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Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 90
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. Resource: Volunteer Facts That You Can Use in Your Next Newsletter
Featured Article: Recruiting and Managing Teenage Volunteers
Recruiting and Managing Teenage Volunteers
Part II

Last month I voiced three concerns in Part I of Recruiting and Managing Teenage Volunteers.

  1. Do I even want a bunch of teenage volunteers?
  2. Can the Glee promotion really help me find volunteers?
  3. What do I do with teenage volunteers after I get them?
If you didn't read my article on the first two questions, read my case for taking advantage of the current Glee volunteer recruiting campaign in last month's Ezine. The Glee campaign, "Some People Want to Do Good," is creative and demonstrates the current trend in volunteerism. But once we recruit teenage volunteers, we must answer the third question:

What do we do with them after we get them?

To make the experience positive for the volunteer manager, the organization, and the teenager take these three action steps very seriously. Before we look at them, let's review-who are the millennials? I am interchanging the terms millennials, Gen Y and teenagers (we call them Gen@ in our book The New Breed). The millennials are the 68 million people born between 1982 and 1994. Since a person born in 1994 is 16 years old and considered the youngest millennial, for our purposes I am going to catagorize all high school students millennials (although technically most freshman and sophomores are a couple of years younger than millennials). And to make it easier in most of my workshops, this past year I have designated the under 30 crowd-29 and younger-millennials.

First: We must believe in them. Quit thinking of them as entitled, self-centered slackers who are a pain in the butt.

The Urban Dictionary (UD) has a new word to describe millennials. The term is Slackoisie, prounounced "Slack-wah-zee". This term was coined by J. Daniel Hull, Esq., author of the "What About Clients?" blawg, and popularized by Scott H. Greenfield, Esq., author of the "Simple Justice" blawg. As you read their definition, recognize that it is written from the viewpoint of a lawyer.

1) a class of narcissistic young professionals, particularly attorneys (usually Gen Y/millennials), who believe that having a job is an entitlement, rather than a privilege. They often complain about the work they have (if working), opine the lack of "real lawyer" jobs available in the market, and are critical of the long hours and inadequate pay found at most small firms. They believe they are entitled to work/life balance, that their opinions on any subject are inherently important and that whatever benefits they enjoy are inadequate. The Slackoisie are more interested in having a place to go in the morning and some spending money than committing themselves to their clients and the profession; or

2) a slacker with an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement.

3) Anyone with a graduate degree who lives in their parents basement and is unemployed because they cannot find an employer who "appreciates their uniqueness" or demands that they actually produce quality work before being given a raise, the corner office and a convertible sports car.

As I read the above descriptions, I am reminded of my generation-the teenagers of the 50's. The press, church, and entertainment industry didn't have a lot of praise for us. Do you remember Rebel Without a Cause or the uproar over Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan show? Or some of you joined the long-haired hippies of the sixties, the mopped-headed Beatles, and experienced the summer of love. Or remember the first earrings on guys in the 80's and the tattoos of the 90s? It seems that every generation has been bent on somehow outdoing the previous generation. Every generation loves to push the envelope and create new trends.

But through it all I am thankful that I had adult coaches, teachers and youth volunteers who didn't write me off even though I often thought they were out of touch, old, redundant, and ready to be put out to pasture. Just as I had people who believed in me, I need to believe in our youth. I must not write this generation off. Although I am very optimistic about this generation, I am also aware that they, along with every other generation before them, will not always follow the expectations of their elders.

The key question is not just how far this generation is pushing the envelope, but, how can you manage the whole new group of young volunteers who are willing and excited to help you make a difference? The first action step is to be willing to step up to the challenge and accept millennials as valuable volunteers.

Second: Ask the important question-Do you have a millennial-friendly volunteer culture?

Ask these questions about yourself and your organization to see if you're really "millennial" friendly. Answer each of these questions with a "yes" or "no."

  1. Are you mission driven? Don't tell this young generation, "Please do this job and have it done by Friday." Instead, say, "What can you do to help us accomplish our mission?" Get to know them as individuals and listen to their input. Focus on desired outcomes and turn them loose.

  2. Are you a coach to these young individuals? Be a coach-not a traditional manager. A coach challenges volunteers to do their best, yet nurtures individuals and encourages them to reach their full potential. And reaching potential involves decision making.

  3. Do you involve this young generation in decision making? They want to be a part of the team in making decisions. Make sure you ask teenagers what they liked about the project. Did they see any way to improve?

  4. Do you use Web 2.0 for your meetings and communication (www.wetpaint.com, Facebook, twitter)? This young generation doesn't want to waste their time in long meetings and endless discussions.

  5. Does your group practice diversity (ethnic, gender, generational) in recruiting, promoting, hiring, and seeking leadership? This young generation ignores gender and racial biases and works with anyone who can help them accomplish common goals.
As you answer these questions to evaluate your volunteer culture, make the changes so that you can take advantage of the community service requirements that many schools require. This young generation puts in hundreds of hours of volunteering by the time they graduate from high school and/or college. Do you have opportunities where in addition to serving, they are inspired by your organization? The second action step to make sure your volunteer culture is millennial friendly.

Third: Provide opportunities for adult mentorship

Last week my son Jonathan and I were in Wichita, KS teaching a Volunteer Power workshop. After the session, Todd Hutchison, Student Ministry Pastor of Westlink Christian Church, invited us out for coffee to debrief the session and ask some very specific questions about keeping the passion alive with volunteers. When I asked Todd if he used high school volunteers, he began to describe the many ways the kids in his church get involved in volunteerism. His high school group of over 250 kids is divided into small groups of around 25 kids, each with three adult volunteer leaders. Many of those groups volunteer for community projecst. One group took on the project of collecting 500 coats for needy kids for Christmas. The kids worked as a team and contacted businesses, schools, and organizations to set up boxes to collect the coats. One adult volunteered her barn-remember we were in Kansas-to keep the coats until delivery time.

What I loved about this example was the impact of three adults coaching 25 kids to work together in meeting a community need. Today many youth groups-churches, scouts, clubs, and sports teams that already have adult leadership--are getting involved in projects. Why not invite them to one of your projects?

Leadership Feature: Some Facts You Can Use In Your Next Newsletter
Volunteering (is Good for Us!)

According to a survey reported in the September 2010 issue of Success Magazine, of people who volunteer:

73% say it lowers their stress level
92% say it enriches their sense of purpose in life
68% say it makes them feel physically healthier
88% say it provides networking/career development opportunities

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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