Hello to all Volunteer Management Hot Topic readers from – yes! – Susan herself. It's the first new piece I've written since November 2017, which certainly feels like progress to me. Thank you to so many of you who have sent me well wishes as I battle cancer. Plus, enormous gratitude to the Energize staff and consultants who have been so successfully continuing to serve our customers and colleagues during all these months.
For the past 10 months, I've been in hospitals, hospices, and home care. Now, I have my independence—at home on my own! (I am working on getting my driver's license renewed and have restarted chemo treatments.) In the first four months or so I was in and out of consciousness and expected not to recover. Wrong! To the surprise of doctors and friends, I began to retrieve my speech and energy. While I have not been into the Energize office yet, the glory of computers and cell phones allows me to keep in touch when possible. However, I am not officially “working,” since my physical self needs to rest several times a day.
Everyone who has contacted Energize during these months has received the same attention and service as always by a range of our staff members. The Hot Topics, as one example, have continued monthly, written by staff and colleagues, and our extensive website keeps being updated and is very active. The online bookstore, e-Volunteerism journal, and Everyone Ready® online volunteer management training program are all being kept current and available to you.
All our services will continue and evolve as necessary to meet your needs. (And, we'd love to hear from you about what other things we might do to help you engage volunteers most effectively.)
Energize Moving Forward
I do not anticipate returning to work full time, but I do want to keep active with Energize in many ways, especially as an advisor to the staff and as a writer and editor. But that's OK! Why? Because of the extraordinary people who are part of our team.
We've been adding consultants since I was first diagnosed six years ago and now it's all taking shape. You can read about all our current team members at these pages:
Note our relationships with the authors of the books we sell, the writers of articles for e-Volunteerism, and the presenters in our online training sessions.
Most important, Energize is committed to continuing and expanding the training and consultation we offer to colleagues, live at your events and also via online tools. Sheri Wilensky Burke, Betsy McFarland, and Rob Jackson have all been delivering such presentations to Energize clients beyond their work on Everyone Ready and e-Volunteerism. If you’d like to work with any of our consultants and trainers, just use our Contact Us form and we’ll be in touch to assess your needs and help you take the next steps toward improving your volunteer engagement.
Please also recognize that we are the only volunteerism consulting firm that has actively recognized and promoted volunteering internationally and engaged knowledgeable people from around the world. Our colleagues are based throughout the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. Wherever you are, we can help you – or we can find people to help you.
Help via Technology
Most important is that Energize will continue to provide training and consultation to individual organizations and events. Keep in mind that Skype is a powerful tool! While many of our folks will be happy to travel to your location, we can also work with you remotely – in a wonderful, personal way. We'll keep explaining this option to you, as it is especially great for keynote speeches and for ongoing consultation meetings. Skype is truly a two-way communication tool. And it saves lots of travel money, too.
Our Role as the Field's Archivists
While most people know the Energize website A-Z Volunteer Management Library, you may not be aware of our on-site library of printed materials: published books, journals in the field (since they began publishing in the 1960s), conference handouts, and a wide range of organizational archive materials. FYI, I have been collecting materials since I began in the field in 1971. Ivan Scheier – who had been given a major part of Harriet Naylor's collection before she died – passed everything he had to me about ten years ago. So, we have well over 2,000 items and want to keep this unique resource going for the field.
Over the next year or so, we will try to find financial sponsors to create a nonprofit volunteerism study center. Of course, we'll keep you all posted on what's happening with this idea. Ideally, we would love to become an archive for historic organizational documents for all of you, too.
Keeping You Involved in Energize
I hope I've been able to convey the hard work that everyone has done, especially suddenly filling in for me with no warning. Most important, however, is the excitement we are generating about new ideas for the future. On our side, we promise to keep you updated on our plans, asking for your input as often as possible (but don't wait to be asked, go ahead and submit your input below or on our Contact Us form!).
We’d love to hear about how Energize has assisted you in the past and what support and resources you need going forward.
- What did you value most about our services in the past? How could we improve those services?
- What are other things we might do to help you engage volunteers most effectively?
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