All Volunteer Groups: About This Feature Area

Volume I, Issue 2, December 2001

By Melissa Eystad, Editor

Welcome to the new feature section -- "All-Volunteer Groups"! In this and future issues of e-Volunteerism, we will explore the many facets of volunteer groups and efforts that function with minimal or no paid staff. It is not an easy topic to define or describe, as it encompasses all the diversity and complexities of human relationships and community life. We hope to explore the challenges and issues all-volunteer groups share with more formal, staffed volunteer programs and organizations, and perhaps even look at why some groups feel they are more successful without paid staff!

Although we know that many of our early subscribers are paid volunteer administrators, we also realize that e-Volunteerism offers a unique opportunity to serve as a bridge between the paid and all-volunteer worlds. Those who are considered professionals in the field of volunteer administration have long lamented the lack of connection with the "vast, untapped realm" of volunteer groups. These include membership organizations, special interest volunteer groups, volunteer firefighters, animal humane groups, grassroots advocacy organizations, self-help groups, among many, many others. Our goal in introducing "All-Volunteer Groups" to e-Volunteerism is to provide a place for both worlds to share information and resources, ultimately helping to strengthen both the paid and unpaid worlds of volunteer leadership and management.

In future issues of e-Volunteerism, we hope to explore some of these topics and questions, among others:

  • The differences in psychology between "volunteering" and "joining as a member"

  • Out-of-the-box thinking in volunteer leadership and group structure

  • The trend toward volunteering for recreation and socialization

  • How long-lived, all-volunteer groups change to stay relevant

  • Gender issues in volunteer groups and volunteer leadership

  • How to get all-volunteer groups to move from passive to active membership

  • The special challenges of hybrid organizations (those that are volunteer-based and volunteer-dependent, but have some paid staff)

  • The role of service clubs in communities

  • The similarities and differences between the roles and functions of all-volunteer groups within different cultures and governments

  • How we can find a common language to help us create a bridge between the formal and informal worlds of volunteerism

Share Ideas
Do you have a hot topic for "All-Volunteer Groups"? Would you like to share a Best Practice from your all-volunteer group? Do you know someone that you think would have something valuable to share about "All-Volunteer Groups"? Send an email to eystad53@spacestar.net, and we can discuss your ideas for future articles for this section.

Kick-off Piece
To kick-off this new content section, we are pleased to be able to offer an overview of an exciting study undertaken by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services of the San Francisco and San Jose, CA, area:

Flying Under the Radar: The Significant Work of All-Volunteer Organizations

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