In 1980, VOLUNTEER: The National Center for Citizen Involvement (predecessor of the Points of Light Foundation) published Exploring Volunteer Space: The Recruiting of a Nation, by Ivan H. Scheier. As has been the case so often with Ivan’s writing, the book was way ahead of its time and unfortunately is now largely unknown. It is a joy to be able to use this “Voices from the Past” feature section of e-Volunteerism to reintroduce new readers to the very-much-still-relevant pages of Exploring Volunteer Space. In the Introduction, Ivan says:
The further cultivation of volunteering is the theme of this book; intensifying, energizing, and expanding it, working out from today’s career leadership of volunteering. The core is the director, coordinator or administrator of volunteer programs, plus resource people and organizations at local, state and national levels. These leaders number an estimated 70,000-80,000 people in the United States today…Without this leadership, there would be no significant volunteer movement for anyone to analyze here. Nevertheless, this leadership seems thin on the line, because the volunteer helping army is far larger than we suppose, and visible leadership, however, talented, shrinks drastically in relation.
In the excerpt presented here, we share Ivan’s thoughts on “Thick and Thin Leadership” – “Practical Issues in Career Effectiveness.” Over time, we’ll revisit Exploring Volunteer Space and give our readers more excerpts. And, since Ivan is Consulting Editor for this journal (/team/scheier.php), we may even hear from him directly in response.