30 January: As we’ve said before, volunteers are always the silver lining in the cloud of disaster. The extraordinary flooding in several areas of Australia in the last few weeks, particularly in Queensland, re-emphasizes how a true emergency compels citizens to volunteer. You can read many stories about the flood response, but one personal blog captures the spirit really well. In “My thoughts on the Mud Army,” the female blogger (no name provided) shares her experiences on the front lines and also in instigating a t-shirt campaign that went viral.
It being Australia – where they seem to be willing to talk openly about philosophy and principles – the volunteer effort also elicited some reflection, A report aired last week by the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) opened with these words:
They are known as the "mud army". The volunteers that turned out to help clean-up the flood affected areas of Queensland have been widely lauded for their generosity of spirit.
23 January: A new national survey released last week by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that 75% of all American adults are active in some kind of voluntary group or organization and Internet users are more likely than others to be active. “The Social Side of the Internet” reports that 80% of Internet users participate in groups, compared with 56% of non-Internet users. Moreover, social media users are even more likely to be active: 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users are group participants.
Breaking the stereotype of loner Web surfers, 80% of Web users surveyed volunteer, vs. 56% of those who don't go online, the report said. It said 85% of Twitter users are active volunteers. Of those respondents active in groups, 48% had a page on a social-networking site, while 30% had their own blog and 16% communicated with other group members via Twitter.
One of the concerns we hear most often from volunteer managers is – “I just don’t have the time!” … for exploring new technologies, developing positions for highly-skilled volunteers, professional development, and the list goes on. If you feel this way, Time-tastic! Time Management for Nonprofit Leaders might be able to help.
As author Karen Eber Davis states in the introduction:
Today’s market offers an array of time management advice…Why add another time management book? Well, time management is different in the nonprofit world for a number of reasons, including high expectations for relationships, stewardship issues, and the general scarcity of resources. Not only is time management different, it is more critical and often requires more skills.
We’re excerpting three of our favorite tips here for blog readers. To learn more about the book and get more time management advice for nonprofit leaders, visit www.kedconsult.com
Exercise No Save time by saying “no” to tasks before
In its weekly Briefing, Youth Service America (www.ysa.org) notes: "Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his life to the work of building a more just and equal society. While we have made great progress, we still have work to do to realize Dr. King's dream. As Americans, that is a job for all of us – not just on MLK Day but throughout the year. To mark the 25th anniversary of the King holiday, and to encourage ongoing service throughout the year, [the Corporation for National and Community Service] will be launching the MLK 25 Challenge next week. It's a call to all Americans to honor Dr. King by pledging to take at least 25 actions during 2011 to make a difference for others and strengthen our communities. Stay tuned for the launch on www.MLKDay.gov, which will include a list of 100 ways for you to get started!"
9 January: In an impressive show of government communication, the British Cabinet Office has released what is called the “Giving Green Paper” through a Web page that also offers seven accompanying essays solicited to add to the discussion. Go to http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/giving-green-paper to download all the items and see for yourself the way they are presented. It is introduced as:
The Giving Green Paper sets out the Government’s initial ideas for building a stronger culture of giving time and money to start a national debate on our society’s attitude to giving. This is not a conventional green paper. We want it to embody a collective approach to building culture change so it is written from a variety of perspectives. In addition to our own proposals and announcements, we have highlighted many ideas from outside of government.