So you just heard about the International Year of the Volunteer 2001. It is the United Nations yearlong celebration of service and volunteers. If you want to know more visit the UN project visit their Web site, http://www.iyv2001.org/. It isn't too late to celebrate this event. Susan Ellis, of Energize, Inc. highlights a means to celebrate in your organization. Here are the steps:
Take this time to learn more about the accomplishments of your organization. Form a committee of those who enjoy reminiscing about the past. Rescue old documents that are stuffed in boxes. Make scrapbooks and posters. Capture oral history on tape for future generations.
Organize an event to share all that you learn about the history. Try to interest the news media. Highlight goals set and accomplishments met. Be sure that current volunteers are made to feel like they are part of "history," too.
Bring together volunteers and some outsiders to ask where you are going to be in the next 20 or 30 years. Invite a wide range of people-anyone with a stake in your mission. Be sure to ask people who might not agree with one another, but bring fresh ideas. This is a time to break the old ways and think about new ways.
Find out what other organizations in your community are doing. Put together a joint celebration of your history and plans for the future. A library, city hall, or community center is the place to show off what you have done.
Ellis's site is sponsoring a place to log your work. Visit http://ww.energizeinc.com and find out how to post your work. The US IYV2001 site also has a place to log your activities. The information is also being used to revise the Ellis and Campbell book, By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers.
You can also visit the US IYV2001 site for ideas on celebrations and to buy t-shirts, pins, and mugs.
It is not too late. Begin by forming an IVY2001 committee. Get the hardest workers and let the party begin!
Canada has a Canada IYV2001 Website to help plan and design your IYV celebration activities. Sponsored by Volunteer Canada, you can visit The Possibilities Catalog online or contact them at 800-670-0401.
Sometimes we limit our use of technology due to lack of knowledge. Here are some online sites to enhance your knowledge and your way of using the Internet to improve and grow your volunteer program.
Helping.org (http://www.helping.org) AOL partnered with the Benton foundation to provide an online site with help on planning, fundraising, recruiting, publicity and much more. Check out the Resources for Nonprofits.
Technology Project (http://www.eriders.org/resources.html) . This site provides information on protecting your data, using your website effectively, and other resources. It also has a set of standards useful to nonprofits.
Npower (http://www.npower.org) This sites best location is called Hands-On Technology How-To's . Don't miss it. There is also a section on online training and fundraising.
Jeanne H. Bradner a well-known and nationally respected author, consultant, trainer and speaker on volunteerism, board development and leadership is joining the writing team of Volunteer Today. She brings with her a special insight on the relationship between government and the nonprofit sector.
She is the author of the informative, inspirational book Passionate Volunteerism, the light-hearted but pungently insightful The Board Member's Guide, A Beneficial Bestiary and Leading Volunteers for Results: Building Communities Today. She is also a contributor to the John Wiley & Sons Handbook of Volunteer Management and The Nonprofit Handbook-- Management.
Career highlights include serving as Director of the Illinois Governor's Office of Voluntary Action, providing support and technical assistance to nonprofit and government efforts throughout the state. In 1990, she was appointed Midwest Regional Director of ACTION, the agency responsible for VISTA and senior volunteer programs. She is an adjunct faculty member and program specialist for the Volunteer Management Certificate Program at Illinois' Harper College. She was the 1996 recipient of the international Association for Volunteer Administration Harriet Naylor Distinguished Member Service Award.
Welcome Jeanne to the distinguished ranks of contributing authors by visiting her page on Boards and Committees.