Dec 1, 2009

a wonderful review of Rabbi Chuck Simon's book "Building a Successful Volunteer Culture"

Shalom Chevreh -

a great resource, written by Rabbi Chuck Simon (exec VP of the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs), is "Building a Successful Volunteer Culture" (Jewish Lights: came out just a few months ago.  A number of shuls have begun working with Chuck's book as a leadership-training resource for boards and professionals, and I recommend it highly. 

Here is a wonderful review of "Building a Successful Volunteer Culture"  by Sherry Israel, and the amazon link for the book is here:

kol tuv,

 Accessible, practical, and profound wisdom for volunteers and professionals

Sherry Israel, Newton, MA

Building a Successful Volunteer Culture can serve as a training manual for all who lead (and aspire to lead) in volunteer-based organizations, whether as professional staff or as lay volunteers. A treasure trove of practical wisdom based on the author's almost four decades in the field, the style is casual and anecdotal, rather than systematic and academic - but underneath the deceptively simple presentation is a well thought-out and consistent approach to the basics of organizational life in the non-profit world. While written from the specific perspective of Jewish organizations, the book has much wider applicability.

Rabbi Simon offers a convincing case for creating values-based organizations, and demonstrates how to do so with interesting and apt examples. Chapters cover the key topics - understanding and shaping organizational culture, cultivating and supporting volunteers, the ins and outs of boards and committees, succession planning, and board-staff dynamics. Separate chapters treat issues of difficult volunteers and the wisdom of gender-based approaches.

The author's style is accessible and engaging. Even more, the values he espouses are evident in every anecdote and bit of advice: optimism, trust, a deep and lived commitment to inclusion, flexibility, creativity, empathy, and a belief that people can be empowered to be effective volunteers and leaders.

The book is a must for all who want to help the organizations they care about become people-centered and effective, particularly necessary attributes in these days of an apparent scarcity of volunteers. I have already made sure that my successor as board chair of the organization I've been most devoted to for the past several years has a copy!

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to