November Food for Thought: What Are the Experts Saying?

At VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the fields of volunteer engagement and nonprofit management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Here’s some food for thought to get your November going.

Food for Thought12 Alternatives to Lecture-Based Volunteer Training
From Tobi Johnson:
You spend a lot of time on your volunteer training presentations. But how much of it are the volunteers actually retaining? Probably not a whole lot, according to Tobi. Find out what you can do about it.

7 Considerations for Managing Volunteer Risk
From The Nonprofit Times:
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for volunteer risk management. But there are some universal things to consider when forming your organization-specific plans and policies.

Want more on risk management? Check out the recorded webinar New Tools and Strategies for Managing Risk.

Using Volunteerism to Build Clients’ Skills
From Coyote Communications:
You may think you know all the ways volunteerism can help your organization. But you may be wrong. In this post, Jayne Cravens pushes us outside of our volunteer box with an unconventional way volunteerism can support your mission.

Attracting Skills-Based Arts Volunteers in the Age of Options
From Americans for the Arts
Americans for the Arts has made big shifts in their pro bono program. And they’ve also seen big results.

Interested in learning more about pro bono? Check out these 6 quotes to inspire your volunteer program.

And for more tips from experts, check out the VolunteerMatch book that brings together 35 experts.

6 Quotes About Pro Bono to Inspire Your Volunteer Program

Pro Bono Week 2015!It’s Pro Bono Week 2015And here at VolunteerMatch, that has us jumping for joy. Because we love pro bono and every chance we get to talk it up.

Why all the hype about pro bono volunteering? Well, when volunteer roles align with professional expertise, everyone wins.

Nonprofits gain expertise they might otherwise have been unable to afford. Volunteers gain new ways to practice and sharpen their skills and can connect with their communities in meaningful ways. Corporate volunteer programs get refreshed, fulfilled employees with new perspectives and heightened skill-sets.

VolunteerMatch's book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0, includes 3 chapters on pro bono volunteerism.In our book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, we dedicate three entire chapters to pro bono and skilled volunteering. Haven’t read the book yet? It’s easy to order your copy today at a 25% off discount. In the meantime, we’ve pulled a few of our favorite quotes in honor of Pro Bono Week 2015:

Imagine if you were adding an additional 5 to 20 percent in value to your budget through high-quality, high-value pro bono? This is the potential of pro bono today. – Meg Garlinghouse & Alison Dorsey, LinkedIn for Good

Although more than 92 percent of nonprofits say that they would like to use a skilled volunteer, only 8 percent actively do. – Meg Garlinghouse & Alison Dorsey, LinkedIn for Good

Like all good initiatives, successful pro bono projects start with a clear need, articulated in a way that shows measurable goals and endpoints. – Alethea Hannemann, The Taproot Foundation

You want your pro bono consultants to treat you like a paying client, so you need to treat them as if you are paying, with all the expectations and responsibilities that go along with it. – Alethea Hannemann, The Taproot Foundation

Despite a mountain of evidence that workers love engaging their professional skills in doing good, most nonprofits say they simply aren’t getting enough pro bono help. – Deirdre White & Amanda MacArthur, PYXERA Global

Remember you have something precious to offer a rich and diverse community of pro bono professionals who want to give back: a meaningful and authentic experience! If you take time to invest upfront in pro bono, you can create the kind of experience that your volunteers will be hungry for and want to repeat! – Deirdre White & Amanda MacArthur, PYXERA Global

Want more? Order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0 today at 25% off. And don’t forget to help us celebrate pro bono week by following along with #PBW15 on Twitter and sharing your stories.

Pro Bono Week Special: How the California State Library Engages Pro Bono Volunteers

Celebrate Pro Bono Week 2015 with VolunteerMatchStory #1:

When the California State Library began growing its volunteer program, it quickly became clear to Carla Lehn, Library Programs Consultant, that she didn’t have enough time to do everything that needed to be done.

She knew if she could find someone to take a few responsibilities off her plate, then together they could go so much further. So, she created a position description for Assistant Volunteer Coordinator and posted it on VolunteerMatch.

Kellie Dawson was looking for something to get her out of the house a bit that fit her skills, background and interests when she came across Carla’s listing. Voila! Kellie has since rolled out two majors shifts in process for the CA State Library volunteer program, and says, “I will not give this position up as long as it’s there for me.”

Story #2:

When the 30th anniversary of the CA State Library’s literacy program approached, Carla realized she didn’t have the expertise or resources to run a statewide PR campaign around this event.

Dan Dement was in the process of starting his own PR agency, and he knows that “Volunteering is good career karma.” And the issue of literacy struck a chord with him. “It was a wonderful experience all the way through,” reflects Dan on this pro bono project.

Story #3:

Carla was looking for someone to help her up her social media game for the CA State Library’s literacy program, in order to find volunteers and raise awareness for the cause.

Leila Ertel has a background in social media marketing, but when she moved to Sacramento and switched jobs, this was no longer a part of her job. So, by volunteering with CA State Library, she is still able to use those skills. A win-win!

Why are we sharing these stories today?

