteerism in two final chapters:
We were called "scabs" and several other choice epitaphs. It was extremely upsetting to us "nice folks who just like to help others." The picketers marched into the hall and took over the microphone. We sat there horrified. It seems that some volunteers had helped build homes for elderly people in Florida and these carpenters claimed that volunteers took jobs away from people. That is why they were picketing. Finally, a hand went up from the audience and a young woman asked if they were open to questions. When the spokesperson said "yes," the young woman said, "Are all of you who came here tonight being paid to do this?" The answer was, "Of course not!" "Then," she said, "You are all volunteers. You happen to volunteer for a cause you believe in, and so do we." With that the picketers laid down the microphone and quietly left. That person was Energize, Inc. President Susan J. Ellis, then a new volunteer program manager for the Philadelphia Family Court.
As I read this story, I was reminded of the strength and weaknesses of volunteerism. Volunteerism is driven by passion, and passionate people often do great things. But they also sometimes do impulsive things. And that is what we as volunteer managers deal with when we try to mobilize the power and passion of volunteers. Marlene helps us to understand how to mobilize that passion.
Following are some of the insights from Wilson's book that I loved. These are to give you a taste of her style:
On Understanding our Past
Engraved above the entrance to the University of Colorado's Norlin library is a quote by former university president, George Norlin, "He who knows only his own generation remains always a child." These words remind me how important understanding the past is to informing the future. I was blessed to become involved in the profession of volunteer administration in its infant years and have a front row seat during its exciting evolution. As a frequent keynote speaker for volunteer organizations from the 1970s to the 1990s, I spent a lot of my time thinking about emerging trends, and current issues. In 2008, it is unclear what will emerge as our new national professional association. I hope that, by sharing some of the history of volunteer administration, current and future leaders of the profession can learn and make more informed decisions about the future.
I recently read this observation on progress by author Morris Mandel: "After several thousand years, we have advanced to the point where we bolt our doors and windows, and then turn on our burglar alarms—while the jungle natives sleep in open-doored huts." Ironic, isn't it—what we call progress! So far, it has been difficult to find good news among all the headlines graphically reminding us of problems abroad and disaster at home. The encouraging word is becoming a rare and precious commodity
On The Definition of Volunteer:
The traditional definition, as stated in the excellent book, By the People by Susan J. Ellis and Katherine H. Campbell, has been: 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.
The key elements are:
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!
On The Temptation to Become A Specialists or a Generalists:
Finally, in looking at our challenges as we consider this broad and increasingly complex issue of diversity, I am reminded of the dilemma of deciding whether to become specialists or generalists as defined by one sage:
A specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less, until they know practically everything about almost nothing.
A generalist is someone who knows less and less about more and more until they know almost nothing about everything.
Versatility and flexibility are the keys and the view from our parasail suggests we have never before in history had a richer, more extravagantly luxuriant variety of cultures, talents, ages, professional skills and opportunities to truly make a difference in this field called volunteerism.
On The Whys of Volunteer Management Have Stayed the Same in a World of Change.
At the same time, the knowledge, information and application of these principles have changed dramatically over the years. In other words, my whys have stayed the same—but the whats and hows have needed to change with the tides and trends of change. I honestly think this is what has provided my "staying power" all these years.These principles are the "why" of Marlene's philosophy of volunteerism. And these dozen principles summarize Visionary Leadership in Volunteer Programs: Insight and Inspiration from the Speeches of Marlene Wilson.
Let me share a few of these powerful principles with you—knowing the real value will be to encourage you to make your own list.
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
Recruiting and managing the 21st Century volunteers who want to do it their way
SECTION I: THE NEW VOLUNTEER CULTURE
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:
The Two Leadership Factors: Guidance and Trust
Tom's Books: The New Breed and/or They Don't Play My Music Anymore
IN STOCK! CLICK HERE FOR MORE
ABOUT THIS BOOK AND TO GET A COPY
(FREE U.S. SHIPPING!)
Here's a glimpse of the Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Common Predicament
Where It All Begins
SECTION ONE: THE VOLUNTEER RECRUITER
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 @"
SECTION TWO: THE VOLUNTEER MANAGER
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
SECTION THREE: THE VOLUNTEER LEADER
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
SECTION FOUR: RESOURCES
THIS BOOK AND TO GET A COPY
Plan Your Future
When the World
Get Tom's Inspiring Book
THEY DON'T PLAY
MY MUSIC ANYMORE!
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
Keynote Speaker is Just
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)
For more articles by Thomas McKee, visit the Articles section on our website.
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