Building a Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community [NOOK Book]

Overview

A step-by-step guide to cultivating volunteers who thrive within the Jewish community.

We can never forget that volunteering is a two-way street. Volunteers must be motivated, but volunteer organizations also need to maximize volunteer satisfaction. Blaming one or the other for the failures prevalent today in the world of Jewish volunteering helps no one. The search is for a win-win strategy.
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Building a Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community

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Overview

A step-by-step guide to cultivating volunteers who thrive within the Jewish community.

We can never forget that volunteering is a two-way street. Volunteers must be motivated, but volunteer organizations also need to maximize volunteer satisfaction. Blaming one or the other for the failures prevalent today in the world of Jewish volunteering helps no one. The search is for a win-win strategy.
from the Introduction

Cultivating successful volunteers in the twenty-first century is increasingly more challenging. Budgets are tight, hands are few, and competition for a persons discretionary time is severe. How do you develop and maintain the volunteers who are essential to the vitality of your organization and community? What can you do to avoid volunteer burnout?

Rabbi Charles Simon draws on over thirty years of professional experience to provide you with the resources you need to build and retain a thriving volunteer culture for your organizationregardless of size or complexity. In a straightforward, accessible style, Simon provides you with:

  • Methods for analyzing your organizations needs
  • Innovative ways for creating an environment that strengthens volunteer involvement and satisfaction while increasing your organizations effectiveness
  • Plans for developing or modifying your leadership framework, positions and styles
  • The groundwork for creating a language of inclusion that will motivate and inspire your volunteers
  • Practical tips for establishing healthy, meaningful interpersonal relationships with and among your volunteers
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Warm and user-friendly … effectively shares insights into the many facets of what it takes to nurture and sustain a successful volunteer-professional culture where everyone feels they can make a difference."
Doug Barden, executive director, Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ)

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of virtually every well-run Jewish organization. [This] book provides astute advice to professionals and laypeople who want to maximize this precious resource.”
Rabbi Ellen Flax, foundation and nonprofit consultant; project consultant, STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal)

“The book for which Jewish leadership has been waiting. Wise and practical, principled and realistic, deeply value driven and pragmatic ... should be required reading for all organizational leadership—professional and volunteer.... Important and highly useful.”
Rabbi Irwin Kula, president, CLAL—The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

“A rich, informative, and upbeat guide to unlocking the latent power of volunteers…. A must-read for anyone—inside or outside the Jewish community—who wants to empower, invigorate, and stimulate a rich volunteer culture.”
Dana Raucher, executive director, The Samuel Bronfman Foundation

“Makes it possible for us to re-invent our institutions to better meet the needs of today's communities, and to elevate curious individuals into roles of real leadership and vision…. You and your community will both benefit from this wonderful book.”
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies; vice president, American Jewish University

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter - Rachel M. Minkin
Does your synagogue rely heavily on volunteers? Are you a volunteer at your shul? If you answered "yes" to either question, chances are you've experienced motivation issues. How does an institution (not just a synagogue) motivate members to volunteer? And as a volunteer, what keeps members motivated? Rabbi Charles Simon, executive director of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, tackles these issues from both an organization’s and a volunteer’s perspectives. Using his own experiences as examples, Rabbi Simon illustrates how synagogues might overburden or scare away potential volunteers as well as how organizations can deal with “problematic” volunteers. The solution, according to Rabbi Simon, is to analyze the requirements of the synagogue as well as those of the volunteers and match the passions of the volunteers with the needs of the organization. This is not necessarily an easy task: leaders must address questions about their leadership style and how they manage problematic situations and people. In this easily readable, entertaining book, Rabbi Simon does not just provide easy answers. This book serves as a guide and template for leaders and volunteers alike. Strongly recommended for synagogue collections of any size, as well as other secular non-profits leaning more and more on volunteers.
Jewish Media Review - Dov Peretz Elkins
Rabbi Simon's new book is a step-by-step guide to cultivating volunteers who thrive within the Jewish community.

"We can never forget that volunteering is a two-way street. Volunteers must be motivated, but volunteer organizations also need to maximize volunteer satisfaction. Blaming one or the other for the failures prevalent today in the world of Jewish volunteering helps no one. The search is for a win-win strategy."

—from the Introduction

Cultivating successful volunteers in the twenty-first century is increasingly more challenging. Budgets are tight, hands are few, and competition for a person’s discretionary time is severe. How do you develop and maintain the volunteers who are essential to the vitality of your organization and community? What can you do to avoid volunteer burnout?

Rabbi Charles Simon draws on over thirty years of professional experience to provide you with the resources you need to build and retain a thriving volunteer culture for your organization—regardless of size or complexity. In a straightforward, accessible style, Simon provides you with:

• Methods for analyzing your organization’s needs

• Innovative ways for creating an environment that strengthens volunteer involvement and satisfaction while increasing your organization’s effectiveness

• Plans for developing or modifying your leadership framework, positions and styles

• The groundwork for creating a language of inclusion that will motivate and inspire your volunteers

• Practical tips for establishing healthy, meaningful interpersonal relationships with and among your volunteers

This book is must reading for every synagogue and organizational leader in the Jewish community.

