Four Books to Read Before Volunteering

For some people, community service is something they feel obligated to do. For others, it’s something that they feel passsionate about doing as a means to change the world. Those who are passionate about volunteering should consider picking up these four books to learn more about the world of volunteering and how they can make effective change.


Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists by Courtney E. Martin

In this book, the author follows eight young adults and looks at how younger generations are able to make a career out of making a difference in the world. Instead of looking at volunteerism through the typical “saving the world” lens, she instead examines how to build a meaningful life. The activists profiled in the book aren’t portrayed as selfless saviors, but instead as related, flawed people who are also inspiring change-makers.


Building Powerful Community Organizations: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups that Can Solve Problems and Change the World by Michael Jacoby Brown

If you would like to start your own non-profit or community organization, this book is a must-read. It provides a step-by-step guide with accompanying case studies to better illustrate the steps. In addition to the guide, the book also addressed dealing with issues in your community and how to position yourself as a leader. This includes advice on engaging volunteers, raising money, and organizing meetings.


The (Help!) I-Don’t-Have-Enough-Time Guide to Volunteer Management by Susan J. Ellis and Katherine Noyes

The most common reason many people don’t volunteer in their community is that they feel they have no time. This same lack of time applies to volunteer managers as well. This guide helps people in that position learn how to best communicate roles and responsibilities to a group of volunteers. Many people working in non-profit organizations are incredibly busy, which is why having strong time management skills are essential.


Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Patton

In this book, Westley, Zimmerman and Patton examine the ways in which change can be made in the world. The idea of one person making meaningful change on a complex issue seems impossible. While not everyone can be a leader on all issues, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make difference. The book highlights stories of people working to create progress and uses these stories to create guidelines for creating social change.



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How to Cope with Employee Churn

Employee turnover is a part of every organization, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one. It often feels incredibly personal, especially when you’re losing a key employee you’ve depended on. Instead of viewing it as a personal affront, you should see it as an opportunity for your employee to continue reaching towards their goals and growing in their profession. It can also be a benefit for your company, as not every employee is a good one, and some may be actively hurting the culture and performance of others.


Reducing the churn rate in your company depends entirely on creating an organization that people enjoy working in and surrounding them with people that are pleasant to work with. Create an environment where your employees feel supported in working to achieve their goals. Valuing your employees is the crucial step for reducing turnover in your organization. If your company is experiencing a time of high turn over, here are three actions you should take.


Identify the cause

If you want to lower your churn rate, you first need to determine why people are leaving your company. Have the human resources department conduct exit interviews with departing employees and encourage them to be honest about why they’re leaving. A common reason people exit a company is that they have a poor relationship with their manager. It may also be because of low pay or lack of direction in the role. Whatever the reason, knowing what the problem is means you can take the proper steps to remedy it.


Let employees in on success

High turnover also affects the people working for your company. Seeing people leaving makes them feel as though everyone else knows something they don’t and makes them consider themselves. To stop this, keep everyone looped in on successes of the business. Next time a big deal closes or someone saves an account from dropping, make sure the whole team knows about it. This will help your employees to see that the business is still thriving and successful and that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.


Create a business operations plan

In times of high employee turnover, your organization will need a business operations plan. The plan should outline how the company’s essential operations should be executed, all of the jobs in your organization and the essential duties of each. Having this plan will help you to fill vacancies faster and also determine if any current positions can be condensed when churn is high.



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How to Help your Employees Feel More Fulfilled

Seventy percent of employees have said they would leave their current role in order to find a position that they feel more fulfilled in. While around 80 percent of employees have said they believe they need to take the lead in making their work fulfilling, the leadership team must play a part as an ally on the path to fulfillment. If a company wants to stay competitive and recruit talented employees, they need to make sure their employees are fulfilled by their work. Here are four ways to help your employees find purpose in their work.


Make space for employees to create meaning

Tools like digital assessments and personal exploration are useful for encouraging employees to reflect on their work and duties. Self-reflection is essential for finding meaning. Once your employees discover what makes them feel fulfilled, you can help them seek out these opportunities, or help create them. Because your employees are the best judges of their personal motivations, your role is to help them discover what they are.


