Ep 95: How Do We Ignite Our Volunteers? (with Tobi Johnson)

by Joan Garry

Volunteerism is both noble and necessary in our polarized world. But how do you ignite them and keep them engaged over the long term?


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Volunteerism is both noble and necessary in our polarized world, says Tobi Johnson, master trainer in volunteer engagement and President and Founder of Volunteer Pro.

Beyond that, she believes volunteerism is the key to challenging assumptions, becoming involved in new environments and finding partners that help make us a better version of ourselves. It may just be the key to saving our world.

Ok great, but what about the nuts and bolts? How do you recruit the right people to do good things, consistently and for free? Beyond that, how do nonprofit leaders ignite in others the joy and privilege of service? And, how do you keep them engaged over the long term?

Don’t fret because Tobi’s got answers.

Listen for everything you ever wanted to know about how to attract, retain and develop volunteers along with proven, practical tools that will help you along the way.

About Tobi Johnson

Tobi Johnson, MA, CVA is an internationally sought after expert, consultant, and master trainer in volunteer engagement. She is known for her modern thought leadership, highly practical evidence-based strategies, and innovative, “big hat” thinking around engaging, supporting, and acknowledging the work of volunteers.

She is the President of Tobi Johnson & Associates, a consulting firm whose mission is to help nonprofit organizations make connections with remarkable volunteers. In 2015, she founded VolunteerPro, an online training and networking community for leaders of volunteers.

Tobi has over 30 years direct experience in nonprofit management, program development, program coordination, training delivery and learning design in the social sector. She wrote Chapter 1 of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights for Transforming Volunteer Programs in a Changing World, published by Jossey-Bass in 2015.

In addition, Tobi is intimately knowledgeable about the professional development needs of today’s leaders of volunteers. She was the Chair for the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) Job Analysis Task Force; responsible for updating the required the competencies for the fields only internationally recognized credential. Each year, she also conducts the Volunteer Management Progress Report, a global state-of-the-industry survey. In 2018, nearly 1,600 professionals from 16 countries participated.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Tobi is a graduate of the University of Washington and has a Masters degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She now lives in East Tennessee with her husband and feline office assistant, Bailey.

In this podcast

  • Volunteerism is growing, what can we do to keep this trend alive?
  • When it comes to financial contributions, do volunteers tend to give more or less?
  • What does the Volunteer Management Progress Report say are the top volunteer challenges?
  • What are the four fundamental ways to recruit volunteers?
  • How do you balance volunteer needs with those of the organization?
  • How can the volunteer functions inventory help you pinpoint motivations that keep volunteers coming back?