Is Volunteering in Decline?
December 16, 2015 at 10:14 am

It’s no secret: Donors are a nonprofit’s lifeline. But money isn’t the only thing worth giving ... or getting. Yes, cash keeps the cause funded (and the office lights on), but the contributions of volunteers are worth their weight in gold. When volunteers give their time, they take an active role in the organization’s mission and pledge their support to the cause. Clearly, volunteers are valuable. But they aren’t always easy to come by...

Volunteer Leadership Means Big Money
November 13, 2015 at 8:36 am

Relay for Life sprang from nothing in 1985 to more than $400 million per year at its height. In spite of that gargantuan success, no other nonprofit has been able to put the volunteer-driven model to work in the same way. Why is that? Why have no other organizations been able to get volunteers to handle events in the same way or fundraise at the same levels?...

Are Employees and Volunteers Motivated the Same Way?
October 9, 2015 at 9:33 am

According to a recent Gallup study of 230,000 full-time and part-time workers in 142 countries, only 13 percent of people feel engaged and fulfilled by their jobs. In other words, nearly nine out of 10 adults spend half their waking lives doing things they would rather not be doing at places they would rather not be. It’s not rocket science to figure out what keeps them showing up (the paycheck) even though for them, work is more a source of frustration than fulfillment...

The Hidden Cost of Control
July 31, 2015 at 6:00 am

I was consulting with an executive with a major health-care nonprofit. She mentioned a concern about the way that organization’s staff interacted with volunteers. She felt like staff members were being too prescriptive in their instructions about fundraising, and that was probably a bad thing, although she couldn’t tell me exactly why...

Forming a Pattern for Success: Nonprofit Lessons from Polina Osherov
June 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

“You have a fashion publication in Indianapolis? Really? That you’re staffing mainly with ... volunteers?” That’s the sort of thing Polina Osherov often hears while speaking in larger cities about Pattern Magazine. Until the person actually sees the fashion publication—and hears her story. Then it’s instant respect.

Celebrating Your Volunteers
March 26, 2015

Kudos to those dedicated nonprofit development professionals who celebrate their volunteers. Those who know — and believe — that it's about people, not money.

I Am a Paid Volunteer Fundraiser
February 27, 2015

"We pay volunteers to fundraise." Even as I write this sentence I realize that the words themselves sound ludicrous. And yet, I see my nonprofit clients try to do it over and over.