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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.

Volunteers make great volunteer managers, but their value in these roles isn’t always recognised. This feature article by Tom Freeland explores the benefits that ‘volunteer’ volunteer managers or ‘lead’ volunteers can bring to an organization. He also explores the fears an…
January 2019
The devastating impacts of hurricanes and floodwaters are well known throughout the world, including nearly every region of the United States. In September 2013, a catastrophic amount of flooding besieged Boulder, Colorado, when almost a year’s amount of rain fell in just a…
October 2018
Managing volunteer programs can be a whirlwind of risk management, policies, and procedures, with mounds of credentialing and more red tape than we’d like to admit. Jumping through hoops can become a necessary skill for volunteers to meet all of the criteria required to…
January 2019
After more than 30 years of working directly in a variety of volunteer leadership roles, Andy Fryar now works with volunteer involving organisations to assist them in establishing cloud-based software solutions. Along the way, Fryar has come to recognise that many volunteer…
July 2018
Volunteer Engagement Professionals (VEPs) commonly feel underpaid and undervalued and believe that their work is misunderstood. In times like these, they often turn to organizations like the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) for support, education, and…
July 2018
When human beings have new experiences, new synaptic pathways forge in our brains. We become alert to new ideas and we can be guided to new understandings and different behavior. In this e-Volunteerism feature, Angela Parker – the co-founder of a global agency called Realized…
October 2018
What’s one way to increase the effectiveness of an organization that wants to involve volunteers in meaningful ways? In this e-Volunteerism feature, volunteer management experts Melanie Merrill and Ruth Leonard of Macmillan Cancer Support, London, write that in order to…
April 2018
As a volunteer resources manager, you may be serving members of the LGBTQIA community and working with LGBTQIA volunteers and/or LGBTQIA paid staff. The acronym LGBTQIA includes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or Questioning), Intersexed, and Asexual (or Ally/…
April 2018
This e-Volunteerism feature provides an important introduction to a new collection of volunteer resources and written materials recently produced by CNIB, an organization previously known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind that will celebrate its 100th…
January 2018
When volunteer management consultant Sheri Wilensky Burke hears about an organization’s poor volunteer retention, she often discovers that the organization has not defined retention goals. “It’s common to set goals for recruiting volunteers and other metrics, but often…
January 2018
Some years ago, Debbie Mason Talbot, a hospital-based manager of volunteer resources, and Ann M. Heesters, director of bioethics at the same institution, came together to discuss a series of cases that generated moral distress for their volunteers and for those who supported…
October 2017
Vicar Fraser Dyer of St. Anne and All Saints, an Anglican Church in South London, believes that the “whole business of volunteer management in churches is somewhat tricky.” And he should know. Before Vicar Dyer became ordained, he was an active and passionate secular…
October 2017
One week after this issue launched, the 2017 National Summit on Volunteer Leadership Engagement began in St. Paul, Minn. A special track at the summit convened a group of funders (public and private foundations and other donors) who met with volunteer resources managers and…
July 2017
Imagine teen volunteers in a healthcare setting. Admit it: Your first impression probably centered on teenagers pushing carts, delivering flowers or books, or escorting therapy dogs to patients’ rooms. But in the Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Texas, teenagers did…
October 2017
Editor-in-Chief Susan J. Ellis met “DR CurlyBubbe” a year ago in the parking garage at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) as Ellis arrived for one of her weekly chemotherapy visits. DR CurlyBubbe, a/k/a Esther Gushner, was hard to miss, what with her bright…
July 2017
Like the proverbial phoenix that rises from the ashes, George Washington Carver Senior High School rose from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Over the decade since the storm, the community has seen the emergence of a new brand of school and a different way of teaching—along…
July 2017
More people want to volunteer today than ever before. As practitioners, we recognize that it’s important to not just make volunteer opportunities more accessible but to also make them more personalized. While some of us have yet to adopt a web-based approach to recruiting and…
April 2017
Free, live-streaming video platforms like Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope, and YouTube Live allow users of smartphones or tablets to live stream something they are viewing in person so that people off-site can view and share in it, too, in real-time – events, speeches,…
April 2017
Sustaining volunteer engagement is ultimately a balancing act. Volunteer management must utilise resources in the most effective way to address organisational needs while supporting volunteers in meaningful roles that allow them to not only flourish but to also have positive…
April 2017
With apologies to Sesame Street and its well-known song lyrics, “One of these things (is not like the others)” applies to the world of volunteer management, too. Consider organizational constructs like boards, councils, committees, and advisory groups. When it comes to your…
January 2017