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~ June 2002 ~
  • Volunteer Today Remodels Its Bookstore
  • Changes at Volunteer Today
  • Must Reads for Leaders
  • Volunteer Administration Training
  • e-Coaching
  • Conference in the UK

Volunteer Today Remodels Its Bookstore

Interested in books or kits on working with volunteers or boards? Visit the newly "remodeled" Volunteer Bookstore. You can order online, using a credit card, behind a secure "fire wall." You can see pictures of the books and read about the content. And shipping is your choice-fast or pony express!

The snappy new design is due to Laura Bunt our intrepid Web Master, Ruben Bybee of Blue Mountain Internet, and Sara Strickland-the scanner master! It is also so you can find resources in a timely way to run your program more effectively.

Changes at Volunteer Today

The new Bookstore site has kept us hopping for months and it still has some kinks we are working out. It has been a big change for our readers and us. More changes are in the offing.

Georgean Johnson-Coffey has been the writer of "Tech Tips" for some time. She is passing the wand of writing to Michael Stills. Michael is a long time volunteer manager of a county program. He is currently working on his Master's degree in Nonprofit Management at Regis College in Colorado. In addition to writing papers he is joining the VT staff as writer of Tech Tips. He well versed and experienced in this area, even spearheading an online chat for government volunteer managers during the Points of Light annual National Community Service campaign in 1999. He is currently working with the International Conference on Volunteer Administration as the head of the technology team. His view and vision for the use of technology in the volunteer scheme of things is growing daily. We are quite happy he has agreed to take on this challenge.

While Michael is coming aboard, Georgean is not leaving Volunteer Today. She is working with Publisher and Senior Editor, Nancy Macduff to create a page for government-based volunteer programs. It will be several months until this is launched as we seek writers from four levels of government programs; local, state, federal, and military. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting new offering.

Must Reads for Leaders

The Harvard Business Review, in its December 2001 issue focused solely on leadership. One article included must read books or material on leadership. If you are looking to promote or want to be a leader in your field, here are the authors whose work is important to leadership. Give them a read.

Niccolo Machiavelli The much-maligned Italian from 1513 is a relevant today as he was in his own day. His work is shocking, insightful, and challenging. He says things like the leader should ". . . think how to avoid those things that make him (her) hateful and contemptible."
Thomas Carlyle Do the times make the woman or the woman impact the times. This 19th century critic and historian tackle this topic with zeal and dare people to disagree with his position on the importance of the single person to the course of human events.
Sigmund Freud The main focus of Freud's work addressed issues of power and influence. He was writing about the human need for authority in the early 1920's just prior to the rise of leaders such as Stalin and Hitler.
Hannah Arendt This political philosopher focused most on followers, rather than leaders. She wondered how people could suppress their own needs to follow people less interested in them than in controlling and dominating. The Origins of Totalitarianism is a must read for aspiring leaders in the age of terrorism.
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison These men wrote the Federalist papers following the American Revolution. Some writers and historians maintain that revolution is easy, but what system will follow the over throw of the old order. In many cases the same dictatorial policies that guided the old order are so imbedded in the revolutionaries that the "new" order is just the old order with new faces. (Cuba and China often given as examples of this). The American Revolution was blessed to have thinker and writers who stumbled with some bad choices, but eventually defined leadership in a way that the "grand experiment" has survived years with little change. And while you at it you might re-read the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Not bad documents for a leader to follow.

Volunteer Administration Training

Research by Drew Dolan, reported in an article in Nonprofit and Management Journal, Spring 2002, shows that administrators of nonprofit organizations are desirous of more training in the area of volunteer administration. The author surveyed over 600 nonprofit managers. The primary concern for training by these people was in such things as fundraising, grants writing, and the like.

In that most college programs that train nonprofit executives cover such material, Dolan eliminated those choices in his analysis to see the second tier of needs for training by administrators. Volunteer administration training topped the list with, building and maintaining cooperative elements right behind it. Planning was high in the second tier, as well.

In a rigorous statistical analysis of variables (type and size of organization), the author concluded that different variables have little influence over the perceived training needs of administrators in nonprofit organizations. Translated that means that no matter the type or size of the organization, volunteer administrators identified the same needs for their own training.

The author urges colleges and universities to look beyond fundraising in planning curriculum for nonprofit volunteer managers. This article is an additional appeal to volunteer managers in nonprofits to consider inviting their executives or leaders to attend such conferences as the International Conference on Volunteer Administration, sponsored by AVA or the National Community Service Conference, sponsored by Points of Light. If good local training is available, make sure the administrator is aware of it. The more they know about volunteer management the easier your job could be!


The Internet is rife with online courses and resources, but its most dramatic impact may be the way it can connect people over time and distance. E-coaching is a new role for the Internet, but one that can aid in training people.

The e-coach is like a personal trainer, only of the developmental type. Learning is an exchange. The e-coach can help someone assess their skills, connect them to the right resources to enhance those skills, and monitor progress. They can be available over time and distance, as well.

Face to face coaching happens in 3 to twenty minute bursts, according to most research. New technology can enhance leadership development in a more spontaneous and interactive way for those who might not work together on a daily basis.

Imagine coaching a volunteer through a new task assignment with online assignments before they begin, introductions to others doing similar tasks (volunteers and staff), and then monitoring progress as time goes on.

Conference in the UK

The eighth annual Researching the Voluntary Sector Conference is being held September 3-4, 2002 in Nottingham, UK. The conference organizers are seeking papers from the UK and other countries. The two-day event is a unique meeting place for researchers and practitioners from the voluntary sector, universities, and those who are policy makers.

Topics covered at the conference in papers include such things as the voluntary sector and community sector in a changing political climate, the role of the sector in building social capital, and community capacity building to name a few. Abstracts of papers, 400-600 words, should be submitted to NCVO by June 7, 2002. For more information contact Jayne Blackborow at or 020 7520 2484.


Close to 200 colleges and universities offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management. They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of these colleges. A full list resides at Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.

Copyright 2002 by Nancy Macduff.

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