Volunteer Management Blog

saviourism
Karen Knight

Volunteering Without White Saviourism

When people from privileged groups (white, financially secure, male, etc) try to help those less privileged, it’s easy to fall into the trap of saviourism. Here’s what that looks like, and how to avoid it.

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corporate volunteers
Karen Knight

Corporate Volunteers

Involving corporate volunteers can be a key strategy for bolstering your volunteer program. This strategy provides benefits to everyone concerned, from your organization’s cause to the partner company to the volunteers themselves.

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unappreciative clients
Karen Knight

Dealing with Unappreciative Clients

Do volunteers in your organization have to deal with unappreciative clients? Rather than try to instill gratitude in people who are under emotional stress or overload, take a look at the issue from another angle.

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AIDA and Recruiting Volunteers
Karen Knight

AIDA and Recruiting Volunteers

Using the common marketing process, “AIDA”, can help leaders with recruiting volunteers for their organizations. It’s a simple four step way to bring people from being random strangers to becoming volunteers.

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Karen Knight

Building Resilient Volunteers

There isn’t much information out there about building resilience in volunteers. Yet resilient volunteers are the core of a strong program. Here are a few tips on how you can build their resilience.

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enhance your influence
Karen Knight

Enhance Your Influence

The position of leader of volunteers is often seen as a lower-level position. Executives often forget that it’s a vital leadership position. If you want to enhance your influence in your organization, you need to be seen as a leader. Here’s how.

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ideal volunteer
Karen Knight

The Ideal Volunteer

We all want to find amazing helpers, but what specifically do we look for? Here are the three elements that I believe are necessary in an “ideal” volunteer.

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challenging volunteers
Karen Knight

Challenging Volunteers

At one time or another, most leaders will have to deal with challenging volunteers. Here are some tips that will allow you to fit those people into your program seamlessly.

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crisis leadership
Karen Knight

Crisis Leadership

Crises seem to be happening more and more often. Sooner or later, you as a leader of volunteers will be required to demonstrate your crisis leadership abilities. Here are a few tips to hone those skills.

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language of volunteering
Karen Knight

The Language of Volunteering

The language of volunteering is changing. Words that were commonly applied to volunteers may now be seen as denigrating or objectifying. How do you know what words to use? What should you do to ensure the volunteers who report to you are fully respected?

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volunteers as ambassadors
Karen Knight

Volunteers as Ambassadors

Are you using your agency volunteers’ skills to the fullest? Strategically involving volunteers as ambassadors will improve your recruitment, raise more donations, and increase your exposure in the community.

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surviving hard decisions
Karen Knight

Surviving Hard Decisions

An overlooked part of working in the not-for-profit sector is the high levels of emotional stress that hard decisions have on the leader over a period of time. Here are five ways that you can build self-care right into your work.

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volunteer stories
Karen Knight

Volunteer Stories

As leaders of volunteers, it’s important to share our volunteer stories, good and bad, and the lessons we’ve learned from them. Here are a few of mine.

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time management
Karen Knight

Four Ways to Ace Time Management

Let’s face it. Leaders of volunteers are overloaded. Time management is key to keeping our stress levels down. We all need tips and tricks for keeping ourselves on track and saving time. Here are a few.

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volunteers aren't free
Karen Knight

Volunteers Aren’t Free

Volunteers aren’t free. Many organizations say that they value them, but if they don’t invest in them, they aren’t valuing them very highly. Here is a breakdown of why it’s important to invest in your volunteer program, and how to do it effectively.

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demonstrate empathy
Karen Knight

How to Demonstrate Empathy and Retain Volunteers

Demonstrating empathy with your volunteers can greatly increase your retention rates. But saying “I know how you feel” may not be as empathetic as you think. Here’s how you can demonstrate empathy in a way to truly make your volunteers feel heard.

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solve problems just by listening
Karen Knight

Solve Problems Just by Listening

As humans, we tend to want to DO things to help others with their challenges. We want to actively assist them. Sometimes, though, you can solve problems just by listening.

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presenting to the Board
Karen Knight

Presenting to the Board

Presenting to your Board of Directors may seem scary, but if you want to advocate for your volunteers – and all volunteer leaders should! – this is where you need to start.

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volunteer magnet
Karen Knight

How to Become a Volunteer Magnet

Do you want your organization to be attractive to volunteers? Of course you do. But how? Here is a simple and easy-to-implement strategy to becoming a volunteer magnet.

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values are different
Karen Knight

When Volunteer Values are Different

When a volunteer’s values are misaligned with those of the organization that they’re serving, problems can occur. Here are some tips to getting everyone working for the same reasons.

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volunteer burnout
Karen Knight

Volunteer Burnout

Volunteer burnout is endemic in the not-for-profit world. But it’s completely preventable, if you’re willing to do what it takes. And, honestly, that’s not very much! Here are the steps you need to take.

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motivating volunteers
Karen Knight

Motivating Volunteers

By using the insights from Dan Pink’s TED talk “The Puzzle of Motivation”, you can find ways of motivating volunteers to do even the boring and unpleasant tasks you need done.

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lead strategically
Karen Knight

Four Ways to Lead Strategically

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work of running your volunteer program. If, instead, you lead strategically, you will advance your mission faster, and keep your volunteers happy and committed.

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bad things
Karen Knight

When Bad Things Happen

We don’t like to think about it, but when bad things happen the more that we HAVE thought about it, the better off we will be. Here are some things for you to think about to prevent bad things from becoming tragic.

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finding good volunteers
Karen Knight

Finding Good Volunteers

Finding good volunteers can be hard. By building meaning and flexibility into your program and roles, you can make it much easier!

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managing virtual volunteers
Karen Knight

Managing Virtual Volunteers

Many of us are still using workarounds to deal with managing virtual volunteers. This trend is not going away any time soon. It’s time to put something permanent in place.

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volunteer coordinators
Karen Knight

What Makes Good Volunteer Coordinators?

Your volunteer coordinator fills a vital role in your organization. To fill it successfully, though, they need certain skills and attributes. Here are the things to look for when recruiting a new volunteer coordinator.

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dirty work
Karen Knight

Get Your Volunteers to Embrace the Dirty Work

I am constantly told that volunteers just want to do the fun stuff. It’s hard to find people to do the hard, unglamorous, dirty work. Here are some simple ways to encourage your volunteers to do the less pleasant tasks that every not-for-profit needs done.

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team conflict
Karen Knight

Four Early Warning Signs of Team Conflict

“The best time to stop conflict is before it starts.” But how? Prevent conflict among your volunteers, or between volunteers and staff, by learning the early warning signs that things may be breaking down.

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perspective
Karen Knight

A Change of Perspective

Some people have been able to deliberately limit the patterns that they form, or at least are conscious of them.  They’re the people who come up with innovative ideas, creative solutions and who see opportunities in things that the rest of us don’t even notice. Boost your creativity and problem-solving ability with a simple change of perspective.

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