The Birth of a New Journal

Volume I, Issue 1, September 2000

How and Why We Started
Welcome to the first issue of e-Volunteerism! In a rare quiet moment during a training session in England more than two years ago, we started discussing the intriguing idea of collaborating on a new publishing venture. We both wanted to expand the forums available to examine volunteer-related issues, but simply could not imagine ourselves finding the time or money to launch a printed magazine. But now we had the amazing potential of the Internet to consider--and that changed everything.

Over the next months we added Kristin Floyd and Anna Seidman to our core editorial group and began the creation of this new web-based publication. We focused on the following objectives:

  • to provide cutting-edge information on volunteer involvement
  • to tap into an international base of knowledge and experience
  • to maximize interactions among readers and authors by using the power of the Internet

We now are delighted to offer this first issue to our readers. Within the 100+ pages posted here, you'll find tips for conducting on-going screening of volunteers. You'll find a listing of the best free web resources on legal aspects of volunteer involvement and a variety of icebreakers to use in orienting and training volunteers. You'll learn about a new institute in the United Kingdom that focuses exclusively on volunteer involvement, with links to some of their reports. And you'll read an interview with one of the few foundation directors who really understands and values volunteering. And that's only part of the cutting-edge information in this issue.

Get to Know Our Feature Areas
It was also important to us to be experimental--and have some fun--with new ways of sharing knowledge. In this first issue we introduce you to our overall format. Each issue will have several feature articles. These are the types of articles you might expect to find in a print journal, but we'll present them so that you can read them easily online or print them out to read on paper. We will always try to find material that is on a new topic, or presents a topic in a different way.

In addition to articles, you will also find recurring special sections. Steve will be guiding us "Along the Web" and Susan will help us hear "Voices from the Past"--while both of us will share our "Points of View." We are also delighted to feature Betty Stallings as the designer/editor of "Training Designs," and her first submission on Icebreakers is smashing. To learn more about what each of these will offer over time, click on the "What to Expect" button under each heading on the home page.

Another new format we're introducing here is the "Keyboard Roundtable." You'll see how it works immediately. Each quarter we'll invite a half dozen colleagues or so to engage in a several-week virtual conversation on a specific topic. Then we'll edit their many e-mails into a (reasonably) coherent printed dialogue for you to read. Two Keyboard Roundtables are off and running: one for DOVIAs and other professional network leaders, ably led by Convening Editor Deborah Witmer; and one on International Perspectives, whose Convening Editor Andy Fryar proves the versatility of the Internet by doing his great work from Australia.

We plan to expand the scope of our coverage further. Future issues will see additional features on "Research for Practitioners" and something applicable to all-volunteer groups. We're still working on how to make those sections most useful and effective (and if you've got ideas, let us know!).

As trainers who have been travelling to conduct workshops hither and yon for over twenty years each, we see the Internet as a powerful tool for delivering quality information to our colleagues without necessarily leaving our desks or having to charge high registration fees. That's why we fully intend to test out providing audio segments (the brief welcome tape we made for this first issue was a trial run for us and for you) and, eventually as the technology allows, video and even live features.

We Welcome Diversity (and even controversy)
Don't be surprised if you read views which represent a totally different perspective from yours. The following countries are represented among the contributors to this issue: Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Finland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, and the United States. One of the focal points of this issue is the Keyboard Roundtable discussion of international representatives regarding issues affecting volunteerism in their countries. In it, you'll see some of the similarities and differences among volunteer leaders from around the world.

We'll love for you to become a contributor as well. You'll see, for example, the Keyboard Roundtable discussion about the future role of associations of volunteer managers. You're welcome to add your own comments and opinions, both to that discussion and to all the articles in this issue. Your opinions, your knowledge and your experiences can provide the insights that will help other subscribers.

Only the Beginning
e-Volunteerism is still a work in progress. As Internet technology evolves, so will our experiments in putting it to use. This is a learning curve. Sometimes the angle is very steep, but the view from the top makes the effort worthwhile.

We have another long-term goal. We are eager to discover new writers and colleagues who demonstrate--and can explain--"best practices" in volunteerism. While this Inaugural Issue contains writing from several of the field's already-recognized authors (for which we are appreciative), it is our hope to nurture new talent over time.

Given that this is the last quarter of 2000, we want to recognize that the second issue of e-Volunteerism will coincide with the start of the UN's International Year of Volunteers. We anticipate heightened interest in the work of our field because of IYV and hope to be a resource to many practitioners, academics, and members of the press who will be discovering volunteerism resources for the first time during 2001. And, of course, we expect that contributing authors will address IYV-related topics throughout the Year.

Reminder about Our Format
Remember that although we "publish" on the first day of each quarter, we're not a static print publication. We plan to give you a full table of contents at the start of each quarter, but not everything will be accessible on day 1. For this issue, as an example, in a few weeks we'll activate the new article by Rick Lynch on volunteer retention as well as the edited DOVIA Keyboard Roundtable. And you might want to come back simply to read the compiled comments of your fellow readers. We'll encourage that by sending you an e-mail reminder when new articles are added.

When Issue 2 is posted on January 15th, subscribers will still have complete access to Issue 1. We will archive all e-Volunteerism issues on this site and, over time, this will result in an impressive library of resources. Instructions about this will appear when the archives are created.

We hope you'll enjoy reading this issue as much as we've enjoyed putting it together. And we hope that you'll look forward, as we do, to participating in the many future issues to come.

Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis
Founding Publishers

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Kuddo's to a wonderful highly useful and wonderfully user-friendly publication. This is the best subscription money I have spent in a very long time in the field of volunteerism. Each of the articles that I have read has been well-written, packed with useful and/or thoughtful information, and very much on target for the needs I am facing in the field. I can't thank you enough Susan and Steve! A job well-done.

e-Volunteerism really is excellent and does not suffer from the problems some Web-based resources have in being too North American. UKVPMs started because we needed something that added a UK flavour to the many Web-based resources for managers of volunteers and volunteer programmes so I would hesitate to recommend e-Volunteerism if I didn't think it had broad appeal. At $40 subscription (about £25) it is a bargain too!

Your online publication is a knock-out! It couldn't be better and I couldn't be happier for you. You've really pulled it off...Congratulations and good luck to you all!

Congrats on e-Volunteerism, which is getting rave reviews from those of us in New York City who are reading. It's extremely comprehensive, attends to many levels of knowledge, it's well designed, it's humorous plus it's interactive! You're a doorway into the future. Thanks!

The training design section is GREAT. I love that the "tools" are right there and can be applied immediately.