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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.

Points of View is moving into new territory. For the past 12 years, I have written this quarterly essay with Steve McCurley, who recently retired. But I have no desire to change the title of this feature to “Point” of View. The plural "Points" has always mattered. So we will do…
July 2012
e-Volunteerism is now 12 years old, and their joint amazement about that fact caused Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis to look back and review what they’ve done. They write this Points of View in a somewhat anecdotal and disorderly fashion, since there are a lot of different…
April 2012
To kick off a new year and a new issue, Points of View authors Susan J. Ellis and Steve McCurley sink their editorial talons into the lack of quality academic research on volunteering, lashing out at researchers who approach volunteering as a mystery and routinely neglect to…
January 2012
Between them, Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis have about 70 years of experience in teaching volunteer management, providing training for far more than 500,000 managers of volunteer programs. In this Points of View, these well-known trainers and authors nonetheless acknowledge…
October 2011
The next time you have a few volunteer program managers together, here’s an interesting exercise question:  “How many of you have volunteers working side-by-side with you to do what’s needed for successful volunteer engagement – beyond helping with clerical work?”  When we ask…
July 2011
In March 2011, 10News in San Diego, California, ran a story with the following headline: “Habitat For Humanity Charging Local Volunteers: Group Forcing Local Volunteers To Pay Before Helping Build Homes.” The resulting controversy revealed both facts and opinions about “passing…
April 2011
The European Commission has declared 2011 to be the European Year of Volunteering (EYV), which coincides with the United Nations’ International Year of Volunteers + 10. Both organizations have created a variety of “working groups” to study and report on issues that are…
January 2011
At some point in any meeting of volunteer managers there emerges a recurring theme:“They” don’t respect us! It is raised in tones ranging from angry shouts to bemoaned cries, and is often followed by a litany of examples of neglect, misunderstanding and abuse. To whom the “they…
October 2002
In their last Points of View, Steve and Susan offered a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reaction to the current fad that suggests volunteer involvement would improve if we simply turned everything over to corporate human resources “professionals.” But in this follow-up column, the…
October 2010
e-Volunteerism’s Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis recently attended the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service, where they were deluged with what is becoming an increasingly common message: “Don’t despair. For-profit corporations and their business wisdom are…
July 2010
With this issue of e-Volunteerism, co-founders and co-publishing editors Susan J. Ellis and Steve McCurley begin their tenth year of publication. When they began this effort, both admit that they had no idea whether a venture like e-Volunteerism would succeed at all, much less…
October 2009
 “What kinds of work should volunteers do?” Volunteer program managers tend to run into this discussion in a number of different ways, often centering on the issue of whether volunteers can do some positions/work or whether only paid staff can do the work. And the usual context…
April 2010
For the last decade, we’ve watched professional associations of volunteer program managers – on local, state/provincial, national and even international levels - launch, thrive, wither, revive or stagnate in dozens of countries. Our conclusion? There is still no consistency of…
January 2010
Over the years we’ve seen an impressive array of attempts to “re-conceptualize” volunteering, at least to re-name it.  Last fall, the United States saw a flurry of special events, legislative proposals and media attention focused on the subject of “service.” It was brought to a…
July 2009
We’ve worked diligently to raise the standards of volunteer management. But we shouldn’t lose sight of some of the things that make volunteering different from paid employment, and help capture the volunteer spirit. In the past decade or so, we’ve tackled two types of…
April 2009
e-Volunteerism tends to be a pretty straightforward management journal. Despite the people-centered perspective that is at the heart of volunteerism, we don’t normally publish human interest soft stuff.  So why would we devote an entire issue to one person?  In this Points of…
January 2009
Those of us involved with volunteerism for a long time have always thought that the easiest way to ensure its future is to teach volunteering to children at a very early age. In fact, research shows that those who volunteer as children are much more likely to continue to…
October 2008
Every four years, the local organizing committee of either the summer or winter Olympics faces the challenge of recruiting and deploying thousands of volunteers in support of the massive event. And every four years, the committee seems to reinvent the system from scratch.…
July 2008
In this issue, Points of View tackles an often elusive topic that nonetheless seems always challenging to volunteer managers: how to expand an organization’s leadership and find the right volunteers for the job.  In “Trolling for Leadership,” we look at using real recruitment…
April 2008
In a crisis situation, a designated volunteer coordinator can take charge and handle the spontaneous outpouring of volunteers that typically accompanies the situation. This Points of View examines why those skilled in volunteer management can automatically tap into a proven…
January 2008