Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Katherine H. Campbell, Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA)

Katherine H. Campbell, CVA, Contributor to VolunteerMatch's new book: Volunteer Engagement 2.0VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, features chapters from 35 experts in the field of volunteer engagement. In this series of blog posts, get to know these #35experts and their areas of expertise.

Today’s expert: Katherine H. Campbell, CVA, Executive Director, Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA).

First of all, what is your chapter about?
Taking Charge of Your Professional Development revisits a familiar topic to encourage a broader, more proactive approach to learning and growth. The chapter suggests a wide variety of professional development options, their benefits for individual leaders of volunteer engagement and their organizations, tips on how to develop a personal, focused plan, and several helpful resources.

Special attention is also given to the concept of a peer career coach. This is somewhat different than the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. Peer career coaching is a flexible model that has powerful benefits for both parties.

Why is this topic important?
Two reasons come to mind. First, whereas most of the book focuses on how we work with volunteers, this chapter focuses on ourselves. Professional development is a critical tool for influencing one’s personal journey and avoiding aimless drifting.

Secondly, we need to remember that our own learning directly relates to our organization’s mission and our community. As leaders of volunteer engagement, we are inherently responsible for relating to both internal and external audiences, responding to trends affecting volunteering, and pioneering new ways of doing things. Actively seeking new information and honing our skills equips us for this role.

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
I began my career in the juvenile justice arena where I helped develop a volunteer program in an urban family court system. The profession of volunteer management was still in its early formative stages– so there was a lot of experimentation and learning by trial and error!  As practitioners in the trenches, we were a fairly bold and creative bunch, yet we struggled to identify with the title “professional” when few regarded us as such.

As my career proceeded, the vast majority of my professional development was experiential. I marveled at how willingly the older pioneers in this field shared their knowledge and wisdom, and quickly learned the value of expanding my network of peer relationships throughout my state, nationally, and eventually internationally.   Did I label it “professional development”?  Probably not. But looking back, I now see clearly that it absolutely served that purpose.

A significant milestone came when I became Certified in Volunteer Administration.  Although I had already been in the field for over 15 years, I hungered for a way to signal to others that I was a competent professional. Earning the CVA credential met that need and enabled me to fully embrace my chosen path with confidence and pride.

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
Although I began with a very broad definition of professional development, I still viewed it as primarily benefiting the individual person. Writing this chapter forced me to consider more deeply the ripple effect of individual professional development on organizations and communities.

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
Commit to spending a few hours in the next 6 months to invest in yourself. Join a local professional network, tackle a book that challenges your brain, or think out loud with a peer about what’s holding you back from making changes. Even small steps like these can bring clarity and help you make strategic decisions about your personal and professional journey.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World

Katherine H. Campbell, CVA, has worked in the field of nonprofit and volunteer management for over 30 years as practitioner, trainer and leader. She now serves as Executive Director of the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (CCVA), managing professional credentialing programs for leaders of volunteers. She has authored and co-authored a number of books and articles, and has taught as adjunct faculty at several Virginia colleges. 

 

To read Katherine’s full chapter, Taking Charge of Your Professional Development, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.

 

A Closer Look at the Volunteer Program Improvement Tool for Hunger-Fighting Organizations

A few months ago, we introduced you to the Volunteer Program Improvement Tool, a free tool developed exclusively for hunger-related organizations*.

Today, let’s take a closer look.Volunteer Program Improvement Tool for Hunger NonprofitsAt VolunteerMatch, we recognize that a successful volunteer program isn’t just about attracting volunteers. It isn’t just about getting internal buy-in. Nor is it just about keeping volunteers engaged, having a good program infrastructure, giving volunteers the recognition they deserve, or letting your community know about your volunteer program.

No, it isn’t just about any of these things. It’s about all of them.

If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry. The Volunteer Program Improvement Tool takes you through each component of a successful volunteer program, one at a time.

Maybe you rock at getting volunteers on board, but have trouble keeping them. Not only will this tool diagnose that, it will give you concrete action steps and resources for strengthening your volunteer retention.

How? All you need to do is answer a few simple questions about your volunteer program.

After you complete the tool, you’ll receive a report created just for you, highlighting your program’s strengths and weaknesses, and a path for improvement.

What are you waiting for? Get on the path to a stronger volunteer program. Access the free tool today.

*You may be wondering, “Why hunger organizations?” VolunteerMatch developed this tool as part of our partnership with ConAgra Foods Foundation, a company with a big commitment to end childhood hunger. Part of this commitment includes equipping nonprofits with the resources they need to do what they do best – create real change in their communities in the fight against hunger. And for many food banks and similar organizations, this change is dependent on volunteers.

What Does Volunteerism Look Like Around the World?

If you’re like me, you know how easy it is to get wrapped up in your individual, day-to-day life. With so many pressing and immediate tasks to take care of at our nonprofits, it’s hard to step away from our micro-worlds and see things on a global, interconnected scale – at least for some of us.

State of VolunteerismYet, that’s exactly what the United Nations’ report Transforming Governance: 2015 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report does.

Hear how volunteers in Bangladesh, Chile and more are organizing and gaining momentum, correcting injustices and changing their communities for the better. Watch a video of volunteers in action around the world.

And if you have time – at just shy of 100 pages, you will need time -, check out the full report on global volunteerism today. Here’s just an overview of what you’ll learn:

  • How volunteerism empowers marginalized groups in local communities.
  • The ways in which technology is improving volunteerism, on a global scale.
  • How volunteers are working side by side with national governments.

