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  • From Bureaucracy to Community: Reclaiming our Community Roots in Volunteer Engagement

From Bureaucracy to Community: Reclaiming our Community Roots in Volunteer Engagement

  • 28 Oct 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Zoom
  • 76

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This workshop reimagines how we think about community engagement through volunteering. It challenges the traditional volunteer management model that is adapted from practices designed for paid employees. It draws inspiration from research on the commons to help us see volunteer engagement as more than a series of bureaucratic transactions. This alternate framework creates space in volunteerism for meaning and relationship as well as numbers and logistics.

This mindset also invites us to explore deeper questions while rooting our work in equity and belonging. Instead of: ‘how do we find more volunteers?’, we ask: ‘how do we partner with the community to achieve our common goals?’ We shift from, ‘how do we retain volunteers?’ to ‘how do we want to be in community with each other?’

This shift is powerful. It enables agencies to engage the whole person in their causes and implement service as a strategy to meet their missions. It also activates the diverse ways that individuals can contribute to and through community.

This session includes time for participants to share their observations, ask questions, and begin to apply the content using prompts and handouts.

Speaker:  Sue Carter Kahl, PhD


Sue is the President of Sue Carter Kahl Consulting and has spent her career in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Her work is infused with lessons learned as a nonprofit executive and staff member, board member, volunteer, and researcher.

Her current projects include translating research on volunteerism into practitioner-friendly workshops, blogging at Volunteer Commons, and consulting. Prior to these efforts, she led a volunteer center, served as a state commissioner on service with CaliforniaVolunteers, and co-authored a chapter in Volunteer Engagement 2.0.

Sue has a PhD in Leadership Studies from USD and is passionate about bridging practice and theory. Her research focuses on the value that volunteers bring to the organizations they serve. She volunteers as a coach for nonprofit executives through Fieldstone Leadership Network. She currently lives in San Diego but is a proud St. Louis native.

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