Celebrate Pro Bono Week 2015 with VolunteerMatch!It’s Pro Bono Week 2015! 

Pro bono a special form of volunteering where people use their professional career skills for a good cause, and Pro Bono Week is a global campaign to celebrate and encourage these volunteer activities.

Help us celebrate this week:

Does your organization engage pro bono volunteers? Share your story in the comments below!

October Food for Thought: What Are the Experts Saying?

At VolunteerMatch we learn so much from other experts in the fields of volunteer engagement and nonprofit management, and we want to help you stay up to date on the latest news and trends. Here’s some food for thought to get your October going.

Food for ThoughtHow Nonprofits Can Increase Engagement Through Gamification
From Huffington Post:
No, you don’t have to take your serious issue and turn it into fun and games. But you can use these tactics to make volunteers more engaged with your organization and mission.

Three Essentials for Getting the Buy-In You Want From Your Coworkers
From Twenty Hats:
Lack of internal support. It’s a problem many of us know all too well. But you’re not powerless if you equip yourself with these three things.

A Pro Bono Service Toolkit for Nonprofits, Business Professionals and Companies
From Taproot Foundation and #GivingTuesday:
As we recently wrote about, #GivingTuesday isn’t just about giving money, it’s also about giving time. Use this toolkit to integrate pro bono volunteering into your nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday plan.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
From Susan J. Ellis
With all the powerful ways in this article to use candid pictures and video to improve your volunteer program, Susan should have thrown a few more “pictures” onto the end of this article’s title. From recruitment to recognition and everything in between, your phone’s camera needs to become active ASAP.

And finally a dose humor from Volunteer Management Snark.
When someone says their “volunteer database” is an Excel spreadsheet:Volunteer Management Snark

*No offense if you ARE using Excel spreadsheets, but you might be interested our recent post 4 Steps to Finding Your Volunteer Software Match.*

And for more tips from experts, check out the VolunteerMatch book that brings together 35 experts.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Deirdre White & Amanda MacArthur, PYXERA Global

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 experts: Deirdre White, CEO, and Amanda MacArthur, VP of Global Pro Bono & Engagement, PYXERA Global.Corporate Volunteers

First of all, what is your chapter about?
Over the past few years, pro bono has grown across sectors. In order for it to be an effective resource for nonprofits, it’s important to understand why pro bono is different from traditional “hearts-and-hands” volunteering.

Hearts-and-hands volunteering is when people give back through non-job-related skills, such as serving at a food kitchen or cleaning a park. With traditional volunteering, quantity over quality is usually okay.

With pro bono, quality is more critical. Pro bono asks volunteers to use job-related expertise to build capacity at an organization, and is grounded in a mutually beneficial experience for the volunteer and organization. Our chapter explains how recognizing the mutual benefits of pro bono can help a nonprofit get the expertise it needs.

Why is this topic important?
In order for pro bono to work, there needs to be an exchange of resources – a skill or expertise the volunteer can contribute along with a matching need for the nonprofit. To succeed, both need to develop trust.

Corporate pro bono programs can be very powerful. According to a study on skills-based volunteerism by True Impact, 142% of volunteers were more likely to report job-related skills gained than traditional volunteers. In addition, pro bono can be a very successful leadership training experience.

Explain your background on this topic. (In other words, what makes you a “volunteer engagement expert?”)

Deirdre White, Contributor to VolunteerMatch's book Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldDeirdre White:
I serve as the CEO of PYXERA Global, where I lead a team that creates and executes best practices in Global Pro Bono to benefit global corporations, local government, and nonprofits worldwide. PYXERA Global recently received the CECP Director Award of Excellence for JIVA, an integrated community development program made possible by pro bono work. I have several decades working on the ground, virtually, and overseeing pro bono projects with an emphasis on mutual benefit, sustainability, and inclusion.

Amanda MacArthur, contributor to VolunteerMatch's book Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldAmanda MacArthur:
I am Vice President of Global Pro Bono and Engagement at PYXERA Global. I lead the Global Pro Bono team along with PYXERA Global’s MBAs Without Borders division. I specialize in designing, implementing and measuring the impact of skills-based volunteer programs with a focus on leadership development, as well as creating sustainable impact.

What did you learn and/ or struggle with when writing your chapter?
At times, it can be difficult to determine how our extensive work in international settings is applicable to US nonprofits. We reflected on how to take our process of designing and implementing programs for companies and local clients, and make it applicable for nonprofits not working within the framework of a larger pro bono program – who might be looking for pro bono expertise independently.

We thought about the way PYXERA Global acts as a neutral third party to assess an organization’s needs and how to customize that to help nonprofits do this for themselves. We also had an absolutely wonderful editor, Robert Rosenthal, who helped us clarify our thinking and approach in these areas.

What is the one piece of advice you would give volunteer managers to take with them to the future?
Always practice purposeful engagement. In other words, enter into relationships with individuals and organizations across sectors intentionally and with the understanding that you are both on equal footing. When looking for pro bono volunteers, be strategic and don’t compromise. Know what you have to give, but also know what success will look like.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Deirdre and Amanda’s full chapter, How to Get the Right Pro Bono Expertise for the Job, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.