Have you read, or skimmed, the report? What’s the one piece of knowledge you’d like to share? Let us know by tweeting to @VolunteerMatch or commenting below.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Linda Jacobs Davis, Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL)

Linda Davis, contributor to VolunteerMatch's new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldVolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, features chapters from 35 experts in the field of volunteer engagement. In this series of blog posts, get to know these #35experts and their areas of expertise.

Today’s expert: Linda Jacob Davis, CEO, Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL).

First of all, what is your chapter about?
Board members serve in a critical and unique nonprofit volunteer role. Meet Your New Board is about how to engage prospective board members with an eye toward what is needed now and in the future, going beyond what has been or what is easy.

The chapter looks at the similarities and differences in engaging a volunteer board member compared to a “service volunteer.” Passion for the mission alone is not enough to be an effective board member; individuals must also have a desire to be engaged in governance. Since the majority of us do not come with a degree in nonprofit governance, this chapter suggests ways to recruit and retain board members, and how to engage them as strategic leaders within nonprofit organizations.

Why is this topic important?
Ask any Executive Director and they will tell you that the relationship with the board, especially the board chair, can make or break their ability to lead their organization and deliver impact and change. As written in the chapter, “A disengaged, dispassionate board will never be successful in ensuring the resources for an organization.”

It takes time to build the board composition and harmony: it’s a work in progress. However, it’s easier to retain talent than to constantly be in recruitment mode.  Learning how to choose members wisely, keep them focused on their responsibilities, provide governance training and provide opportunities for assessment are keys to a successful board experience.

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
I have spent my career in the nonprofit sector and have years of direct experience.  For the last 30+ years I’ve served in a wide range of roles, many of which have involved close collaboration with board members: Major donor stewardship, fundraising event management, grant writing, public affairs, marketing, advocate, program management, presenter/ trainer, associate director, and executive director.

I have also served on numerous boards – local, statewide and national – and sat in the seat of treasurer, secretary, vice chair and chair. At CVNL, I coach and consult nonprofit executives and their boards on governance protocols, practices and issues, and leadership transition and succession planning.

I am always learning. I owe my knowledge to my years of experience, walking the talk, reading books, attending professional development courses, listening to my peers and of course learning from mistakes, failures and successes.

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
It was a struggle to condense such a weighty topic and years of experience into a short chapter. It was great to take the time to think about the critical points of successful board governance and the incredible value our board members provide.

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
I will share what a mentor told me very early in my career, “Be interested, not interesting.” That was and continues to be the best bit of advice I have ever received. It has shaped who I am as a person, leader, mom and friend.

Another less “warm and fuzzy” mentor pressed me to be bold, courageous, and to take risks: “If you are not pissing someone off, you are not getting your job done.”

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Linda’s full chapter, Meet Your New Board, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Tobi Johnson, Tobi Johnson & Associates

Tobi Johnson, contributor to VolunteerMatch's book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldVolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, features chapters from 35 experts in the field of volunteer engagement. In this series of blog posts, get to know these #35experts and their areas of expertise.

Today’s expert: Tobi Johnson, MA, CVA, President, Tobi Johnson & Associates.

First of all, what is your chapter about?
​I discuss four key trends affecting science, society and our way of life: New insights from brain science, demographic and educational changes, technological advances, and workplace shifts. Our world is changing so rapidly. These shifts have a deep impact on our needs, desires, preferences, requirements, and lifestyles. Ultimately, they are also transforming how we volunteer​ and serve.

​I also discuss some interesting contradictions and paradoxical themes that seem to embody our epoch. With this in mind, I call out a few “legacy mindsets” in our field that bear closer scrutiny. It may be time to shake things up a bit!

Why is this topic important?
At its core, volunteerism is about connecting people with one another for the greater good. ​In order to do this effectively, ​we need to examine our practice and continually evolve. By embracing innovation​, we’ll be better equipped to build trust, form authentic human bonds, focus attention, and build the clarity of purpose needed to ​tap the talents of the change-agents of the future.

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
My chapter in Volunteer Engagement 2.0 kicks off with a story of my experience as a volunteer program leader at Larkin Street Youth Center, an agency that serves homeless youth in San Francisco. It is one of several programs I’ve developed throughout my 25+ year career in nonprofits. Most of these were powered by volunteers and staff working in partnership. The majority of what I know I learned in
the trenches.

​About seven years ago​,​ I left ​direct service to start my consulting practice​. I now ​have the pleasure of helping organizations strengthen their own volunteer programs. Part of that process means I have the luxury of following research and pondering new developments that might impact volunteer administration practices.

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
I was really lucky, because when Robert Rosenthal, the editor of Volunteer Engagement 2.0, contacted me, I had just completed a project and had a few weeks of open time. I was able to focus purely on research and writing. It was actually relaxing! I could sit in the sun on my back deck and just delve in.

The more I researched, however, the more fascinating the possibilities (and the deeper my pile of notes) became. At some point, I had to start trimming things down. It felt like I had to wrestle that dang topic into submission!​ ​Luckily I had help. As editor, Robert provided some wonderful notes to my first draft, and my husband made some incredibly insightful suggestions and encouraged me to tell my story.

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
​Only one?!  LOL!  I would say…When engaging volunteers, do your best to understand what really drives human behavior (luckily, we know a LOT about that nowadays). Work with human nature, not against it. We are hard-wired for certain behavior, and there is nothing more futile than trying to change our basic instincts!

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTobi Johnson is the President of Tobi Johnson & Associates, a consulting firm whose mission is to help nonprofits connect with remarkable volunteers who share a common vision for a better world. This spring, she launched VolunteerPro, an online professional development community for volunteer program administrators and others who want to take our field to the next level.

 

To read Tobi’s full chapter, Big Shifts That Will Change Volunteerism for the Better, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.