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.

 

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.

 

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Mark Surman, Mozilla Foundation

VolunteerMatch’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: Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation.

Mark Surman, contributor to VolunteerMatch's new book: Volunteer Engagement 2.0

First of all, what is your chapter about?
“A New Engagement Model for the Internet Era” explains how the web so drastically transformed the way nonprofits operate. The web is an unprecedented tool for organizing, able to unite like-minded volunteers across the globe. The web also grants volunteers great power — they can play a real role in making change.

Because of this, it’s critical for nonprofits to demonstrate why they’re the best place for volunteers to get involved. How? By having a clear goal, a compelling call to action and the ability to make volunteers’ contributions really count.

Why is this topic important?
It’s critical for nonprofits to understand how the web changed — and continues to change — engagement. If volunteers weren’t the most important part of social change before the Internet, they most definitely are now. We need to stop asking, “How can volunteers make nonprofits successful?” and instead ask, “How can nonprofits best empower volunteers?”

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
I’ve always been in the business of connecting things — especially people. At Mozilla, we work with a community of more than 10,000 Mozillians around the world. Our success depends on engaging these volunteers and ensuring their contributions — whether code, ideas, art or opinions — make a difference.

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
Trying to define ‘the Mozilla model’ of volunteering in a simple and singular way. So much has changed in the last 10 years since we’ve started. Some of the things we trailblazed in 2004 aren’t revolutionary — or even the right approach — anymore. We’re constantly having to reinvent how we relate to volunteers as we go. So, writing about it is hard, as it’s always in motion.

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
Often, your volunteers are smarter than you — embrace it. At Mozilla, we’re bringing web literacy to the next billion people who come online. This means working with volunteers in countries and cities far from Mozilla’s offices and staff, in places like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Kenya. These contributors bring a local knowledge and know-how that’s crucial to our mission, and it’s important to let them guide us. Without their expertise, we’d be lost.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World

It’s Mark Surman’s job to protect the open web. He is Executive Director of Mozilla — the global community that keeps the web open and free — and a loud proponent of universal web literacy. Mark launched Maker Party and Mozilla Learning Networks, major initiatives that help people teach and learn the web. He is also a prolific blogger, writer and speaker, as well as an advisor to several nonprofits. Prior to joining Mozilla, Mark was a Shuttleworth Foundation fellow, led telecentre.org and co-founded the Commons Group. He holds a BA in the History of Community Media from the University of Toronto.

To read Mark’s full chapter, A New Engagement Model for the Internet Era, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Beth Steinhorn, JFFixler Group

Beth Steinhorn, 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: Beth Steinhorn, President, JFFixler Group.

First of all, what is your chapter about?
The Great Boomer Volunteer Revolution: Boom or Bust? is a fun and informative retrospective on how the predictions for boomers and their volunteering panned out.

Between the bookends of two real life case studies from organizations that have successfully engaged baby boomers in meaningful roles, my chapter explores the predictions about baby boomers and volunteering that were prolific around 2006 when the first boomer turned 60, and then traces how the economic downturn of 2008 and beyond affected boomers and their volunteering habits.

The chapter also includes tips on how to successfully engage boomers, all drawn from organizations that continue to do so effectively.

Why is this topic important?
The boomer generation numbers more than 70 million and represents a tremendous resource of talent and skill – not to mention passion and commitment – to serve.

Organizations have an opportunity to harness that talent on behalf of their cause. Yet, research and practical experience show that boomers have a consumer mindset when it comes to volunteering – if they do not find what they are looking for at your organization, they will take their time and talent elsewhere. It is incumbent upon the organization to provide appealing opportunities for boomers. When they do, they will have access to an abundant resource.

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
I began my nonprofit career in museums, working with one of the largest volunteer cadres in the nation. At that institution, we partnered with volunteers in multiple ways and  were on the cutting edge of engagement before the terms we use so frequently today were even coined. “Skills based volunteers” helped in the paleontology lab, “pro bono volunteers” consulted on evaluation and curriculum development, “high impact volunteers” worked throughout the organization from visitor services to development to gallery interpretation to collections management.

I had the privilege of training volunteers, partnering with volunteers, engaging a volunteer research partner who co-authored published papers with me, and was inculcated into a culture where volunteers were part of the fabric of the institution at every level. In other words, I lived the ideal. After stints in other nonprofits in marketing and as an executive director, I began consulting with organizations to help them embrace volunteer engagement as a business strategy.

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
I enjoyed the opportunity to reflect back on the predictions from 2006 and 2007 and connect the proverbial dots from some of our own writing at that time (Boomer Volunteer Engagement and Boomer Volunteer Engagement: The Facilitator’s Tool Kit, also published in partnership with VolunteerMatch) to the current trends around how boomers volunteer.

As I am in all my daily work around volunteer engagement, I am fascinated by how the economic recession that started in 2008 affected volunteering trends. Whether the original predictions around boomer volunteering panned out or not, I will leave to the chapter to reveal. What I will share, however, is that researching this chapter enabled me to gather more hard data to support tactics that successful nonprofits are employing to engage boomer volunteers today.

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
Try one new thing. Do your research and learn what is working for other organizations in terms of engaging boomers – and then pick one and give it a try. When you pilot something new, you have the chance to learn what works and what doesn’t, and then build from there.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Beth’s full chapter, The Great Boomer Volunteer Revolution: Boom or Bust?, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.