Provide some structure, but not too much

Having some structure allows your employees to make their own work more meaningful while still working towards the overall goals of their team and the organization at large. Provide your employees with opportunities like innovation labs and mentorship programs to help them build deeper relationships with both other employees and their work itself, while also promoting growth in the office.


Create a culture that shows purpose

Culture is one of the most critical aspects of a business. Change yours so it’s one that provides support and reinforcement for the employees looking to make their job more fulfilling. To create a purpose-led culture, workplaces must target the specific behaviors that encourage relationships, growth and impact; identify the informal leaders in the office; and encourage leaders to model these behaviors to the entire workplace.


Be intentional with team building

Building effective teams is part of your role as a leader. Instead of just bringing employees together without a clear reason, view team building as a way to bring employees together to make meaningful connections and give them opportunities to learn new things. Shared experiences are often a fulfilling experience and help your employees to make deeper connections with each other. Take this one step further by using it as a way to make a collective impact.


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Five Lessons Learned from Leadership

Jimmy Lustig Lessons Learned from Leadership

Not only do leaders teach their employees lessons, they learn from their role. Leaders play one of the most essential roles in business; they’re directly responsible for the success of others. Here are five valuable lessons that will aid you in your journey towards being a better leader.


Embrace change

Leadership needs to be fluid to be effective. The same methods will not work for every employee or every situation. As your business expands and grows, so should your leadership. For some people, this is intimidating. Change is a scary part of life, but one that is necessary for growth. As a leader, you should be driving change, not just embracing it. When you become too set in your ways, you don’t see the problems in your work or the areas that need attention, which sets you up for failure.


Be empathetic

As a leader, you learn how vital of a skill it is to be able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. Leaders spend a large part of their day on people management. If they aren’t able to empathize with those people, their leadership will not be effective. Your team members want to feel valued and understood, and you as a leader need to be able to fulfill that. Before making significant decisions, think about how it affects the people around you.


Never stop learning

Throughout your professional career, you should always aim to keep learning. Whether it’s about business, or leadership, or something entirely separate, learning helps you to be a better leader. Make a personal goal to read a set number of books each year. Try to pick books across different categories to broaden your horizons further. Learning helps to keep you curious and rely on yourself to find answers to the questions that plague you.


Seek out advice

No one has all the answers on leadership. There are so many different styles of leadership and case studies and books on the subject that you can read and learn about, but those won’t always be effective for you. Seek out advice from someone close to you that you trust. Ask them how you’re doing and how you can improve. Ask them what isn’t working and what is. Feedback is how we learn and grow. Without it, you’re destined to stay stagnant in all areas of your life.


Walk the walk

It doesn’t matter how many inspirational speeches or business best practices you share with your employees if you’re not adhering to them yourself. While people do listen to what you say, they’re much more focused on what you do. If what you’re doing isn’t what you told them to be doing, they aren’t going to follow your advice. Leadership is also about proving results. Back up your advice with proof of its effectiveness.


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How to Build a Strong Community

Community relationships are an essential part of our social lives. A community relationship becomes a safety net for those who live far away from their friends and family and allows us to become close with neighbors, friends, associates and other community members. When we form relationships within our communities, we learn to increase understanding, mutual respect and our fear of things decreases.


Remember, not everyone can put forth the same amount of time when it comes to building relationships and community. Be sure to identify what works best for you and then allocate your time and skills accordingly. The following tips will allow you to find ways to build great relationships with members of your local community.


Neighborhood involvement

Get involved. Anyone in a local neighborhood has the opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of activities. Not only is it a way to get to know the people in your area, but it’s also a way to get involved with what’s going on in your community.  This can be as simple as building a community garden or being a member of the planning committee for the neighborhood yard sale. You can even get your children involved in things going on around the neighborhood to help them to start building friendships and communities.


Find a cause and volunteer

Volunteering is the perfect way to get your entire family involved in a cause that means a lot to you. There are volunteer opportunitieswithin your neighborhood, but you can also volunteer at hospitals, clinics, community centers or nature centers. Reaching out to your community in this way allows you to become an integral part but also gain a sense of personal fulfillment.


