They’ll help a neighbor, plan a block party or organize a local softball game. They volunteer, but they won’t volunteer for any organization. According to the Volunteering and Civil Life in America, 2014 report, 62.5% of people living in the U.S. volunteer, but not for an organization.
Why won’t they volunteer for organizations?
The New Breed of volunteer doesn’t want to follow a volunteer manager telling them how, when, why, and with whom. They are their own own boss working like an entrepreneurial, non-paid independent contractor. No wonder slacktivism/clicktivism and episodic volunteering is growing.
But some organizations are reaching into the 62.5% — How?
Although volunteers are passionate, volunteerism requires a great deal of motivation to keep the passion alive. The 21st century new breed volunteer has a lot of distractions, and as leaders we constantly face the challenge of keeping the volunteer motivated so that they don’t switch to another cause or drop out.
So the key question is, “How do you keep the volunteer motivated?” Although it is an important question, in reality there is nothing you can do to motivate a volunteer. All volunteers are motivated, but they do things for their reasons not yours. Since motivation is an inner drive, then your role as leaders of volunteers is the following Continue reading
“If we want to have an impact—a ripple effect impact—we have to quit managing and embrace empowerment.”
In The New Breed we keep stating that empowerment is one of the most essential leadership skills to engage the 21st century volunteer. People often ask me three questions:
- Why? Why is empowerment an essential?
- Who? Do we empower all our volunteers?
- How? How do we empower volunteers and still control the outcome?
The Why—Influencer vs. manager
Why would you want to turn a bunch of empowered, independent, critical thinking, decision-making, volunteers loose in your organizations? Continue reading
Who are these people who are saying, “Just ask me and I’ll sign up”?
We are Boomers.
Why are we ready to sign up?
We were the volunteer revolutionaries of the 60’s and we are back. The word revolution comes from the Latin revolutio, to “turn around,” and we want to see a ‘turn around” in our world.
Why do we want to see a turn around? Continue reading
Charlie Brown is watching TV, and Lucy walks into the room and changes the channel to something she wants to watch. Charlie speaks up and says to Lucy, “Why do you get to watch what you want?” Lucy answers with her one hand going from a spread fingered position into a tight fist as she says, “These five fingers… individually, they’re nothing. But when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold!”
Charlie Brown walks away talking to his fingers as he asks them, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
Charlie Brown’s question is often one of the opening stories of my keynote because his question hits the core element of volunteer leadership Continue reading
Seven tips for a win/win youth volunteer service project
Global Youth Services Day is upon us (April 17-19) which brings up the question that I was recently asked in a conference, “Can you give us any hints about working with youth volunteers? It takes so much time to train them for a ‘one-shot’ event. It frankly takes more effort than it’s worth.”
This is an honest question asked out of frustration by busy directors of volunteers who are overwhelmed by recruiting, training, and coaching their hundreds of volunteers. A van load of teens are dropped off at a local food bank and the busy director has to quickly train and organize a gang of teenagers who in many cases don’t even want to be there—they are merely fulfilling a requirement.
Here are seven quick tips to make the experience a win/win Continue reading
If you live in Texas or western New York, I will be presenting the challenge and opportunity of engaging a whole new breed of volunteers who are changing how we recruit and empower volunteers.
- Tyler, Texas — April 16
- Buffalo/Albany Area, New York — April 22
I just can’t find any volunteers for this position. That was the bewildered statement a director of volunteers made to Rick Lynch. Rick responded to her problem with a question many recruiters of volunteers fail to ask—and the question is brilliant. He asked her, “Who would want to do that?”
This director of volunteers was looking for someone to escort children to school. Sounds easy until you saw the neighborhood that these children had to walk though to get to school. No one would want to walk through that neighborhood, let alone children Continue reading
My son Jonathan (co-author of The New Breed) and I just spent nine days in Kampala, Uganda, training leaders from the university, youth organizations and churches on how to engage volunteers. These leaders were full of hope and passion, and they had great questions.
One of the questions stumped me at first, but then it turned out to be a valuable learning experience for me as well as the class. I had just talked about how one of the seven deadly sins of recruiting is to assume that “no” means “no.” I had asked what “no” often means and expected answers such as “not now,” or “not this position,” or “not with the present leadership.” But I wasn’t expecting this answer. One of the leaders said Continue reading