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Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 89
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter

2010 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
  1. Featured Article: Recruiting and Managing Teenage Volunteers. Are they worth the effort?
  2. Training: The New Breed: A Volunteer Power Workshop
Featured Article: Recruiting and Managing Teenage Volunteers
Part I: Are they worth the effort?

Did you know that the popular TV program among teenagers, Glee, is promoting volunteerism? And if you are prudent, you will take advantage of this campaign to recruit a whole new generation of volunteers that will bring life, enthusiasm, passion and a whole new set of dynamics to your cause.

This number one TV program kicked off their volunteer project by urging fans to "make a difference" by volunteering, voting or donating. What is so cool is that the promotion is far more than non-profits could ever afford to produce on their own. The ads feature TV spots, online and cinema content that is written, directed and produced by the Glee creative team and features characters from the show. See an example of "Some People Want to Do Good, Some People Don't." What non-profit has the budget to produce an ad like this?

The videos began to be aired on Fox on September 21st and via American Express' online promotional channels. Each piece points out: "Some people want to do good. Some don't. Which one are you? Find out at membersproject.com/glee and help make the world a better place." Beginning Sept. 3rd, a creative video short debuted in select movie theaters nationwide. An onscreen mobile platform allowed moviegoers to interact with additional content from their handheld devices.

But wait a minute. I have several questions that voice my concerns.
  1. Do I even want a bunch of millennial volunteers?
  2. Can the Glee promotion really help me find volunteers?
  3. What do I do with millennial volunteers after I get them?
Do I Want A Bunch of Millennial Volunteers?

Yes, you do. In fact you need them. Here are three reasons you need to promote millennial volunteering.

1. They are audacious, bold, awesome, optimistic and self-confident.

It is popular to label today's teen and most of millenials (the 20 -something generation) as self-indulgent and self-obsessed individuals who have been told by Mr. Rogers that they are special and that they can be anything that they want to be. What this tells me is that they are hungry to do something. They want to take on responsibility and make it happen.

As I was picking up my 15 year old granddaughter at a friend's house last week, the whole family of seven was sitting in the front driveway going through bags of dog collars and sorting them. The 16 year-old- daughter was tackling a project for a local animal shelter. She explained to me how they had handed out flyers and then went home to home in their neighborhood and collected these dog collars to get involved in a cause they believed in-concern over animals. There must have been hundreds of them. As she talked, her eyes were bright with enthusiasm and passion for this project.

2. They are missing in our organizations.

I have visited over a dozen states this past year and in most of the workshops I have noticed the graying of the volunteer ranks. Last month I spoke at a meeting for volunteer leaders. Out of over 100 volunteers, there was one African American, one Asian, one Hispanic and two women. The rest were all retired men in their late 50's and 60's. I challenged this group to begin to reach out. The interesting thing is that I didn't get resistance. In fact, most of the men were very interested in knowing how to reach this group. Perhaps that stimulated my interest in this article.

3. The millennial generation is standing at the same crossroads that I stood at 50 years ago. I hope they take a different road than my generation took.

I haven't seen such interest in making a difference since President Kennedy gave his inauguration speech in 1961, when he challenged our nation to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." And we did. From the Peace Corps to civil rights our generation got involved. Unfortunately with the death of the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, the Viet Nam War, and Watergate, as a whole our generation became very cynical as we exchanged our passion for doing good for a self indulgent, materialistic "me generation" narcissism. Cathie Looney, a generational expert, wrote about my generation (the boomers) in the Dallas News,

"The world revolved around us as children. We're the spoiled brats. We had a decade long temper tantrum beginning in the mid '60s. In the '80s, it was acquire, acquire, acquire. In the 1990s, many of us who'd postponed parenting for careers had children. We're the 'I, I, I, me, me, me' generation. We want to think of ourselves as altruistic, but we always make sure that we take a picture of ourselves standing in front of the house that we helped rebuild."

I am observing the same passion we had in the early 60's in this young generation. I have great hope and concern about this new generation, and I pray that they will keep their passion alive. It would be easy for them to become cynical when they begin to experience duplicity and lack of character in leadership. Writer John Ortberg claims, "If you search behind the surface of any cynic and you will find a wounded idealist underneath. . . . this means that beyond just seeing what is wrong with the world, cynics lack the courage to do something about it" (John Orberg, Faith and Doubt, p. 127). Somewhere along the line cynics have been greatly disappointed and rather than tackle the problems in a society, they merely sit back and complain.

That is where we step in. We have an opportunity to demonstrate in the world of non-profit leadership the great opportunity to make a difference. This is the time to invest in the lives of this new generation as we have to opportunity to show them how they can have the courage to do something significant. As great as your cause is, a parallel cause is the opportunity to challenge all of the energy and passion of a young generation to becoming a service nation. It is not just a by-product of what we do, but perhaps a top priority ought to be to keep that passion alive.

How can the Glee promotion help me find teenage volunteers?

My son Jonathan, co-author of The New Breed and a youth culture specialist, writes,

Prior to May 19, 2009, the word glee was obscure, nothing more than a right-click synonym for happiness or delight. But following American Idol that Tuesday night, the word glee became the buzz on campuses."

A year later, the show would blow everything else away, with 19 Emmy nominations, more than any other TV program. The 2010 Emmys became Glee-afied, with a memorable opening number in which Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Betty White, and other popular television stars joined the Glee cast in song and dance performing Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run."

The show is now one of the most watched, most downloaded, and most talked-about TV programs among young people. The 2010 Teen Choice Awards were hosted by Katy Perry and the Glee cast. The MTV Video Music Awards used the Glee cast to award Lady Gaga a VMA for best pop video. Glee characters Rachel, Finn, Kurt, and Quinn are household names and pop-culture icons.

How does this help me recruit?

The first step to recruit volunteers is to awaken the passion to volunteer. The Glee ads only plant an idea. Now we step in and show our opportunities to get involved. And we do it by asking. My pitch line might be something like this, "We are making a huge difference in our community by _____________ (i.e.by caring for the homeless children in our community). You can have a significant part by volunteering with us this Saturday when we are . . ."

Get them to attend-the first date. Introduce these teenagers and 20-somethings to your cause with a personal invitation.

Or another approach might be to invite a youth group (girl scouts, sports team, church group) to help out on a project. While you are working with them, you can always spot the great workers-those who seem to be alive to the project. Work with those kids and take the opportunity to tell them about your mission and what you are doing to make a difference. As you get to know them, invite certain ones to come back and help.

So who do we lead a group, or even one teenager? How can we help them from becoming cynical? How can we help them accomplish our mission and at the same time get them to work with our seasoned volunteers?

In Part II-the November newsletter I will outline several ways and examples of how make it happen. But for now, begin to think of how you can capitalize on the Glee promotion and recruit teenagers to volunteer with alongside of you.

Volunteer Power Workshop: Reenergize Your Volunteer Leaders with a Half-Day, Full-Day or Two-Day Volunteer Power Workshop.
The New Breed of Volunteer
A Volunteer Power Workshop
Thomas McKee
Recruiting and managing the 21st Century volunteers who want to do it their way

Looking for a keynote for your annual convention, or a motivational session for your volunteer leaders, or a workshop to help your volunteer leaders recruit and keep their volunteers? Many of the private sector organizations that have sponsored our presentations for conventions are not able to sponsor these events during these hard times. I know many of you are feeling these cuts.

I would love to help. I will work with your organization to make our fees affordable for you by trying to arrange engagements in the same area to cut travel costs.

If you are interested, send me the contact form with your budget and I'll see what I can do.

Tom McKee
Volunteer Power

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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