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

National Volunteer Month recently came to a close. And as would be expected during this celebratory time of the year, volunteers have been at the forefront of many conversations in the field — from discussions on how best to express the value of volunteer work to celebrating their impact by showcasing their contributions to our programs.

If you were too busy celebrating volunteers last month, we’ve got you covered. Catch up on the latest news and insightful think pieces from volunteer management experts by reading our most recent round-up.

The Value of Our Volunteers
Dan Cardinali for Independent Sector

The Value of Volunteer Time is a resource that helps social impact professionals illustrate the tangible contributions volunteers make and measures the strength of civil society. And at $25.43 per hour, the value of a volunteer’s time is the highest it’s ever been, according to Independent Sector who released the updated figure last month.

While this is great news for volunteer managers trying to illustrate the impact of their volunteer time, CEO and president of Independent Sector, Dan Cardinali, also points out that the percentage of Americans who volunteer is actually dropping. Read more about what he has to say in this blog.

The Value of a Volunteer? $I#.@S
Meridian Swift for volunteerplaintalk

Of course, the Value of Volunteer Time is just a starting point for measuring volunteer impact. The true value of volunteers can’t be boiled down into a single stat. So what’s a volunteer manager to do? Meridian Swift proposes using the formula: $I#.@S. Check out her post to find out what the heck that means and how you might best share volunteer impact at your organization.

webinar iconFor a deeper dive into this discussion, join us for our free training on strategic measures for your volunteer program.

S#%& Words We Need To Stop Saying: Words and Phrases to Erase from the Lexicon of Volunteer Management
Erin R. Spink & Rob Jackson for e-Volunteerism

Language matters. And as a leader of volunteers, the terminology you use to communicate information about what you and your volunteers do can either serve your cause or hold you back. We love this post from volunteer engagement experts Erin Spink and Rob Jackson, where they breakdown some of the most problematic vocabulary in the field and provide recommendations for alternatives. A must-read for anyone who interacts with volunteers!

Engaging Volunteers Across Generations
Verified Volunteers Staff for Verified Volunteers

Generational shifts have changed the way many volunteer engagement pros connect with, recruit and even retain volunteers. This excellent blog from our friends at Verified Volunteers breaks down generational trends in volunteer goals, motivation and expectations. Learn how you can support individuals no matter what year they were born in with this easy to read and actionable resource.

How to Build a Volunteer Program (Practically) From Scratch
Elisa Kosarin for Twenty Hats

Not many volunteer managers are tasked with essentially building a brand new volunteer program, but when Rachel Sanchez started out as the volunteer and employee engagement manager for the Baltimore Museum of Art, she was able to do just that. In this blog, she shares what exactly led to her success in growing their volunteer numbers from 10 to 150.

Whether you’re developing a new program or growing an existing one, this blog provides excellent insight into the foundations of successful volunteer engagement.

6 Tips to Know Your Nonprofit Is Ready for Skilled Volunteers
Danielle Holly for npENGAGE

Introducing skills-based volunteerism to your volunteer program can be scary, but it’s also one of the best ways to build your organization’s capacity and engage volunteers in work they’re passionate about. In order to make skills-based volunteer roles a success, be sure to prepare your organization by asking the right questions. What type of prep work do you need to do? And how do you know when you’re ready? This blog breaks it down for you.

webinar iconFor more advice on implementing a skills-based volunteer program at your organization, sign up for our free webinar.

The End of Empathy
Hanna Rosin for NPR

A thought-provoking read from NPR on empathy and altruism. These days, it seems as if social groups are becoming more and more polarized in their beliefs, and consequently, the concept of empathy as we previously understood it is shifting. It raises the questions of what this means for the volunteer engagement field, where empathy often drives volunteers and allows them to connect with others from different backgrounds and circumstances. Read the article and share your thoughts!

What have you been reading lately? Share the best volunteer engagement articles you read this month in the comments section below!