Volunteering and the Future of Cause Marketing

volunteer engagement 2.0

I'm excited to be one of the 35 experts in VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engage-ment 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World.

I was surprised when VolunteerMatch asked me to contribute a chapter. I just didn’t view cause marketing as connected to volunteering - and I thought the book's editor, Robert Rosenthal, and I agreed on this point!

You see, Robert was the guy who dissuaded me from including volunteering in my last book on nonprofit fundraising, Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New & Improved Strategies for Nonprofits.

I had considered several volunteer-related strategies for the book, but in the end I only included one: volunteer grants, also known as dollars for doers programs, which match a corporate volunteer’s time with a small grant from the company to the nonprofit.

So, why would I now write a chapter on cause marketing for a book on volunteering? Because Robert actually had a much better grasp of what volunteering is and where it’s headed than I did. Although he was right to nix volunteering from a book on fundraising tactics, he was also right that volunteering would have a major impact on cause marketing. Robert challenged me to adjust my perspective on the connection between volunteering and cause marketing.

A major hurdle for me was realizing that volunteering was more than just those little old ladies who used to stuff envelopes at my last nonprofit job.

Robert Rosenthal, Editor, Volunteer Engagement 2.0

Robert Rosenthal, Editor, Volunteer Engagement 2.0

No, volunteering is so much more.

Volunteering is when a person freely chooses to spend his or her time - unpaid - supporting a needy group or individual. A volunteer’s goal is to have a meaningful, measurable impact.

Using my new lens on volunteering, I peered out and discovered something incredible: Volunteering isn't just connected to cause marketing; it’s the future of cause marketing. As focused as I was on defining cause marketing as a partnership between a nonprofit and for profit, I neglected the spark that makes these pacts ignite: individuals. These motivated and empowered do-gooders will be the key drivers of growth over the next generation.

You can read all about it in Volunteer Engagement 2.0!

Along with my chapter, you can read the contributions of 34 other volunteering experts.

  • Beth Kanter explains Measuring the Volunteer Program.
  • Aria Finger talks about Engaging Millennials and other Younger Volunteers.
  • Amy Sample Ward writes about Volunteer Engagement on the Social Web.
  • Scott Henderson talks about Getting the Most Out of Hackathons for Social Good.
  • Angela Parker and Chris Jarvis write on Partnering with Workplace Volunteer Programs.

This book has everything. An awesome, relevant topic, a great editor, a wonderful group of contributors and a chapter from yours truly!