Why is it that volunteer involvement and management is rarely given the same amount of attention that non-profit leaders give to fundraising and programs? Let’s be honest. What most leaders do is give a kindly pat-on-the-head to volunteers and the staff who manage them. But what if we considered volunteers as the brains of the organization who are fully capable of supporting all managers and fulfilling the mission of the organization? My guests this week make a compelling case for being as strategic about volunteerism as you are about other management issues.
My first guest is Susan J. Ellis, the president of Energize, Inc., which is a training, consulting, and publishing firm that specializes in volunteerism. She founded the Philadelphia-based company in 1977 and since that time, has assisted clients throughout the world. Susan is the author of 12 books, including From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement.
My second guest is Nikki Russell, volunteer initiatives manager at the United Way of King County, which serves the Seattle, Washington area. She has developed workshops and trainings for local nonprofits and in particular, Nikki inspired and influenced the development of her agency’s Volunteer Impact Program (VIP). It’s a free program that is designed to strengthen local non-profits’ ability to deliver services through effective volunteer involvement. You’ll be amazed by the increases the nonprofits have experienced in volunteerism after going through the VIP in-depth assessment and planning process. The assessment, by the way, was created by my first guest, Susan Ellis.