Image of Volunteering

The materials in this section portray volunteering to the public in a range of ways -- from negative stereotypes to overly-positive hype.

Bring the Media Blitz Home
From Susan J. Ellis, President, Energize, Inc.

Chances are, at least for anyone watching American television, that you told volunteers to be on the lookout for mentions of service on TV and elsewhere during the week of October 19th. Even though the media blitz was something of a bust, you can still make use of it as a conversation starter. Here are some ideas:

  • Run a contest for who saw the most mentions of the word "volunteer" and where.
  • Hold a brown-bag lunch to discuss what volunteers (and paid staff) thought about the storylines or public service announcements they saw. Did they feel the messages represented them? How or how not?
  • Talk about how volunteering for your organization might be incorporated into the storyline of a popular show. Which characters would make good volunteer additions to your team? If you like the ideas generated, write them up and send them to the show's producers, with a copy to the Entertainment Industry Foundation. You never know!
  • Again if some fun ideas surface, "act out" the scenarios at your next volunteer party or recognition event. Find pictures of the actors involved and make masks for the skit players to wear as they speak the lines of fantasy dialogue the characters would have in doing or talking about their volunteer work.
Sharing Our History of Volunteers
Submitted by

At Energize, we have a special interest in documenting the history of volunteers. Our president, Susan J. Ellis, co-authored the book: By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers, New Century Edition. We encourage all organizations and collaborative efforts to celebrate  volunteers today by showcasing them as the current step in a continuum of volunteer action from the past and therefore the next step to future service. This is a great way to recognize volunteers and educate the public about their importance. [You can also read Susan's original "Hot Topic" introducing this idea and see what colleagues said in reply.] On this page, we share how others have celebrated the history of their volunteers, plus provide links to pages that can help you develop or share your projects.