Rabbi Charles Simon is executive director of the 30,000-member Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs. He has been developing vehicles to increase volunteer involvement for more than thirty years. He is the author of books on improving community prayer, a regular contributor to CJ Voices of Conservative/Masorti Judaism Magazine and a contributor to Commentary Magazine and Reform Judaism. He teaches regularly at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Jaffe and Associates Mersky
Someone recently gave me a copy of "Building a Successful Volunteer Culture – Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community." (You can view the book at http://www.jewishlights.com/) Since a portion of our clients are religious-based organizations, I thought I would skim it to see what gems I would find to share with the MJA learning community at-large. And while the book is definitely speaking to a certain population – I think all nonprofits could benefit from some of the thinking shared by Rabbi Charles Simon.

In particular, a section on “The Language of inclusion” Rabbi Simon states, quite well, that, ”For non-for-profit organizations to meet the challenge of changing motivations and demographics, Jewish Communities must understand that they are in direct competition with the leisure market.” Obviously, this is true of all nonprofits. People must choose to volunteer, attend an event or sit on a committee instead of going for a hike, seeing the latest movie or going to drinks with friends. With increasing demands on our limited free time – enticing someone to spend it involved with a nonprofit is not always easy.

That is why it is crucial to understand your current and potential consumer as well as their “nature, habits and characteristics” will help you create words and, ideally, a connection that will feel inclusive and enticingThe challenge of the month is to consider whether your organization's literature feels inclusive or exclusive. Underline 3 sections that give proof to your conclusion and consider 3 ways that you can alter and improve the impression you are giving to those who are not on the inside. At least they are not on the inside yet.

The Tisch: Rabbi Menachem Creditor's Blog - Rabbi Menachem
A wonderful review of Rabbi Chuck Simon's book "Building a Successful Volunteer Culture" -Shalom Chevreh -

A great resource, written by Rabbi Chuck Simon (exec VP of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs), is "Building a Successful Volunteer Culture" (Jewish Lights: http://bit.ly/5sE61x) came out just a few months ago. A number of shuls have begun working with Chuck's book as a leadership-training resource for boards and professionals, and I recommend it highly.

Here is a wonderful review of "Building a Successful Volunteer Culture" by Sherry Israel, and the amazon link for the book is here: http://bit.ly/5sE61x.

kol tuv, menachem

Accessible, practical, and profound wisdom for volunteers and professionals -Sherry Israel, Newton, MA-

Building a Successful Volunteer Culture can serve as a training manual for all who lead (and aspire to lead) in volunteerbased 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 interesting 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 want 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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580236263
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 766 KB

Meet the Author

Rabbi Charles Simon, executive director of the 30,000-member Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, has been developing vehicles to increase volunteer involvement for more than thirty years. He is the author of Building a Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish Community, several books on improving community prayer, a regular contributor to CJ Voices of Conservative/Masorti Judaism Magazine and a contributor to Commentary Magazine and Reform Judaism. He teaches regularly at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and American Jewish University in Los Angeles.

Rabbi Charles Simon is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Could You Attend Chelsea's Wedding?
  • The Status of Intermarrieds in Conservative Judaism
  • he Leadership Dilemma
  • Creating a Successful Volunteer Culture (Two-Three Lectures)
  • Where are the Men and What Does This Mean?

Shelley Lindauer has been the executive director of Women of Reform Judaism since 2003. Her path to professional Jewish communal service began as a volunteer at Temple Sinai of Roslyn Heights, New York, where she eventually became executive vice president. Formerly, she was president of Media Alternatives Group, Inc., and Shelley Lindauer, CPA, PC.

Dr. Ron Wolfson, visionary educator and inspirational speaker, is Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles and a cofounder of Synagogue 3000. He is author of Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community; The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth; Be Like God: God's To-Do List for Kids; God's To-Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God's Work on Earth; Hanukkah, Passover and Shabbat, all Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs Art of Jewish Living family guides to spiritual celebrations; The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community; A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort: A Guide to Jewish Bereavement and Comfort; and, with Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, What You Will See Inside a Synagogue (all Jewish Lights), a book for children ages 6 and up. He contributed to May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor, Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef, All These Vows—Kol Nidre, and We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet (all Jewish Lights).

Dr. Ron Wolfson is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Building Good Tents: Envisioning the Synagogue of the Future
  • God's To-Do List
  • The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven
  • Blessings and Kisses: The Power of the Jewish Family
  • A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort

Click here to contact the author.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Why Risk Raising Your Hand?
1 How Can I Fit In? Deconstructing Organizational Culture
2 From Babel Back to Eden: Creating a Language of Inclusion
3 Cultivating Volunteers: Deconstructing Basic Myths
4 The Board of Directors: Is the Herring Rotten in the Head?
5 How Do We Work Together?
The Volunteer-Staff Dynamic
6 The Committee: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
7 The Nominating Committee: My Way or God's Way
8 Cultivating Leadership: Balancing the Seesaw
9 When Things Are Just Not Working: The Perennial President and Other Problematic People
10 When Leadership Is Lacking
11 Bigger, But Does It Mean Better? From Independent Minyanim to Cathedral Congregations
12 Where Did the Guys Go? Why Male Volunteerism Has Declined
13 Cracking the Glass Ceiling: Hearing the Female Perspective
Suggestions for Further Reading

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

    BLF

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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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