Boomer Volunteer Engagement
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Boomer Volunteer Engagement
Facilitator's Tool Kit
Published:
5/14/2010
Format:
Perfect Bound Softcover
Pages:
216
Size:
8.25x11
ISBN:
978-1-45201-537-8
Print Type:
B/W

Based on the success of the book Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow, authors Jill Friedman Fixler and Beth Steinhorn have written a new tool kit designed to help organizations engage volunteer leaders to facilitate a successful volunteer engagement initiative. This facilitator's tool kit features 28 new worksheets, including meeting agendas, position descriptions, evaluation tools, and more. Together, Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow and the new Facilitator's Tool Kit provide a straight-forward, step-by-step guide to harnessing the talents and skills of eager volunteers in your community to help your organization survive and thrive now and into the future.

Imagine a world in which your nonprofit organization has all the resources it needs to serve more clients, deliver more programs, strengthen its staff, spread its message more widely, and increase its financial stability. Envision a future in which nonprofits have a pool of talented, skilled, and passionate individuals on call to build organizational capacity by serving as consultants, strategists, marketing gurus, ambassadors, innovators, mentors, fund-raisers, and direct service teammates.

 

So began our book, Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow, which has since helped nonprofits across North America build capacity through skilled and dedicated volunteers. Since its publication in 2008, we have heard from thousands of people who have used the book with their organizations. We have worked closely with our many clients as they used Boomer Volunteer Engagement as a guide to build organizational capacity through high-impact volunteer engagement. During this time, we were inspired to help our clients take this work to the next level – by partnering with volunteers to lead strategic volunteer engagement initiatives. As a result, we compiled this Tool Kit to share the resources needed for staff and volunteers to co-facilitate such an endeavor.

 

While the world, the economy, and the nonprofit sector have undergone many changes since the publication of Boomer Volunteer Engagement, the process laid out by the book continues to work. In fact, this capacity-building model is even more relevant in challenging times. Boomer Volunteer Engagement guides nonprofits through a process of organizational change – from a traditional culture of volunteer management, in which staff drives the work of volunteers, to a culture of volunteer engagement, in which volunteers and staff partner to achieve meaningful results for the organization. As times have changed, one thing has remained constant in our work with organizations: the key to surviving and thriving through changing conditions is to continuously access the resources needed to address emerging needs. Surviving and thriving through a difficult economy or through unexpected challenges such as epidemics or disasters is about being nimble and responsive. Being entrenched in old ways does not sustain organizations through changing times; the ability to innovate in response to emerging trends sustains organizations. The facility to quickly access human capital in the form of skills, talents, and networks helps them thrive.

 

Shifting to such a culture of volunteer engagement does not happen overnight, but, if approached with intention and strategic focus, it can happen relatively quickly. The book Boomer Volunteer Engagement advocates for initiating change in small, discrete ways through a pilot project that demonstrates the power of high-impact volunteer engagement. In our work with organizations throughout North America, pilot projects were the start of a larger, organization-wide shift because change begets change. When one small pilot project is well-planned and well-executed, and when the successes of that pilot are strategically shared, momentum builds.

 

We shared this work with the California state libraries. Over a two-year period, we worked with 37 libraries to pilot initiatives using volunteers to build their libraries’ capacity to meet the growing needs of their communities. On the surface, the results are impressive: volunteers worked with library staff to develop new programs, deliver services to new audiences, improve their technologies, and create volunteer leaders who are self-directed and who build their own teams of new volunteers. On a deeper level, the impacts are nothing short of extraordinary. Their work has successfully repositioned the library as a community asset in tough economic times. As the State of California faces unprecedented budget crises, libraries that participated in these pilot programs not only have proven models for successfully utilizing broad generations of volunteers, they also have cultivated a powerful corps of volunteers who are now passionate advocates in the community, fighting for their library’s future. By welcoming innovation, they increased event and program participation, significantly deepened community partnerships, and are called upon as resources and experts by their municipalities and neighboring organizations. In short, by focusing their volunteers’ efforts in high-impact, strategic ways, they are now key players in the landscape of their communities.

 

Shifting from a traditional practice of volunteer management to an innovative culture of volunteer engagement has far-reaching benefits. Your organization will gain access to the abundant skills of multiple generations of volunteers. By strategically accessing this human capital, your team will be more nimble and better positioned to respond to any future circumstance. Your staff will have the capacity to do work that is critical and plays to their strengths, while volunteers partner to achieve other mission-based work. As an added bonus: your staff and your volunteers will enjoy their work more because they will have teammates with complementary talents, partners and allies to meet the challenges, and friends and colleagues with whom to celebrate the successes.

 

The book Boomer Volunteer Engagement details all of these reasons, plus more, for intentionally shifting from volunteer management to volunteer engagement. In this Tool Kit, we present additional tools designed to help your team pilot this change using volunteers as co-leaders of the initiative. In a volunteer engagement culture, authenticity is key. When an organization decides to implement an initiative to demonstrate the powerful potential of collaborative volunteer engagement, having a staff person and a volunteer co-lead the initiative is an important way to demonstrate that the effort is sincere. Furthermore, having a skilled volunteer partner with staff as a co-facilitator helps to share the workload and adds skills to the process. In the following modules, you will find all the tools your organization needs to cultivate volunteer and staff co-facilitators plus the tools they will need to successfully facilitate a Boomer Volunteer Engagement Initiative. By modeling the collaboration from the very start, your initiative will be poised for success. At the end of this eight-month endeavor, your organization will be stronger for tomorrow, your community will be better served today, and your staff and volunteers will find the journey along the way much more enjoyable and rewarding.

Jill Friedman Fixler is a thought leader on building organizational capacity through re-inventing, re-engineering, and re-vitalizing volunteer engagement. As Founder and President of JFFixler Group, Jill combines her skills as a consultant, trainer, facilitator, public speaker, and coach to share new volunteer engagement strategies with organizations throughout North America. Jill has more than thirty years of experience. Her nonprofit clients include health, human services, religious, government, cultural, environmental, and animal welfare organizations. She is co-author of Boomer Volunteer Engagement, Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow (with Sandie Eichberg and Gail Lorenz, CVA) and has published numerous articles on volunteer engagement strategies and Board and organizational development. Jill currently co-authors the “Innovative Volunteer Strategies” eNewsletter and the “InnoVate” Blog at www.JFFixler.com and regularly speaks at national conferences in the United States and Canada.

 

Beth Steinhorn is a Senior Strategist with JFFixler Group and led the partnership with Metro Volunteers upon which this Tool Kit was based. Beth has more than two decades of experience in nonprofit organizations, including museums, education agencies, and faith-based organizations. She has served as an executive director, marketing director, educator, and evaluator. As a JFFixler Group Senior Strategist, Beth has consulted with museums, faith-based institutions, health organizations, and social service agencies. She leads the research efforts of the firm. She was the editor and project manager of Boomer Volunteer Engagement, Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow and co-authors the “Innovative Volunteer Strategies” eNewsletter and the “InnoVate” Blog at www.JFFixler.com.

 
 


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