The Everyone Ready Volunteer Management Skill-Building Program is a discussion starter, designed both to build the skills of your network members in partnering with volunteers and also to raise the bar of how you engage the community in your work. "It matters" because of important philosophical concepts, such as these below.
- Volunteering brings out the best in people...and working with the best in people engenders optimism even in the face of pessimism.
- We have the power to act on what we can dream, not just on what we think we can afford.
- When we look for the essence of individuals instead of judging them by their formal credentials, we often find that being "qualified" to do something lies more in attitude than in experience.
- When you are not "in" the box," it's easier to think "out" of it (which is why it is best to recruit volunteers who are as different from paid staff as possible).
- The best service occurs when the giver benefits as much as the recipient.
- Every revolution begins with a step taken by one person and that person is always a volunteer. (No one is ever paid to rebel.)
- Volunteers are the silver lining in the cloud of disaster.
- Volunteering is an equalizer. It finds the common denominator among otherwise diverse people and allows them to work together to meet goals that matter to them all.
- Actions speak louder than words or checkbooks.
- Volunteering is a strategy applied in the same way by proponents of fundamentally opposed sides of an issue. So volunteers are not automatically right - they just believe they are.
- There is no skill so specialized that someone will not freely donate it - if you're flexible as to when you get access to it.
- When you feel powerless, doing something alongside others who care as you do puts you back in control.
- When you don't have to meet external hiring requirements, people can rise to their level of competence regardless of age, background, supposed disability, or other difference.
- The least competent people are the most threatened by offers of help or new ideas.
- Everyone has exactly the same number of hours in a day. Be conscious of the value of the time some people share generously with you...and never waste it.
- Value mavericks and dreamers. They may sometimes be irritants, but often plant the seeds of change.
- The only things necessary to accomplish a goal are: confidence, determination, time, effort and the participation of a growing number of advocates. Money is nice, but it can't substitute for the other ingredients.
- We are limited only by our imagination and our unwillingness to ask for help. When we ask, we get. Often in amazing abundance.
Adapted from “The World According to Volunteer Experience” by Susan J. Ellis, written as a Hot Topic on the 25th anniversary of Energize,Inc. © 2002.