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Susan J Ellis's blog

Volunteering England Shares Its Wealth

on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 14:59

Volunteering England has just announced the launch of its new Employer Supported Volunteering Resource Hub, an outgrowth of work done last year for a European Year of Volunteering project.   This site has all sorts of resources for employers wanting to sponsor employee volunteering and for volunteer-involving organizations receiving those business volunteers.   They have posted free practical guides and tookits to implement or develop an ESV program.  Good stuff!  (And applicable wherever you are.)

We All Need a Laugh

on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 19:24

As serious as our work is, it is also frequently very funny.  So why is it so hard to find witty stories, cartoons, and other forms of humor focused on life in nonprofits, government, and volunteer management? 

Energize has been finding links to humor and sharing funny stories from our site visitors for years and we can always count on board development expert Carol Weisman to make us laugh with her great newsletter, but we all now have a really wonderful, regular humor resource!

February Hot Topic: Volunteering Is Inherently Political

on Tue, 01/31/2012 - 22:03

The United States is at the start of a contentious presidential election year in which candidates with widely differing views each attract thousands of volunteers. We see election volunteering as a political act but any type of volunteering is inherently “political.” What does this mean for your organization?

Volunteering by Migrants: One Step toward Social Inclusion

on Thu, 01/19/2012 - 21:55

Increased migration – by choice or by force – throughout Europe has created economic and social concerns in many countries.  Last year, through the impetus of the European Year of Volunteering, Portuguese academic Henrique Pinto invited a range of scholars and practitioners to write articles about the connection of volunteering and migration for a special theme issue of Migrações Journal, “Migrantes e Voluntariado.”  It was published in December 2011 with half the chapters in Portuguese and half in English.

Are You Putting Volunteers in Harm’s Way?

on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 21:58

The U.S. Peace Corps announced in late December that they would be suspending volunteer efforts in Honduras and other countries because of increased security concerns.  It’s not uncommon to hear reports from organizations such as the Peace Corps that they must place the safety of their volunteers above program service goals.  

January Hot Topic: What Would the Perfect Volunteer-Involving Organization Look Like?

on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 00:00

What would your organization look like if it practiced everything we preach about creative, welcoming, and effective volunteer management? If we cannot picture the results of our efforts – and like/want the future we envision – we won’t be motivated to do the work necessary. Start the new year by looking ahead with aspirations and resolutions.  This hot topic is available at:

The “Spark Plug Theory” of Volunteer Recruitment

on Thu, 12/29/2011 - 16:08

It’s always fun to apply theories from one field to a completely different one.  In an online Bloomberg Businessweek article, "The Spark Plug Theory of Marketing,"  author Steve McKee notes that many business ads fail because “companies cram too much into them trying to make their case, or expect that they can open and close the sale in one fell swoop. The best advertising is like a spark plug that leaves a small gap for the audience to fill in for themselves . . .

Volunteer Journalists Capture Recent European Volunteer Centre Conference

on Fri, 12/09/2011 - 21:15

On October 19-21, the European Volunteer Centre (CEV) sponsored a symposium in Berlin on "Volunteering and Active Citizenship: Two Sides of the Same Coin?"  I had the opportunity to participate in this event which was being videotaped by a team of volunteer journalists. The director and editor, Brian Christopher Griffin, just let me know that two videos have been posted to YouTube.

December Hot Topic: My Personal “State of the World's Volunteering” Report

on Fri, 12/02/2011 - 00:09

To close IYV+10, United Nations Volunteers is set to issue its State of the World's Volunteering Report. In this spirit of celebration and reflection, Susan looks back at all that has happened professionally in our field – things we have done or were done to us – and asks for your retrospectives, too.   This hot topic is available at:

“Making a Noise” – Free Online Seminar closing the European Year of Volunteering 2011

on Tue, 11/29/2011 - 15:36

Volunteer Centre Warrington is an active resource for leaders of volunteers in the UK.  As part of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV), they have been delivering a series of free online training sessions which will wrap up on December 8th  with “Making a Noise: What volunteer managers need from leaders and decision makers.”