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Engage Library

Points of View

None of us involved with Engage are short of opinions. In fact, we seriously considered emblazoning the slogan "Insight with Attitude" across our masthead.  Points of View is devoted to the exchange of opinions, viewpoints, attitudes and, we hope, insight. Within it, we discuss the political, social, ethical, and managerial issues that underlie volunteering. We encourage readers to join the conversation and to share your own points of view on the topics presented.

In this Points of View, co-authors Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink readily admit that few will be sad to see the year 2020 end. But, they write, “if nothing else, the pandemic and its impacts on leaders of volunteers and volunteerism have demonstrated more than ever the power and…
October 2020
Volunteers can make the world a better place - but it behoves us to ask the question,  "Better for whom?" In this Points of View, Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink put this question front and center by challenging leaders of volunteer engagement to look at volunteering in real…
April 2020
With a nod to e-Volunteerism’s co-founder and volunteer management expert, the late Susan J. Ellis, Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink use this Points of View to present a provocative and much-debated topic: What really makes someone a skilled and effective volunteer engagement…
January 2020
Two steps forward, one step back. . . In this Points of View article called "The Volunteer Engagement Cha-Cha,"  Erin R. Spink and Rob Jackson ask some questions that every volunteer engagement professional will want answered about professional associations. Namely, what is…
October 2019
Why did the Volunteer Manager and Marketer walk into a bar together? To discuss Seth Godin's blogs of course!  In this Points of View, Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink consider the “wisdom of Seth” – namely, Seth Godin, a Hall of Fame marketer, author of several best-selling…
July 2019
In this Points of View, Erin R. Spink and Rob Jackson share their thoughts on the words and phrases that no longer serve the volunteer engagement profession – and, they argue, could actually hurt us. They also present and review new ways to communicate about the volunteer…
April 2019
The last few years have been challenging for non-profits. Fundraising and safeguarding scandals, accusations of excessive executive pay, concerns over political bias – the list of controversies has grown, negatively impacting the public’s trust and confidence in good causes.…
January 2019
Points of View authors Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink were recently inspired by a Canadian article that highlighted the coming funding shortfalls due to an escalating reliance on the services non-profits offer. In this Points of View, they take a page from this article to…
October 2018
In this month's Points of View, Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink consider the importance of "laddering" in the volunteer management profession.  Jackson and Spink define laddering as “the opportunity to report to someone more senior than you who is also a leader of volunteers.”…
July 2018
Definitions are important. But when it comes to volunteerism, a focus on the language we use can often result in a lot of navel gazing and little practical action. In this Points Of View, Rob Jackson looks at the ethical implications that can arise when we aren’t clear on the…
April 2018
The year 2017 is behind us and a shiny new year lies ahead, full of promise and potential. But before we look to the future, we should take a moment to reflect on the year past, to look back at the journey taken over the last 12 months, and consider whether that journey is…
January 2018
The Daily Mail online recently published a Reuters article, “Good job or taking work? Volunteering by asylum seekers in Italy praised and panned.” It provides an interesting outline of the pros and cons of an initiative in Italy which offers migrants from sub-Saharan Africa…
October 2017
The disappointment began with a simple question: What are the significant issues facing volunteer managers today? And when the answers mimicked the exact same responses from 10 years before, volunteer management expert and Points of View co-author Rob Jackson’s heart sank:…
July 2017
Volunteer engagement certainly encounters its fair share of mistakes and failures, which is part of life. But think about it: When was the last time you went to a conference workshop that focused on how someone failed? Don’t we most often focus instead on the successes we've…
April 2017
In this thought-provoking Points of View, Susan J. Ellis and Rob Jackson profess that they are not trying to exhort volunteer managers or instill guilt (well, maybe a tiny bit). Rather, these two volunteer leadership vanguards explain why and how a strong profession like…
January 2017
In last issue’s Points of View, we examined the purpose and potential of a National Volunteer Week. We argued that such national celebrations are not just about individual volunteer recognition, and we took a more strategic look at the purpose and value of such weeks. In this…
October 2016
Now that we’ve gone through April, May, and June, most countries have completed their annual national “Volunteer Week” to celebrate volunteers and volunteering. Unfortunately, despite good intentions, it usually feels like the only people who are aware of the celebration are…
July 2016
In this Points of View, authors Rob Jackson and Susan J. Ellis take issue with recent research on volunteering and, in a cautionary tale, argue that asking the wrong questions will ensure the wrong answers. Point by point, they review troublesome assumptions in a published…
April 2016