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Susan Ellis

Susan Ellis's Articles

  • Accountability And Reporting

    By Susan Ellis — October 5, 2015

    Volunteers need to be responsive to procedures

    You put effort into recruiting the most qualified volunteers, orienting and training them to accomplish needed work, and assigning them to a project. Once they are contributing their hours, you need to keep informed about exactly what they are doing. Collecting the number of hours volunteers serve is not at all the same as understanding how they fill that time.

  • VIOs & AVOs: The other half of the volunteer world

    By Susan Ellis — June 2, 2015

    Those employed in nonprofit and public agencies hear the word volunteer and generally picture someone working side-by-side with the paid staff. Such settings are called volunteer-involving organizations (VIOs). But there is a huge other arena in which volunteers are both workers and managers. That is all-volunteer organizations (AVOs) such as civic and service clubs, small faith communities, co-ops of various kinds, self-help groups, hobby clubs, professional societies and lots of other membership associations.

  • Receive And Give

    By Susan Ellis — October 31, 2014

    Volunteers with a direct, personal connection to the work of an organization are often conspicuous by their absence, particularly in human service agencies. These are recipients of service, their families and friends, or people in the facility’s immediate neighborhood. These are the folks the staff serves, and therefore are not always recognized as a source of talent.

  • The Organizational Chart

    By Susan Ellis — September 2, 2014

    The question of where to “place” responsibility for the administration of volunteer involvement surfaces repeatedly, with no agreement upon standard practice. While there is no definitely right or wrong department or level in an organization where volunteers belong, where they appear on the organizational chart sends a message as to their importance.

  • Who Is A Volunteer?

    By Susan Ellis — April 1, 2014

    The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is close to becoming a questionable jobs program — aided and abetted by financially-strapped nonprofit organizations. What’s the evidence for this provocative assertion? Let’s start with some history.

  • Controversy

    By Susan Ellis — October 1, 2013

    In his brief spot on NPR recently, sports writer and commentator Frank Deford noted that 16,000 volunteers had been recruited to help at the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey slated for Feb. 2, 2014. Remarking on the millions of dollars involved in this commercial event, he asked: “Why would anybody volunteer to work for free for the Super Bowl? Would you volunteer to work free for Netflix or Disney World?”

  • Executive Self-Quiz

    By Susan Ellis — July 1, 2013

    Most would consider it a responsibility of executives to be well informed about the organizations they lead. They do not have to memorize every statistic, but ought to be able to speak knowledgeably about what services are being provided and to which clients or consumers, how much funding has been obtained and from what sources, the numbers and qualifications of employees.

  • To-Ga. To-Ga. To-Ga

    By Susan Ellis — May 31, 2013

    ‘Tis the season to say thank you to volunteers. With the impetus of National Volunteer Week the third week of April and the Conference on Volunteering and Service this month, students leaving as their semesters end, and various programs winding down for the summer (or gearing up), there’s a calendar full of volunteer recognition luncheons and dinner banquets.

  • Young Volunteers

    By Susan Ellis — December 31, 2012

    The television news show "60 Minutes" aired a feature story this past November on “Children Helping Children.” It centered on Craig Kielburger, who at age 12 took action against child labor and exploitation in Pakistan, eventually recruiting his friends to the cause and founding Free the Children. Some 17 years later it is an international charity with more than 1.7 million youth involved in education and development programs in 45 countries.

  • Funding ‘Free’

    By Susan Ellis — November 1, 2012

    It’s a paradox. In a bad economy, more people are in need of the services provided by nonprofits just as it gets harder to raise funds for those services. People see that volunteers are important and organizations try to recruit more of them.

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Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.


Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!

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