professional development for volunteer managers
Now You Know: Volunteer Management Skills From Surprising Sources

Professional development for volunteer managers is one of my favorite topics lately.  One way to do it on the cheap is to listen to podcasts and read books. I’m always on the lookout for those that make me think differently about my practice and boost my volunteer management skills.

Yesterday, my friend Caty and I were chatting about our favorites. This quickly evolved into sending email lists back and forth.  I thought I’d share mine with you, too.  The books are on my summer reading list; the podcasts are some of my faves.

By the way, none of these are about nonprofits or volunteerism, but they do offer fresh ideas and inspiration you might be able to use…and sometimes everyone just needs a little bit of fun.

Love These Podcasts! 

  1. Comedy Bang Bang – Just for fun, it depends on the episode. The one with Tenacious D (Episode 57) is naturally hilarious.
  2. Seth Godin’s Start Up School – He always makes me think in new ways about my biz; are you in the midst of a volunteer program start up or renovation? Why not think like an entrepreneur?
  3. The Lede – The Copyblogger folks are simply the best at content marketing…sometimes I “emulate” their landing page copy. LOL! Their techniques can also help build nonprofit supporters.
  4. HBR IdeaCast – Once in a while I choose a topic that is near-ish my wheelhouse. Sometimes it’s just fun to hear how corporate and business school wonks think. It is quite different than how we in the nonprofit sector do.
  5. The TED Radio Hour – I don’t always have time to watch TED Talks, but they’re great to listen to in the car. These bring topics together in an hour-long format, versus the traditional 15-minute video…and don’t we all fantasize that someday we’d be that person on the stage telling our story?
  6. The Lively Show – Caty recommended this one, and I’m a convert! I like her upbeat messages about balance and focus.
  7. The Solopreneur Hour – This is great for anyone who works from home or has a great deal of control over their workflow. I love hearing about the behind the scenes lives and productivity tips for people who are in charge of their work day. Yes, folks, we sometimes do work in our PJs!!
  8. StoryCorps – This is human interest all the way, and helps me understand why people do what they do. I wish I could listen more often! It’s always such a feel good!

Book List for Some Light Reading

  1. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help – This first on my list. When you’re a business person, you must get comfortable with selling. I’m hoping it will help me embrace “the ask” more fully!
  2. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others – Another good book on the sales process; it might help you with volunteer recruitment, too.
  3. The Tao of Twitter – I bout this quick read just because I really have no clue what I’m doing on social media half the time!
  4. Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect – I think this will help with marketing AND community AND volunteerism; I know humans have a compassion gene, but I want to know more.  Our core behavior is all about self-interest and survival!
  5. The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace – I’m pretty sure some of these concepts will translate to creating “the best place to volunteer.”

Hope you find these as helpful as I do.  What books and podcasts do you recommend?  Share them in the comments!