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Author Archives: Karl E. Burgher

12 More Ways to Maintain Highly Functional Teams – Part 2

Volunteering This is an article by regular contributor Karl Burgher.

In our previous blog post on Team Maintenance – Part 1, we began our discussion of how to maintain healthy teams. In this post, we explore further strategies for strengthening your teams’ dynamics to keep your organization running smoothly and efficiently, and to keep you and the other volunteers giving up your time for your volunteer organization. Remember, teams need tending just like gardens! Organizations that fail to manage and require healthy behaviors risk losing good people and thus, the delivery of good services rather quickly. On the other hand, keeping the team motivated and healthy by practicing these steps can lead to successes and enjoyment for everyone involved. The work, while important, becomes secondary to the team at hand. A happy and functional team tends to perform good work. We argue that following the motto “People first, work second” brings more successes and winning seasons. (more…)

12 Ways to Maintain Highly Functional Teams

Volunteering This article is written by regular contributor Karl Burgher.

In these next couple of blogs we will chat about how to maintain highly functional and healthy teams. After a great team is built—it needs continued care and maintenance. (In case you missed it, you may want to check out our earlier post “12 Steps to Creating Great Volunteer Teams.”)

Just as a garden needs tending, so do teams. Even if we started well, understood the dynamics and made good choices, human nature can often take us down a slippery slope. This can happen quite quickly when projects start to go south due to some external issue. Or when one bad apple enters the fray. We need to be vigilant in our tending, i.e., our day in and day out attitude and active management. (more…)

What it takes to achieve team success

Volunteering This is an article by regular Bookboon contributor Karl Burgher.

This is part II of last week’s article 5 Ways to achieve team success.

A Better Paradigm via Our Choices

In Figure 2 below, we have changed the “bad” headings from Figure 1 to “inexperienced,” giving confused folks the benefit of the doubt. Moving two or more of the quadrants into a higher probability of success is not only desirable, but entirely possible through good choices! (more…)

5 Ways to achieve Team Success

Volunteering This is an article by regular Bookboon contributor Karl Burgher.

Today we will chat about project and team success rates and the choices we can make at the onset of a task or tasks to ensure success. We rarely do tasks alone, and a team needs to be actively managed toward successful completion of tasks. (Please see Creating Great Teams and Volunteering.) When volunteers are involved, you must accomplish this carefully and purposefully. You need to be ready to make choices along the way for each project and understand what the consequences will be. (more…)

4 Principles to Follow for Successful Encore Volunteer Management

volunteering This is a blog by Karl E. Burgher. Download his ebook “Volunteering” here!

This blog post is primarily for two groups of folks: 1) encore volunteers, that is, volunteers who are engaged in service activities after having spent much of their work lives doing something else and 2) managers of encore volunteers who need to very specifically understand what encores have to offer and how they need to be managed differently. Encore volunteers are often 50+ and come to the table with 20-25 years of experience in a workplace to bring to your volunteer organization. In case you missed it, you may want to check out the related post from last week, “10 Transition Steps to Move into Successful Encore Volunteering.”


Encore volunteers, your previous work experience has provided you with much knowledge about how to work with others, how to accomplish goals, and how to help an organization succeed. Volunteer managers, realize that your encore team members have special contributions to make, and assign them tasks and leadership roles accordingly. (See Chapter 8 in “Volunteering”.)


10 Steps to Move You from Work to Successful Encore Volunteering

Volunteering This is a guest article by regular contributor Karl Burgher.

In a previous post, we spoke about “5 Key Action Steps to Help You Enjoy Volunteering.” This week’s blog builds on that theme for those encore volunteers who have left the working world with years of experience and wisdom to bring to the volunteer organization.

Let’s define the encore volunteer as the individual doing something in service after having done something else for much of their lives. Much has been written about the “encore” time of life, given that so many folks are living so much longer. Encores want, and very much need, to find something to occupy time purposefully for as much as a  decade or two after having finished their work-for-pay life. We discuss this at length in Chapter 8 of our free eBook Volunteering. (more…)

12 Steps for Creating Great Volunteer Teams

Volunteering This is a guest article by Karl E. Burgher.

Great organizations have great teams. They may still struggle with challenges, but they face them together and work to find effective solutions. Every individual on your volunteer team is important. Each task someone completes contributes to your team’s overall success and your ability to provide service to others. If you do not have much experience working with teams, do not worry. As we discuss in our free ebook, Volunteering, each team member can be a manager and a leader. You can learn the skills you need to build a strong team that will lead you to the finish line. In a previous post, “Top 10 Ways to Become a Better Volunteer,” we focused on you as an individual. In this post, we take you to the team. (more…)

5 Key Action Steps to Help You Enjoy Volunteering

Volunteering This is a guest article by Karl E. Burgher.

Volunteering can be a whole lot like work sometimes, but who says it can’t be enjoyable most of the time? In fact, volunteering is a wonderful way of making valuable contributions to society while also contributing to your own enjoyment and well-being. As we mention in an earlier blog (“8 Ways Volunteering Helps Volunteers”) and discuss in our book Volunteering, we believe that volunteering is as much about the volunteer as it is about those being helped by the volunteer individual or group. So, how do we make sure we enjoy ourselves the majority of the time? We do that by keeping these 5 actions in mind: (more…)

What Motivates you to Volunteer? Assess with these 6 Steps!

Volunteering This is a guest article by Karl E. Burgher.

What motivates you to volunteer? Why should you assess your motivations? As professional managers, we (Burgher and Snyder, Volunteering) engage in the execution of projects, processes, and tasks in many types of organizations. Thus, we know from experience how understanding your motivations for taking action will keep you, your team, and your organization healthy and moving forward.

Assessing your motivations helps you focus on what really matters and increases your efficiency, happiness, and success on the job. Clary et al. (1998) have outlined six general areas of volunteer motivation in their influential paper “Understanding and assessing the motivations of volunteers: A functional approach” (Journal of Personality & Social Psychology). These motivational drivers will get you started in analyzing your own, your peers’, and your staff’s motivation to be “on the job”. (more…)

8 Ways Volunteering Helps Volunteers

Volunteering This is a guest post by Karl E. Burgher.

Typically when we think of volunteering we think of doing for others. This altruism usually dominates the discussion: giving back, serving, making a contribution outside of ourselves. We tell volunteers, “That is nice” and “Way to go” as we give back to those in need.

What we might not know and what we all need to know is that volunteering provides the volunteer with many benefits that help us to help ourselves. This happens in many direct, and sometimes not so direct, ways. Volunteering discusses the following 8 ways volunteering can help you help yourself. (more…)