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Building a Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community

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  • Posted December 3, 2009

    Great Resource for Volunteers in the Not-for-profit Jewish Organizational World

    For both the professional and the volunteer in the not-for-profit organizational world, Rabbi Charles Simon has written a most useful book. The reader will find in it many interesting anecdotes and useful insights into the culture of volunteer Jewish organizations as well as meaningful, motivational techniques that are universal in their application.

    The book may be read methodically from beginning to end--or selectively, based on need and interest, and find useful resources for thinking through the challenges that many of us face in giving our time to the volunteer organizational world and servicing its needs.
    I found much in the book to recommend it.


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  • Posted November 23, 2009

    Accessible, practical, and profound wisdom for volunteers and professionals

    Building a Successful Volunteer Culture can serve as a training manual for all who lead (and aspire to lead) in volunteer-based organizations, whether as professional staff or as lay volunteers. A treasure trove of practical wisdom based on the author's almost four decades in the field, the style is casual and anecdotal, rather than systematic and academic - but underneath the deceptively simple presentation is a well thought-out and consistent approach to the basics of organizational life in the non-profit world. While written from the specific perspective of Jewish organizations, the book has much wider applicability.

    Rabbi Simon offers a convincing case for creating values-based organizations, and demonstrates how to do so with engaging and apt examples. Chapters cover the key topics - understanding and shaping organizational culture, cultivating and supporting volunteers, the ins and outs of boards and committees, succession planning, and board-staff dynamics. Separate chapters treat issues of difficult volunteers and the wisdom of gender-based approaches.

    The author's style is accessible and engaging. Even more, the values he espouses are evident in every anecdote and bit of advice: optimism, trust, a deep and lived commitment to inclusion, flexibility, creativity, empathy, and a belief that people can be empowered to be effective volunteers and leaders.

    The book is a must for all who wants to help the organizations they care about become people-centered and effective, particularly necessary attributes in these days of an apparent scarcity of volunteers. I have already made sure that my successor as board chair of the organization I've been most devoted to for the past several years has a copy!

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  • Posted November 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An easy read with great insight to volunteerism. I highly recommend to all volunteers who want to be a leader in their organization

    An easy read with great insight to volunteerism. I highly recommend to all volunteers who want to be a leader in their organization

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  • Posted November 18, 2009

    A Great Resource!

    As someone who works in community organizations on a local and national level, I found Charles Simon's new book most helpful. One of the most difficult challenges in working in a volunteer culture is to continually motivate and involve volunteers to give their best efforts. This book through vignette and direct advice provides the perfect roadmap to success.

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    A must read for building a volunteer organization

    Rabbi Simon brings hands on experience to the subject of building a volunteer organization. As the title expresses, it's more than step A, B and C. It's about the creation of culture. It is therefore refreshing to hear true stories that communicate the subtitle actions that produce big results.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    An amazing book that cuts right to the heart of the issue

    I really loved this book. If you are someone in charge of volunteers or if you are a volunteer in a non-profit organization, this book is a must read! It cuts right to the core of what can make or break an organization when it comes to finding and holding on to the best volunteers. Rabbi Simon has the experience and the knowledge to speak to what organizations do right, and what happens when they don't support their volunteers. Thank you Rabbi Simon for your contribution to this topic on behalf of all of us who volunteer our time for good causes.

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