BOOK REVIEW: From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement, 3rd ed

Andy Fryar March 10, 2012 0
BOOK REVIEW: From the Top Down: The Executive Role in Successful Volunteer Involvement, 3rd ed

Revised again by popular demand! Still the only book that addresses the top decision-maker’s role in developing a strategy and resources for high-quality volunteer engagement. It explains fundamental subjects that must be considered at the top executive level, including developing a vision for volunteer involvement, creating policies and setting expectations, budgeting and finding funds to support volunteers, hiring the best staff leader, assessing the impact of volunteer contributions, and dealing with legal, risk management, and insurance issues.

What’s New to the 2010 Edition

Information on managing volunteer involvement during an economic downturn, dealing with resistance by middle managers, the evolving vocabulary of volunteerism, new types of volunteering such as online service and voluntourism, the difference between a wage equivalency calculation and the true value of volunteers to an organization, and much more.

Readers’ Reviews
This book is an invaluable guide to leading successful volunteer involvement from one of the leading volunteer management experts in the world. In this compelling third edition, Susan offers tools and resources to guide the development of a volunteer participation strategy from concept to reality. It is foundational reading for anyone who wants to engage volunteers in building organizational capacity and achieving impact.

— Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and Co-Founder of HandsOn Network

This new edition of the classic From The Top Down is very timely and welcome. Susan clearly explains the issues and challenges involved in one of the most overlooked areas of volunteer management—senior level support for the volunteer programme. Susan  suggests practical actions for executives to tackle volunteer-related issues from the top, making this an essential resource for our field. I read this book in the early days of my career in volunteering and it remains with me to this day one of the “must read” books for anyone leading and managing volunteers and volunteer programmes.

— Rob Jackson, Director of Development and Innovation, Volunteering England

Why should you [the director of volunteers] read this book? As a middle manager you need to sell the “Whys” of the volunteer program…Executive directors are constantly thinking vision, mission and execution of the entire organization, and they should. But so often they aren’t thinking about volunteers…Enter you. To increase the impact of volunteers on your organization, you need to sell them…I would recommend that you get this book, read it and develop your short and powerful presentation—ten really cool essentials that volunteers bring to your organization.

— Thomas McKee, Founder,

If your volunteer program is losing steam, this book will get it rolling. If your program is thriving, this book will validate the good work already being done. Either way, the book is a winner.

— Front and Centre, January 1996

…a comprehensive structured approach to designing and administering volunteer programs…

— Foundations News

A classic…should be read by both the executive director and coordinator of volunteers. Susan is simply one of the best writers and thinkers in the field.

— Celeste Wroblewski, Associate Director for Volunteer Development, YMCA of the USA national office

…should be required reading for agency directors and for those in the field looking to build credibility and speak the corporate language necessary to communicate our value to administrators.

— Karen King, Volunteer Manager, John Ball Zoological Garden


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