Volunteer Commons Posts

I’ve been wanting to write about right relationship for some time. It keeps surfacing in what I am reading and journaling, but I have struggled to sort it out in a blog. It seemed like an appropriate time to remember this blog is a sandbox for experimentation and community conversation. One of the stumbling blocks…

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Equity Holistic Leadership Reciprocity Reflecting and Learning

In a 2018 article, nonprofit leader Jan Masaoka called the nonprofit sector to task. She named the growing professionalization of the sector and its reliance on consultants as a step away from nonprofit roots in activism and the causes that drive it. This shift has led to increasing “sophistication” in nonprofit operations, with paid professionals more…

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Equity Making the Invisible Visible Volunteer Impact Volunteer Worth

It is easy to feel overwhelmed. Problems seem so big, and our hands and voices seem so small. Yet, there is something powerful about putting our hands to work in a meaningful way. There is something encouraging about discovering voices who are drawn to work that calls us too. It is a gift to have…

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Holistic Leadership Uncategorized

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” -Author unknown I’ve always liked this quote, but my experience is that volunteers are a pretty homogeneous group in many organizations. Perhaps volunteerism…

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Equity Making the Invisible Visible

I often begin workshops on volunteer engagement asking people about their volunteerism and what was meaningful about it. Not once has anyone said that what was most meaningful about their volunteer work was serving 104 hours. Conversely, as a former nonprofit executive, I am keenly aware that organizations need to demonstrate effectiveness. Yet when we…

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Making the Invisible Visible Volunteer Worth

Preparations for a course on Volunteer Engagement have me thinking about how we apply diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles to volunteerism in meaningful ways. What does DEI look like in volunteer engagement – from design to implementation? How do we invest in volunteerism so that it provides a bridge from the community into the…

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Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning Uncategorized

I think a lot about the relationship between volunteerism and community. It is easy to see volunteerism as an extension of community. But sometimes I wonder if we need volunteerism because we have a deficit of community. Or that volunteerism is a way that we outsource community to institutions like nonprofits or government agencies. It…

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Uncategorized

In June, I wrote a blog about the dangers of centering the service experience primarily on volunteers while the client, staff, and organizational needs took a back seat. The question of who we center in volunteerism has stuck with me (thanks to Vu Le’s post on who we center in fundraising). It got me thinking…

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Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact Volunteer Worth

After a keynote addressing equity in nonprofit organizations, an attendee asked for data to demonstrate the ROI of equity. She wanted to know if nonprofit equity investments work. The answer: there isn’t much data on what works. Maybe that is not the right question though. Perhaps we are looking for the wrong data to justify…

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Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

In his recent blog, nonprofit leader Vu Le wondered if nonprofits and philanthropy have become the “white moderates” that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned about in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Le called out fundraising philosophies and practices “centered entirely on making donors who are mostly white feel good about themselves” as one…

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Equity Holistic Leadership Making the Invisible Visible Reciprocity Reflecting and Learning