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!
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?
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.
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.
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: http://www.energizeinc.com/hot/2012/12jan.php
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 . . .
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.
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: http://www.energizeinc.com/hot/2011/11dec.php
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 8thwith “Making a Noise: What volunteer managers need from leaders and decision makers.”
Emergen (http://emergen.com.au) is an online community for "emerging young leaders" in Australia, made up of over 1000 professionals aged 20-35. Along with online and in-person learning opportunities, it provides participants "the opportunity to develop their professional brand and reputation. Members can do this through blogging, being interviewed for Emergen TV or participating in our Awards program." They even provide Bloggers Training online.
One of Emergen’s projects is "Blogging for a Cause Ebooks," the latest of which is a Tribute to the International Year of the Volunteer. This 60-page, graphically elegant document (using the issuu publishing platform) offers first-person accounts of different volunteer experiences, as expressed by volunteer bloggers. The contributors are diverse in all sorts of ways: culturally, ethnically, degree of involvement in volunteer work, and the types of causes they support.
The essays even tackle negative perceptions and controversies about