Business Outreach

Local businesses play a significant role in helping build a community. Not only do they help build communities through the people they hire and the additional businesses they work with, but they can also build successful communities through one-day-events. These types of events can be held for a specific cause or organization or can be something that is community-wide. This is a way to get the staff involved with people they might not interact with on a regular basis.


Make it a regular thing

Setting aside a few extra hours a week or even a whole day that you can devote to doing things with your community can go a long way. Not only does this let you become an active member, but it also allows other members to see that you are committed to being involved and are a reliable person.


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Nonprofit Spotlight: The Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance

Jimmy Lustig Nonprofit Spotlight Wiesenthal Center

The Museum of Tolerance (MOT) opened in Los Angeles in 1993. Beyond an institution devoted to the preservation of objects, artifacts, and documents, the MOT is designed to be an experience that immerses the audience in the knowledge of tolerance and what it means, a Museum that encourages individuals of all backgrounds to examine their assumptions and value systems and to engage in a dialogue that facilitates growth and change.


The creation of the Museum of Tolerance

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a respected and internationally renowned Jewish human rights organization, named to honor the late Simon Wiesenthal, a famous Nazi hunter, began to plan for The Museum of Tolerance with input from the representatives of the world’s most influential and prestigious museums and cultural institutions.


These think tank sessions proposed a fresh perspective, a Museum that would provide a unique experience to the museum-goer by encouraging thought and conversation, molding attitudes, and offering information on the arena of tolerance and human understanding.


Simon Wiesenthal believed that the idea of preserving the past was imperative, yet, as necessary as that honoring and recording is, it must motivate and inspire us to take action in the present. The Museum of Tolerance should serve to prevent hatred and genocide from occurring to any group, both in contemporary times and in the future.


And the winner is tolerance!

The MOT has been honored as the recipient of the Global Peace and Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations. This accolade has underscored The Museum of Tolerance’s role as a human rights laboratory and educational center which turns on the fulcrum of inviting guests to understand the Holocaust in its historical context and as viewed through the lens of today.


Holocaust education is vitally important because studies had shown that when the MOT was being planned, young people, even as early as the 1980s, were debating if the Holocaust had occurred. This added to the imperative for MOT to present the phenomena of the Holocaust in a way that encouraged the audience to explore, expose and to energize a dialogue that began with one expression of prejudice and genocide and then to extrapolate ideas of tolerance from the lessons learned. To start the work of confronting and uprooting all forms of discrimination is the role that the MOT hopes to instill in viewers.


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How to be a Leader in your Community

Jimmy Lustig Community Leadership

Being involved in your community is a great way to give back. It helps you feel more connected to the place you live, and can also help you meet other, like-minded individuals. If you’re looking to take your community involvement, consider adopting a leadership role.


Why should you be a community leader?

There are many benefits that come with being a leader in your community. People will look up to you as a reliable figure who cares about their community. Being a leader in your community gives you the chance to make a difference. You get to see the impact you are having on others with the programs you help to support.


Leadership gives you an opportunity to grow. Leading groups of people can be very challenging and requires strong people skills and confidence in your abilities. Becoming a leader in your community will help you develop your leadership skills which will benefit you in other areas of your life.


One of the strongest reasons for becoming a community leader is because they’re needed. The more people who take on leadership roles, the more problems that can be solved. Community leaders help to tackle issues such as youth development, crime, and economic development, among others.


How do you become a leader?

Most people aren’t born natural leaders. Instead, they learn how to become strong leaders.


Listen to the people in your community and learn what’s important to them. They want to feel that their thoughts and input are valued. If they feel that they’re being listened to, they will trust your leadership and in turn, become more engaged with their community.


Most likely, no one is going to approach you about taking on a leadership role. You need to put yourself into that role. Understand that you have valuable things to offer and put yourself in the position to showcase those. Put yourself in a place where you are able to step out as a leader. Attend town hall meetings and speak up and share your thoughts.


Set goals that you would like your community to meet. Then, decide what meeting those goals in the short- and long-term will look like, and how you can make that happen. Come up with an action plan for making your community a better place, and follow through with it.


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