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Engage Library

A chance encounter with volunteering legend Susan J. Ellis–in a New York City hotel lobby during the 1997 Points of Light conference–sets the stage for the start of this three-part series on “Digital Care Circles: The  Future in Volunteering?” In this feature series, author…
January 2023
There has not been a time since the World Wars where it seems the global population is facing such upheaval, so many demands and layers of losses. It seems like people are reaching the end of their tethers. Or, as J.R.R. Tolkien famously wrote, they feel "thin, sort of stretched…
January 2023
Q4 of 2022 was a seminal moment for artificial intelligence. Indeed, this was the quarter when the conversation about AI shifted from hypothetical questions and defined capabilities to a mass-market, free and commercial product offering. This is when we met ChatGPT.  ChatGPT is…
January 2023
Volunteering is usually about people, but what impact and ethical considerations are there for volunteerism as artificial intelligence and robots become more embedded in everyday life? For answers, dive into this Ethics column, "How AI and Robots are Revolutionizing Volunteerism…
January 2023
While recently donating blood, Adam Janes, CVA, started making comparisons between the funding and infrastructure afforded to the Canadian Blood Service verses the volunteerism sector. And that’s when the questions started. In this feature story, Janes seeks answers to determine…
January 2023
Schools, corporations and volunteer centers all send individuals and groups to perform volunteer service. In doing so, they have control over who is included and excluded in these activities. Encouraging volunteer-sending organizations to pay more attention to underrepresented…
January 2023
The volunteering sector has been through a challenging period in the past few years, and student volunteering in the UK has been no different. Volunteering services at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) dealt with a specific set of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,…
January 2023
For the past five years, the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA) has conducted research and education on race equity in volunteerism. Through funding from the Minneapolis Foundation, MAVA was able to convene the necessary voices – over 40 community members and…
October 2022
There is a long tradition in Volunteer Engagement of focusing on the things we want, the things we feel we don’t have. Whether it’s more power, resources or respect, we give an inordinate amount of our time, dialogue and effort as a profession to the things we perceive we lack.…
October 2022
The research highlighted in this Research to Practice explores age and episodic volunteers. Are individuals in different age groups motivated to volunteer for episodic events for different reasons? Do they experience their volunteering differently? Do they assess their…
October 2022
In Voices, Thu-Trang Tran, the CEO of Volunteer West, takes a step back from the dynamics of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) that is reverberating today throughout the volunteering sector. Through her helicopter view of volunteering as a part of the…
October 2022
As we wind down towards the end of 2022, join Ethics Editors Erin McLean and Erin R. Spink as they reflect on the headlines that brought ethical dilemmas in Volunteer Engagement into the forefront during the past 12 months. The final Ethics column for the year will review these…
October 2022
Every volunteer is a special snowflake – and that's a good thing! Individual perspectives help us find more human solutions to outstanding needs, and knowing the unique powers of each volunteer would ideally enable us to be the best versions of our programs. In the past, we…
October 2022
As Leaders of Volunteer Engagement, we seek to make a difference to the agencies we work in and the communities we serve by recruiting community members to volunteer and make a difference. While we would like to believe we use processes that are equitable in making decisions…
October 2022
Two and a half years after the emergence of COVID-19, the world has changed in many ways. Some things about today’s life would have been completely unimaginable in December 2019. To assume that volunteering is immune from this massive wave of change would be naive at best and…
July 2022
Is there a new energy emerging in volunteering? And if so, why are these things happening now? Points of View authors Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink charge right into these questions with a nod to an array of initiatives from England, Scotland and Australia that all point to a…
July 2022
In recent years, 70 percent of employees said they need to work at a company that offers giving and volunteering opportunities, yet only 10 percent of employees who worked at such companies participated in these programs. And in 2020, as we all know, a pandemic struck and the…
July 2022
While Points of View argues that a new energy is emerging in volunteering, the picture isn’t so clear to Holly Daniels of MAVA (Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement). In this Engage feature, Daniels taps into her daily connections with Volunteer Engagement Leaders to…
July 2022
The term “firing volunteers” can be a loaded one and create challenging ethical dilemmas for Leaders of Volunteers. Many say that their biggest challenge is dealing with “difficult volunteers” and that they are not comfortable in situations related to dismissing them. This…
July 2022
In this Research to Practice, Laurie Mook looks at a new way of viewing the role of volunteer programs, that of a ‘third place.’ While our lives are often looked at as being divided between home (‘first place’) and work (‘second place’), urban sociology now proposes a ‘third…
July 2022