Category: <span>Making the Invisible Visible</span>

The scene… A volunteer administrator puts the finishing touches on his budget for the year. He is excited about the ways this funding will enable volunteers to advance the organization’s mission in meaningful ways and support paid staff in engaging those volunteers well. The budget is higher than in past years but still modest compared…

Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact

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…

Equity Making the Invisible Visible Volunteer Impact Volunteer Worth

“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…

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…

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…

Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning Uncategorized

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…

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…

Equity Holistic Leadership Making the Invisible Visible Reciprocity Reflecting and Learning

One of my research aims has been to figure out how to measure volunteer impact. It seemed that if we could identify the “right” volunteer metrics, then nonprofit leaders could justify investing in volunteerism. It hasn’t turn out the way I expected. First, I discovered how much language mattered. Every time I facilitated a session…

Making the Invisible Visible Volunteer Impact

Disasters have a way of showing us the tensions that lie just under the surface of our pretenses. In the U.S., that shows up as an espoused belief in community and communal ideals even as we celebrate rugged individualism and bootstrapping, rags-to-riches successes. We are especially conflicted about volunteering because it holds an inherent cognitive…

Making the Invisible Visible Reciprocity