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Engage Library

Feature Articles

Our feature articles are sourced from practitioners around the globe and seek to encourage new thinking, highlight innovative practice and stimulate debate in the world of effective volunteer engagement.

  “Just a volunteer…” How often do you hear these words spoken at your organization? The implication that these three words indicate a lack of ability, lack of trust or lack of accountability is worrying. We all know, after all, that volunteer indicates a pay category, not a…
July 2021
When volunteer engagement relies on practices borrowed from business for paid staff, we can lose the relationships and purpose that are fundamental to success. Adopting a concept known as “radical welcome” as a guiding principle offers an antidote that reconnects us with…
July 2021
The proposal of a universal basic income (UBI) – the provision of unconditional cash payments to all citizens of a given society – is neither new nor unproblematic. The idea has, however, enjoyed a wave of renewed interest in the wake of the pandemic and its social and economic…
April 2021
There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused seismic shifts in the volunteer landscape. Organisations have had to re-evaluate how they involve volunteers, often dramatically accelerating the pace of progress. In many cases, long-held attachments to formal volunteer…
April 2021
It’s a fact: 70 percent of volunteerism throughout the world is done by passionate individuals who wish to serve others and do so outside the framework of an organization or other entity. And during the COVID-19 pandemic – when organizational volunteerism is being reduced or…
January 2021
Volunteer management professionals have been fighting for years to be recognized for their occupation, the work they do and the potential it holds. This journey contains key questions: What do we want? What has been accomplished? What have we yet to accomplish? What will…
January 2021
Have you ever wondered what it's like to consult in the volunteer engagement space? Perhaps you have even considered exploring it as a career? In this feature article, volunteer engagement consultant and change management expert Christine Stankowski looks at the benefits and…
October 2020
In life, sometimes we know when we are ready for something and sometimes we don’t. So much of life, it can be argued, is knowing things in hindsight. In this Engage feature, Adam Janes explores how nonprofit professionals knew we weren’t ready for something as disruptive at…
October 2020
Susan J. Ellis was more than a passionate advocate for the change that great volunteering could make, and more than a passionate voice for the influence that Volunteer Engagement professionals could make while forging that change. She ‘walked the walk’ and ‘talked the talk.’ She…
July 2020
This special issue devoted to e-Volunteerism’s Co-Founder Susan J. Ellis begins with a feature by Rob Jackson, the Journal’s new Editor-in-Chief. In this article, Jackson reflects on the legacy of Ellis and her life’s work, including how and why she started the profession’s…
July 2020
"Social prescribing" is a means for tackling poor health without, or alongside, prescribing  pharmaceutical drugs. Schemes for social prescribing cover a wide array of activities and programmes, ranging from physical activities such as dance classes through culture programmes…
April 2020
Reimbursing volunteers – a contradiction in terms or an evolving strategy? In search of clarity, a team at Colorado’s Community Resource Center (CRC) started digging into an issue that has clearly emerged as a critical and lingering one in the volunteering field. These team…
April 2020
Do you ever feel like you’re treading water in this vast volunteer management ocean? Struggling against perceptions of what you do that simply don’t match the reality? As Meridian Swift writes, “I know I did. It took getting out and drying off to uncover what was missing in…
January 2020
Much that’s been said about the motivations and outcomes of skills based volunteering (SBV) has been written from the corporation’s perspective. We know less about what motivates or what it takes to engage a SBV program from a nonprofit point of view. In this e-Volunteerism…
January 2020
In this e-Volunteerism feature, the story of volunteers at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo shows how and why your organization can empower volunteers to help tell your story. As writer Karie Hajek explains, volunteers are often referred to as the “heart” of an organization and…
January 2020
Although hundreds of thousands of people volunteer with the National Park Service each year, the agency has been slow to engage volunteers in emergency management. In this feature story by Francis Shawn Bawden, who worked for the NPS for nine years, the lessons learned at…
October 2019