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News in the Volunteer Field Blog

July Hot Topic: Is Volunteering the Emperor’s New Clothes?

on Mon, 07/02/2012 - 15:37

It seems that many corporations and national organizations want to “wear” volunteerism…for only a moment. Vague new initiatives launch with glitz, but ultimately have very little impact on any of the important community work that needs to be done. Why is volunteerism up for sale and up for grabs? Shouldn’t high-profile volunteer promotions be held accountable by someone?

Still Time to Join the Free Webinar Broadcast on "It takes a Whole Organisation"

on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:02

Join us from anywhere in the world for a live webinar on Wednesday, July 4th out of Warrington, England. It's all sponsored by Warrington Voluntary Action, one of the most forward-thinking volunteer centers anywhere.

New “Roadmap” for Partnering with Highly Skilled Volunteers

on Mon, 06/25/2012 - 20:11

Many of our colleagues in volunteer management are using various online forums to recap their experiences at the just-ended 2012 National Conference on Volunteering and Service. One of our conference “takeaways” was learning about a new online tool for organizations to prepare themselves to involve highly skilled volunteers more effectively.

New Micro-Volunteering Initiatives: From the Newest Modes of Communication to the Oldest Treasures of Antiquity

on Tue, 06/12/2012 - 18:42

As social technologies evolve, more and more people use mobile media in new and creative ways in volunteering.  This has become most obvious in the recent development of micro-volunteering.  Micro-volunteering allows people to contribute to projects remotely, from their computers or their smart phones, in small, but nevertheless significant ways. Here are some recently launched micro-volunteering initiatives.

Orchids, Smiling Strangers, and Sleeping Students: Volunteer Life in Singapore

on Wed, 06/06/2012 - 20:19

I recently had the privilege of spending an intensive four days with volunteerism colleagues in Singapore (my fifth visit since 2001) on behalf of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVCP) there.  Singapore is a small country, but amazingly multicultural and multi-lingual.  Over the last decade, NVCP has focused on encouraging more intentional giving of time and money in both formal and informal ways.  I learned about many interesting things during my most recent stay, and want to share three of them here.

June Hot Topic: Why Do We Love Volunteer Satisfaction Surveys?

on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 14:21

In any discussion of evaluating volunteer services, someone inevitably will point to the results of a “volunteer satisfaction survey” as ostensible evidence that things are going well. How did we arrive at this particular method of assessing success with volunteers? Do such surveys reveal anything meaningful about the value of volunteer contributions? What might tell us more?

Extending Volunteer Expiration Dates

on Tue, 05/29/2012 - 17:09

Anyone who leads volunteers has had this experience: an enthusiastic volunteer arrives, plugs in, provides consistent and thorough service, becomes central to your organization, and then one day, leaves.  This can leave a volunteer manager both perplexed and dismayed.  “What did I do wrong?  Did I not show enough appreciation? Did I not challenge them enough? Or provide them with enough responsibility?”

Gathering More than Notes from Your Professional Conference

on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 16:38

Many in the volunteerism world in the U.S. (along with some international colleagues) are preparing for the annual National Conference on Volunteering and Service this June. It got Energize thinking about the best way to get the most out of attending conferences for professional development.  Here are some ideas from Energize President Susan J. Ellis for taking a conference above and beyond sitting in workshops and taking notes. 

Long-time, Dependable Journal of Extension Free to All

on Fri, 05/11/2012 - 18:36


We are generally primed to get excited by things that are new. But it's important to remember that traditional materials can remain useful, even vibrant. One great example is the Journal of Extension (JOE), the official refereed journal of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System (which includes 4-H, Master Gardeners, nutrition advisors and other volunteer-centered programs). As of June 1994, JOE has been published exclusively on the World Wide Web at And the full contents are accessible to any site visitor at no charge.

Voluntourism and Services to Children: Important Questions Raised

on Thu, 05/03/2012 - 19:25

Voluntourism, also known as volunteer vacationing, gives people the opportunity to travel for leisure and pleasure and volunteer in the countries they visit. Ideally, the vacationer gives meaningful service in return for getting the chance to meet local people in a personal way. A great place to learn more about all of this is, which has consistently advocated for the highest quality of service while genuinely doing good.