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.

 

 

Session Recap: Tech Platforms for Volunteering

“How many of you work for nonprofits?”

Joel Bashevkin, Executive Director of Taproot Foundation, posed this question to a packed room in downtown San Francisco last week. As might be expected at an event for the group San Francisco Tech4Good, a majority of the audience raised their hands.

“How many are tech workers?” Joel went on to ask. While less than before, a substantial amount of hands went in the air.

“How many are nonprofit tech workers?”

As a few lonely hands proudly went up (mine included), the audience let out an embarrassed chuckle.

Why aren’t there more organizations that merge technology with the social sector? As an employee of VolunteerMatch, I’m fortunate to see technology put to work every day for social good, and I know the large-scale effect it can have. (Last year alone, VolunteerMatch generated $1.34 BILLION in social value).

This quandry, along with many others, was discussed at last week’s Technology Platforms for Good. The event rounded up pioneers in the tech-volunteering space. Our own Greg Baldwin joined the panel along with Joel Bashevin and Meg Garliginhouse, Head of Social Impact at LinkedIn.

The ultimate conclusion? With so many ways (and free ways at that!) to find, manage, and engage volunteers online- if you’re not using technology, you’re missing out.

I’ve chosen a few of my favorite live tweets from the session, some of which include actionable advice for engaging volunteers via technology (see below). Want even more? Watch the video recording of the event.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Alethea Hannemann, Taproot Foundation

Alethea Hannemann, Contributor to VolunteerMatch's 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: Alethea Hannemann, Vice President of Product and National Programs, The Taproot Foundation

First of all, what is your chapter about?
Marketing, HR, finance, design: Nonprofits need experts in these functions as much as they need hands-on volunteers. Pro bono service, in which business professionals volunteer their skills on critical projects, is part of the next wave of volunteering. My chapter, Becoming Powered by Pro Bono, tells you how to make reliable, effective pro bono happen for your nonprofit.

Why is this topic important?
Pro bono is no longer just for lawyers! Professionals with all sorts of expertise can help a nonprofit in all sorts of critical ways. Imagine an HR strategist helping a nonprofit Executive Director work through retention issues to keep the right talent on board; a brand manager helping a board and executive team create new key messages to power their outreach and marketing; a financial analyst creating a program cost analysis that informs a new strategic plan.

Pro bono can bring you all this and more. When nonprofits bring in skills-based volunteers in addition to financial contributions and hands-on volunteering, they are truly tapping the resources in their community. It opens up a whole new area of support.

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)
The Taproot Foundation has worked with more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations on more than 4,000 pro bono engagements—that’s more than 1.5 million hours of pro bono service. We’ve helped make pro bono becomes business as usual for nonprofits, corporate CSR departments, and individual professionals across the country, and we’re constantly growing our programs. We just launched a new platform, Taproot+, to connect even more nonprofits and volunteers.

In my 8 years at Taproot, I’ve had the good fortune to build most of those programs. We know what works, and we are eager to share it so nonprofits can get more of the skills they need to achieve their missions.

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
Well, I always struggle not to be TOO enthusiastic about pro bono. Pro bono isn’t right for every organization or every engagement. Being thoughtful in planning and following some core guidelines in picking and prepping for a project is really important. But it’s hard not to get excited about the potential for pro bono service to truly change the nonprofit sector for the better!

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
Stay creative when you’re looking for resources, and expect you can find almost any skills you need. We do a really simple exercise in nonprofit trainings, asking everyone to search their LinkedIn networks for people with a particular skill, such as social media. So many nonprofit execs tell us “I don’t know ANYONE with that skill”—and then their networks turn up multiple good possibilities. Think big, and you’ll find it!

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Alethea’s full chapter, Becoming Powered by Pro Bono, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.

 

 

 

[WEBINAR] Making Big Bets: How Changes in Volunteer Engagement Strategies Pay Off!

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The Nonprofit Insights webinar series brings major thought leaders and experts to you for thought-provoking presentations on a variety of issues related to technology and engaging your community members for social good.

What volunteers want to do with their time, how they want to get involved and how they make to make a difference is changing.

For many organizations this means that leaders of volunteer engagement are scrambling to rethink volunteer work and what it means to be a volunteer in their organizations. Creating new opportunities for volunteers can be challenging – how do you create these new opportunities, how do gain buy-in from paid staff and existing volunteers, how do you know it’s working?

Join Carla Lehn, Library Programs Consultant for the California State Library and Beth Steinhorn, President of JFFIxler Group as they talk about what they’ve learned about transforming volunteer engagement programs. Beth will share lessons she’s learned from engaging Boomers as volunteers and the importance of creating impact-driven opportunities, and Carla will share how she’s transformed what it means to be a library volunteer and how she worked with paid staff to make this happen.

Both Carla and Beth have written chapters in VolunteerMatch’s new book Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World. This book explores the innovative volunteer engagement approaches that are reshaping nonprofits and their communities, and shows how you can bring these approaches to your own organization.

Who Should Attend:

  • Leaders of Volunteer Engagement
  • Volunteer Program Managers

Reserve your spot today!
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
11am – 12pm PT (2-3pm ET)
Cost: Free!

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch and #vmlearn.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Joe Waters, SelfishGiving.com

Joe Waters, 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: Joe Waters Founder, SelfishGiving.com.

The following post, written by Joe Waters, originally appeared on the Selfish Giving blog.

I’m excited to be one of the 35 experts in VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World.

I was surprised when VolunteerMatch asked me to contribute a chapter. I just didn’t view cause marketing as connected to volunteering – and I thought the book’s editor, Robert Rosenthal, and I agreed on this point!

You see, Robert was the guy who dissuaded me from including volunteering in my last book on nonprofit fundraising, Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New & Improved Strategies for Nonprofits.

I had considered several volunteer-related strategies for the book, but in the end I only included one: volunteer grants, also known as dollars for doers programs, which match a corporate volunteer’s time with a small grant from the company to the nonprofit.

So, why would I now write a chapter on cause marketing for a book on volunteering? Because Robert actually had a much better grasp of what volunteering is and where it’s headed than I did. Although he was right to nix volunteering from a book on fundraising tactics, he was also right that volunteering would have a major impact on cause marketing. Robert challenged me to adjust my perspective on the connection between volunteering and cause marketing.

A major hurdle for me was realizing that volunteering was more than just those little old ladies who used to stuff envelopes at my last nonprofit job.

No, volunteering is so much more.

Volunteering is when a person freely chooses to spend his or her time – unpaid – supporting a needy group or individual. A volunteer’s goal is to have a meaningful, measurable impact.

Using my new lens on volunteering, I peered out and discovered something incredible: Volunteering isn’t just connected to cause marketing; it’s the future of cause marketing. As focused as I was on defining cause marketing as a partnership between a nonprofit and for profit, I neglected the spark that makes these pacts ignite: individuals. These motivated and empowered do-gooders will be the key drivers of growth over the next generation.

You can read all about it in Volunteer Engagement 2.0!

Along with my chapter, you can read the contributions of 34 other volunteering experts.

  • Beth Kanter explains Measuring the Volunteer Program.
  • Aria Finger talks about Engaging Millennials and other Younger Volunteers.
  • Amy Sample Ward writes about Volunteer Engagement on the Social Web.
  • Scott Henderson talks about Getting the Most Out of Hackathons for Social Good.
  • Angela Parker and Chris Jarvis write on Partnering with Workplace Volunteer Programs.

This book has everything. An awesome, relevant topic, a great editor, a wonderful group of contributors and a chapter from yours truly!

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Joe’s full chapter, Volunteering and Future of Cause Marketing, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.