It is with great excitement that today I announce and celebrate the launch of Engage, the global voice of leaders of volunteer engagement. Engage arrives on the back of 20 years of cutting-edge thought leadership that you have come to trust and expect through e-Volunteerism. I assure you that we still have the same, high-quality content as before. But we have now reimagined this to bring the written voice to life via an active, social community where the collective voice of leaders from around the world can come together to learn, share experiences and engage in conversation.
In this introduction, I want to share some of that journey with you and explain why today’s launch is so exciting and important for those of us working with volunteers across the globe.
Twenty years ago this month, Susan J. Ellis and Steve McCurley published the first issue of e-Volunteerism, the world’s first online journal for leaders and managers of volunteers. They sought to leverage the then emerging technology of the internet to create a unique, professional, high-quality content platform dedicated to leaders of volunteer engagement. In their own words, they wanted to“combine the best characteristics of a printed professional journal with the explosive potential of internet technology.”
Moving the Journal into the Future
Susan and Steve’s goal was to provide content that enhanced the powerful work that every leader of volunteer engagement does every day. In the two decades that followed, e-Volunteerism did just that. In quarterly issues, the e-Volunteerism team published hundreds of articles written by dozens of authors from countries around the world, challenging orthodoxies and driving forward good practice in the discipline of leading and managing volunteers.
A year ago, I was appointed Editor-in-Chief, taking on the responsibility to move e-Volunteerism into the future after Susan’s passing in 2019 and Steve’s retirement from the field a few years before that. Along with our small, mostly volunteer editorial team, we strove to take what e-Volunteerism did even further. We wanted to not only provide the same cutting-edge thought leadership but also create a broader community, making the most of the potential of social media to give a collective voice for leaders of volunteer engagement from around the world to come together to learn, share experiences and engage in conversation.
Susan and Steve shared a vision for people to read and comment on the articles they published and Engage honors that vision while taking it to a new level. After all, it's right there in our name - we want to engage with you, we want you to engage with us and we want leaders of volunteer engagement to engage with each other (yes, there was a bet to see how many times I could get the word engage into a sentence!).
New Social Media Communities
Our new social media communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram will be the meeting place where people leading and managing volunteering can come together to connect, share in the conversations and listen to each other. You might want to comment on the content we publish. You might want to ask your peers for advice. You might want to share an idea or insight. Whatever it is, we want Engage to be there for and with you.
As we develop our content in the coming weeks and months, we want to harness the potential of social media and technology to give you these opportunities in new and exciting ways. Towards that goal, we already have a welcome video from our lead feature author, Canadian Adam Janes, and this issue will also a feature a meet-the-author video with Adam so you can find out more about him and his work. In the future we’re looking at the potential for live events, panel discussions, more interviews and anything else we can do to find new ways to share important content, promote engaging ideas and create a place for conversations that move us all forward.
I’m also really excited about the launch of two new Engage sections: Ethics and Ahead of the Curve.
As the name suggests, Ethics provides a place to explore ethical issues related to working with volunteers. It’s led by section editor Erin Spink, who also co-writes the Points of View feature with me. I’m thrilled for the opportunities this new section gives us all to delve into the kinds of issues we so rarely get time to think about. And I know Erin has some thought-provoking material lined up over the next few issues.
Ahead of the Curve is led by a new member of our editorial team, Sam Fankuchen. Ahead of the Curve explores how technology is shaping contemporary volunteer engagement and what the future may hold for us all as tech plays a bigger role in our professional lives. I’m excited to see this new content develop in the coming months and become a really valuable resource for us all.
As part of the launch of Engage, we’re also updating our membership offer, making it easier than ever to join us and renew your membership. And we have more planned for the future as we explore how we can better connect with professional associations, DOVIAs and local groups, enabling more leaders of volunteer engagement to join our community.
As if all this isn't enough, each membership now provides access to the Engage Library, which holds everything that we’ve published in the last 20 years. It’s now easier than ever to search this extensive library of valuable resources to find the insight, challenges and inspiration you need in your important work.
Members of Engage are part of a growing community that includes diverse voices from around the world, where challenges and opportunities are equally unique and very much alike. We have more in common than we often realise and the issues we face are frequently not as different as we sometimes think. We know you have something to offer and we’re confident that yours is one many more voices that we want and need to hear from in this wonderful profession.
I hope you share my excitement about the launch of Engage. I passionately believe in what we are doing, and I will always welcome your thoughts and ideas of what will continue to help leaders of volunteer engagement thrive.
Please join us, grow the conversation and make the global voice of volunteer engagement professionals louder, clearer and more vital than ever.