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

When I started out as the executive of a volunteer center, I thought volunteerism was a win-win-win for everyone involved. It seemed to offer benefits to volunteers, agency hosts, corporate partners, and the community at large. Right? Not entirely. The view up close revealed a more complex picture. In fact, I discovered a shadow side…

Adaptive Leadership Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

Making the Invisible Visible Volunteer Impact Volunteer Worth

It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day which meant two things in my corner of social media: 1) lots of Dr. King’s quotes and 2) volunteer project photos. One post broke the mold though and stopped me in my tracks. Consultant and activist Breauna Dorelus said she wasn’t interested in my favorite MLK quote. She…

Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

You know the organization. The volunteer manual is gorgeous. The volunteers are involved in a variety of roles. The CEO highlights achievements during Volunteer Month. They check all the boxes on how to engage volunteers. You also know the Volunteer Director feels like she is carrying the entire volunteer effort on her shoulders. She struggles…

Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

In his latest book, The Practice1, Seth Godin shares a distinction between comfort and hospitality, compliments of his colleague Marie Schacht. Schacht defines comfort as “reassurance, soft edges, and an elimination of tension”. Hospitality, by contrast, is “welcoming people, seeing them, and understanding what they need” (p. 53). Defining comfort as the elimination of tension…

Adaptive Leadership Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

Volunteers can be beneficial to organizations and the communities they serve. Yet, it’s hard to prove. Not that your team hasn’t tried. The volunteer hours painstakingly collected. The calculations of a financial value for volunteer time. The articles promoting the health or employee engagement benefits of volunteerism. Data about volunteers donating more money than non-volunteers.…

Holistic Leadership Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact

A colleague recently reached out with a question about volunteer demographics. His team wanted to collect them more consistently and thoughtfully. They wondered when the best time would be to ask for demographics: upfront in the application or after the volunteers were on board. Either way, they planned to make the reporting optional. I immediately…

Adaptive Leadership Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

The late volunteer management expert Susan Ellis used to tell a story about visiting a friend who engaged hospital volunteers. (We’ll call her Judy). Susan met Judy in her office before a lunch date. Judy opened the closet door to retrieve her jacket before heading out and grumbled as baby booties rained down. “What’s the…

Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

“One of the most common ways people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Alice Walker For years, the big funder in town had been bringing by wealthy donors to volunteer in the large community center. The donors often wanted to (and did) serve in the preschool. The problem was that…

Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

A little more than a year ago, many nonprofit agencies told their volunteers to stay home. This unthinkable action became reality almost overnight. Now, as we slowly emerge from a world turned upside down, nonprofit leaders are planning for what happens next and reimagining their volunteer strategies. One colleague in the throes of these decisions…

Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning