Volunteer Power News - Number 108
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter
© 2012 Advantage Point Systems Publishing
A warm welcome to all volunteer managers-those of you who recruit, motivate and mobilize volunteer workers.
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Featured Article: What is Wrong With This Picture?
What is Wrong With This Picture?
By Thomas W. McKee
I recently googled "Volunteer" on Google images and got 972,000,000 pictures. The first two pages of images, since I didn't look at all 972 million, displayed 30 images, and 11 (just over 1/3) of those pictures were like the ones below. The following graphics are used by many organizations to promote their volunteer opportunities. When you click on the image, you are linked through to the website of the organization that is trying to recruit volunteers. As I looked at many appeals for volunteers, I asked, "What is wrong with this picture?"
Question: What is wrong with the picture?
Answer: Twenty-first century volunteers do not want to raise their hands.
The new breed of volunteer wants to be asked. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 41.9% of the 64.3 million people who volunteered in the U.S. last year were asked to volunteer by someone in the organization.
So I have three questions:
Question One: Why Don't They Raise Their Hands? - Three reasons
First, I want to eliminate the guilt-driven volunteers. Too many times organization members sit in a meeting and hear the announcement, "If no one volunteers, we are going to cancel this event." Everyone sits there and one by one people start to raise their hands out of guilt. The guilty-feeling volunteers are volunteering because they believe that they have to. I don't want these people. I want passionate people who are excited about our mission.Question Three: How can I take advantage of the fact that 21st century volunteers do not raise their hands?
Second, I don't want any more VDPs- Very Draining People who are high maintenance. These volunteers drain my energy, time and passion, along with everyone else on the volunteer team.
Third, I want to recruit for passion, not an event. The 21st century volunteer doesn't want to make a contribution-- they want to make a difference. This is so true of my generation, those of us who were in college in the 60s. We have it in our DNA to make a difference, and we respond to causes, whether political, religious, social or educational. We love a challenge and will carve out the time if you just ask us. In fact, most people who are attending your meetings have some sort of interest in making a difference, or they wouldn't be at the meeting in the first place.
I am so encouraged that this DNA seems to be true of the younger generations also. Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, is the first innovation education fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Wagner consults widely to schools and foundations around the country and has served as senior advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tony says that Millennials are more interested in making a contribution than in making a lot of money--even those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Perhaps because they have been more exposed to a range of environmental and social problems than previous generations, every one of the young innovators whom I interviewed wanted to solve an important problem or give back in some way. It was more than just a passion for these young people. It was a driving sense of purpose.
And fourth, when I depend on the "raising my hands" approach to recruiting, I am overlooking many great volunteers who would never volunteer. In almost five decades of engaging volunteers, I am learning this lesson now more than ever. Many of my most dependable and effective volunteers never volunteer. I needed to ask them.
Quick Tips: But if we won't raise our hands, what do we do to get volunteers? So, several quick tips:
Liven Up Your Convention or Education Day with Passion, Fun, Laughs, and Volunteer Involvement InsightsOne more idea and we can help you.
Train your leaders of volunteers about the seismic shifts that have produced a New Breed of Volunteer. It is a different world today. In The New Breed, Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer, we outline the seismic shifts and what to do about them. Use the book for your training classes. Jonathan, who co-wrote the book, just got back from speaking the annual conference of SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) in Cleveland. The leaders from their organization were using the book as a text book to learn about the seismic shifts and how to engage the 21st century volunteer. They wanted to meet the authors, and Jonathan was able to attend and lead them in a workshop about the New Breed of Volunteer.
Contact us to book a workshop, key-note presentation.
The New Breed of Volunteer
A Volunteer Power Workshop
Recruiting and leading the 21st Century volunteers who want to do it their way
THE STRATEGIC CHALLENGE
The questions: Volunteerism is hot. From American Idol, Disneyland, Glee, Lady Gaga, President Obama to Wells Fargo, Intel and Wal-Mart, giving back is the rage.
THE TECTONIC SHIFTS THAT ARE CHANGING VOLUNTEERISM
The 21st century volunteer culture is very different because of tectonic shifts that have changed volunteer leadership. These shifts have impacted the volunteer organization; therefore, how we recruit and lead the New Breed of volunteer is a whole new game. The tectonic shifts include the following:
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