Category: <span>Reflecting and Learning</span>

In my volunteer value workshops, participants snap a picture of one slide more than any other: the iceberg. It seems to capture what many of us struggle to put into words. What is visible about volunteer value is small compared to all the ways that volunteers add value. The iceberg image also helps reveal the…

Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact

I just finished reading Fr. Gregory Boyle’s Barking to the Choir. The following sentence hooked me and wouldn’t let go. “We always seem to be faced with this choice: to save the world or savor it. I want to propose that savoring is better, and that when we seek to ‘save’ and ‘contribute’ and ‘give…

Equity Making the Invisible Visible Reciprocity Reflecting and Learning

Reciprocity Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Worth

Volunteer numbers. Service hours. The financial value of volunteer time. These are the figures tucked into reports on volunteerism. It’s all well and good for compliance. Yet it doesn’t tell us much about if or how volunteers had an impact on the community. Isn’t that interesting? The things we report most tell us little about…

Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact

When I taught strategic volunteer engagement, students often described their agencies’ work with volunteers as an afterthought. Sure, they involved volunteers, but there wasn’t much intention or investment in the effort. It seemed that having some volunteers in some roles was somewhat good enough. As if volunteers were just one more box to check, an…

Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning

“Organizations that invest in volunteer management capacity are more likely to attain high net benefits”. That was one of the conclusions that researchers Mark Hager and Jeff Brudney made in a 2004 study1,2 of volunteer management in nonprofits. That conclusion held true when they revisited some of those nonprofits in 20193. It sounds pretty basic,…

Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact

One of the best parts of writing a blog is finding like-minded colleagues on the other side of clicking “publish”. This year, I was delighted that some readers reached out with an email or phone call. Some wanted to dig into or question a blog topic. Others just wanted to share that it was good…

Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact

It’s been said that what gets measured gets managed. The adage is useful: the process of measurement supports goal setting and accountability. And yet, it can also fall short when it comes to things that are hard to measure or when the act of measurement is harmful or distracting. In those cases, it may be…

Making the Invisible Visible Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Retention

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

Behind every annual report touting the number of hours that volunteers serve is a host of staff harassing gently reminding those volunteers to submit their time sheets. Tracking volunteer hours inflicts pain ranging from annoyance to misery and does so across sectors and role. Volunteer Directors, Corporate Social Responsibility Managers, Service Learning Coordinators, and the…

Reflecting and Learning Volunteer Impact