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Engage Library

Ahead of the Curve

Ahead the Curve, introduced in the October 2020 issue, explores how technology is shaping contemporary volunteer engagement and how it will shape the field in the future.

Those who doubt the value volunteers provide are the Yin to the Yang we share in our dedication to the practice of Volunteer Management. They say, “How do you support the idea that community service has an economic value? Your evidence is fluff!” We say, “Human capital is a…
January 2024
Few topics have been surrounded in contemporary tech lore as much as “The Blockchain.” At the same time, it’s something of a sleeper phenomenon. An author by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper in 2008 that many cite as the blueprint for blockchain technology and…
October 2023
 “Who explores, implements, accesses, maintains and improves technology in our organization, and under what circumstances?” If you haven’t already asked this question, it's time to do so. Maybe you have an Information Technology (IT) practice, or maybe no one’s job description…
July 2023
Engage author Sam Fankuchen previously reviewed the use of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool called ChatGBT in the field of Volunteer Engagement. Now, in this new Ahead of the Curve, Fankuchen taps his considerable AI expertise to provide additional information about the…
April 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
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
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
As Volunteer Engagement Managers, we are in the business of recruiting outsiders and engaging them to their full potential. Though it’s difficult for us to admit, fundamental tenets of our approaches often introduce bias to framing opportunities, defining the audiences we intend…
April 2022
If you’ve ever been in the market for software and your organization has an IT person, there’s a good chance you’ve been advised to “pick something with integrations.” That’s because software integrations aren’t just a nice-to-have feature – they’re your silent assistants. Why?…
January 2022
Digitally-enabled volunteer management is not simply volunteer coordination. Rather, it is the experience of facilitating the relationship between the volunteer and the organization, initially and over the lifetime of engagement. It's important to note that designing and…
October 2021
We are living through the democratization of impact data and impact analysis. Once the reserve of elite, institutional philanthropy, new tools and data are enabling a much wider swath of nonprofits to credibly demonstrate their mission impact to stakeholders, including donors …
July 2021
Editor's Note:  Due to unfortunate circumstances, this issue's Ahead of the Curve on "End-to-End Impact: Crediting Volunteers with the Differences They Make" has been delayed but will appear in our July - September issue. In its place, we revisit a story on volunteer management…
April 2021
Question: How much time would you save if you no longer manually sourced, screened, scheduled, tracked, analyzed, reported on and reached out to re-engage your volunteers and their contacts?Answer: Though most of our peers wouldn't admit it, you'd probably reclaim 20 percent to…
January 2021
For decades, running a strong volunteer program meant clearly defining roles and responsibilities, sourcing the right volunteers and managing consistent project delivery. Today, the same considerations remain true, but the practices of delivering them in a modern setting have…
October 2020