Revised again by popular demand! Still the only book that addresses the top decision-maker's role in developing a strategy and resources for high-quality volunteer engagement. It explains fundamental subjects that must be considered at the top executive level, including developing a vision for volunteer involvement, creating policies and setting expectations, budgeting and finding funds to support volunteers, hiring the best staff leader, assessing the impact of volunteer contributions, and dealing with legal, risk management, and insurance issues.
What’s New to the 2010 Edition
Information on managing volunteer involvement during an economic downturn, dealing with resistance by middle managers, the evolving vocabulary of volunteerism, new types of volunteering such as online service and voluntourism, the difference between a wage equivalency calculation and the true value of volunteers to an organization, and much more.
A Primary Reference for the Certification in Volunteer Administration exam.
Wish you could get your boss to pay attention to volunteer management trends and issues? Maybe get him or her to read a volunteer program-related book (or even a chapter)? Learn a dozen strategies for gaining the attention and support of top agency administrators by downloading the free booklet, “Stalking the Elusive Executive.”
A Perfect Companion Book: Practical Tools for Busy Executives
Put the concepts in From the Top Down to work with easy to use tools. Betty Stallings and Susan Ellis have produced Leading the Way to Successful Volunteer Involvement: Practical Tools for Busy Executives, a companion toolkit of examples, worksheets, checklists, and more to guide decision makers in implementing what they learn in From the Top Down. Order both books for 1 special price and save!
Table of Contents
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This book is an invaluable guide to leading successful volunteer involvement from one of the leading volunteer management experts in the world. In this compelling third edition, Susan offers tools and resources to guide the development of a volunteer participation strategy from concept to reality. It is foundational reading for anyone who wants to engage volunteers in building organizational capacity and achieving impact.
— Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and Co-Founder of HandsOn Network
This new edition of the classic From The Top Down is very timely and welcome. Susan clearly explains the issues and challenges involved in one of the most overlooked areas of volunteer management—senior level support for the volunteer programme. Susan suggests practical actions for executives to tackle volunteer-related issues from the top, making this an essential resource for our field. I read this book in the early days of my career in volunteering and it remains with me to this day one of the “must read” books for anyone leading and managing volunteers and volunteer programmes.
— Rob Jackson, Director of Development and Innovation, Volunteering England
I have learned a lot about volunteer delivery systems over the years but [From the Top Down] put it all into perspective and in a practical, realistic way. It also helps reinforce why the Everyone Ready® [online training in volunteer management] modules are so relevant and practical. I’m going to figure out how to encourage Extension administrators to read this book!
— Sheri Seibold, Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development, University of Illinois Extension
Why should you [the director of volunteers] read this book? As a middle manager you need to sell the "Whys" of the volunteer program...Executive directors are constantly thinking vision, mission and execution of the entire organization, and they should. But so often they aren't thinking about volunteers...Enter you. To increase the impact of volunteers on your organization, you need to sell them...I would recommend that you get this book, read it and develop your short and powerful presentation—ten really cool essentials that volunteers bring to your organization.
— Thomas McKee, Founder, Volunteerpower.com
If your volunteer program is losing steam, this book will get it rolling. If your program is thriving, this book will validate the good work already being done. Either way, the book is a winner.
— Front and Centre, January 1996
...a comprehensive structured approach to designing and administering volunteer programs...
— Foundations News
A classic...should be read by both the executive director and coordinator of volunteers. Susan is simply one of the best writers and thinkers in the field.
— Celeste Wroblewski, Associate Director for Volunteer Development,
YMCA of the USA national office
...should be required reading for agency directors and for those in the field looking to build credibility and speak the corporate language necessary to communicate our value to administrators.
— Karen King, Volunteer Manager, John Ball Zoological Garden
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Keys to Success
The first step to volunteer engagement success is vision. Volunteers can expand the horizons of your organization and your staff. Encourage volunteers to be creative and innovative partners in service delivery, and then expect the best. Self-fulfilling prophecy is a key factor. If your concept of what volunteers can contribute is limited, you will design a volunteering structure that indeed keeps achievement low. But if you are open to the potential of what might develop, you will find ways to encourage volunteers’ success.
The second step is commitment. You must have the conviction that volunteers are important—that they are the “nonsalaried personnel” of the agency. Volunteers are not “added spice” to your organizational mix; they are one of the main ingredients. As top executive, you can establish and enforce this premise throughout your organization.
As we will examine in the first chapter, it is important to have a clear understanding of why volunteers are valuable in your setting. Articulating the reasons for involving volunteers is an executive level responsibility, and it forms the foundation on which your organization will build its volunteer participation.
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