The Power of Volunteerism

Jun 5, 2012

Today’s guest post is written by Betty Stallings, speaker at our National Conference of Volunteering and Service in Chicago.
Betty Stallings, MSW,is a highly regarded international trainer, keynote speaker, consultant and author specializing in volunteer management, fundraising, leadership and board development. 

In the mid-1970s, I was looking for a significant volunteer position while at home raising my two small children. That futile effort led me to establish “The Volunteer Connection” so that community members could easily find volunteer opportunities and organizations could enhance their mission through volunteer engagement. I had no idea there were a number of “Volunteer Bureaus” across the country at that time. With a big vision, lots of energy and very few resources I engaged some volunteers who, together with me, started the Valley Volunteer Center in Pleasanton, Calif.

At its peak it had a staff of 13, and hundreds of volunteers serving its mission. We established a corporate council (early 80s), a “Borrow an Expert” program (now would be a skills-bank or pro bono program) and internship programs for re-entry women and high risk youth. We also did research on the “new volunteer”(of the 80s) and published a book entitled, “At the Heart.”

During my 14 years of experience as executive director of this creative platform in our community, I eventually connected with Volunteer: The National Center which was followed by Points of Light and then the merger with Hands On Network. I believe this is my 30th year attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Initially, I focused on learning everything I could from the fabulous trainers and practitioners in attendance and then for 25 years I served as a trainer myself and had the opportunity to share all that I have experienced and learned over the years about the POWER of volunteerism. What a journey this has been.

I am just as excited to be a part of this year’s Conference as I was the first year I attended. I look forward to seeing many friends and colleagues at the Summit for Advanced Volunteer Engagement (SAVE) and am looking forward to my session, “How to Lead an Extreme Makeover of Your Organization’s Volunteer Engagement.”

Stallings teaches at universities, provides training for state, national and international conferences and consults with many non-profit organizations, public programs, hospitals and foundations. Participants in her audiences and seminars note her vitality, inspiring message, engaging humor, practical presentations and valuable resources.  Her website is where she gives out free training resources and carries some of the best books and resources supporting volunteerism and fund development. Stallings will present at (2897) Summit on Advanced Volunteer Engagement: Leading at the Crossroads and (2366) Leading an Extreme Makeover of Your Organization’s Volunteer Engagement at Conference.