What We’re Reading This January 📚: Our Favorite Volunteer Engagement Blogs & More

Our goal is to be your trusted source of information on volunteer engagement. Starting this year, we’ll be rounding up the most popular stories in the field each month and sharing takeaways through a digest like this.

Here’s a taste of what we’ve been reading this past month — from turning the scary situation of volunteer rejection into a positive to prepping your volunteer recruitment strategy for 2019.

Volunteering in America
Corporation for National and Community Service

New data released by the Corporation for National and Community Service shows that, for the first time in several years, volunteerism in the U.S. is up! Check out the data on their website for more information on who’s volunteering, where they’re volunteering and how many hours they serve.

How to Plot Your 2019 Volunteer Roles Like a Champion
Tobi Johnson for Volunteer Pro

Volunteer engagement thought leader Tobi Johnson makes the case for proactively mapping out the volunteer roles you’ll need to fill for the new year. Start 2019 off on the right foot with these volunteer recruitment tips.

Is Microvolunteering Right for Your Nonprofit?
Latasha Doyle for GuideStar

Despite higher rates of volunteerism, the fact remains that 25% of individuals simply don’t have enough free time to give to the causes they care about. This post suggests you may be able to engage these people with microvolunteering. Learn more about what microvolunteering means and how it might work for you.

Can We Reject a Volunteer? and Reject a Volunteer, Gain an Advocate
Meridian Swift for Engaging Volunteers via Volunteerplaintalk

We highly recommend screening and interviewing volunteers to ensure they’re the right fit for your organization. But what if they’re not? Meridian Swift discusses what happens when you need to turn an individual down for a role and how you might be able to channel their enthusiasm in a different direction. A must-read.

Volunteer Training With a Point: Using Impact Measures and Visitor Goals to Shape Volunteer Training
Lisa Marie Porter, MA, CVA for Twenty Hats

Developing a useful and informative volunteer training program can be difficult. If you’re struggling, consider reframing volunteer training as a process that helps volunteers understand their roles as partners in achieving your organization’s impact goals. Learn how this volunteer manager at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History did just that.

More Questions About the New Starbucks Service Fellows Initiative
Rob Jackson and Meridian Swift for Rob Jackson Consulting

In case you missed the big announcement, Starbucks is launching a pilot program where 36 of their employees will receive full pay to work half the work week at a nonprofit organization. Rob Jackson and Meridian Swift discuss what this means for volunteer engagement professionals and employee volunteerism.

California Teens Who Volunteer and Engage in Civic Life Are Healthier, Aim Higher in Education, Study Finds
Venetia Lai for UCLA Newsroom

UCLA researchers found that volunteering is correlated with many positive effects for teens, including better physical health and higher levels of education. However, despite equal interest in doing good, researchers found a gap by race and income between those who actually volunteer. What can volunteer managers do to close this gap and make sure all teens interested in volunteering can do so?

Bringing Older Americans Back Into the Fold
Maya Salam for the New York Times

Marc Freedman, the president of Encore.org, is on a mission to reintegrate older people back into the lives of younger ones. Learn why he thinks retirees who volunteer with children are the perfect volunteer match!

To Help the Homeless, Some in LA Are Giving Them a Place to Stay
Anna Scott for NPR

This small program in Los Angeles asks volunteers to open their homes to homeless individuals in their community. Although this likely won’t be a long-term solution, the program engages citizens in addressing a problem that’s currently plaguing many of our nation’s cities. What are your thoughts on this innovative program?

What have you been reading lately? Share your favorite volunteer engagement articles and blogs in the comments section below.