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An Unconventional Reading List For Service Club And Volunteer Group Leaders

Updated on January 24, 2015

If you find yourself in a leadership position within your volunteer group or service club, then there's a good chance that you have taken on the role as a challenge or an opportunity for personal growth.

While many learning situations and growth opportunities will occur simply as part of your role, there's no reason why you can't add to that with some extra reading. As the saying goes, "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read."

With that in mind, here are a selection of books you really should meet.

While these books may appear regularly on business-orientated recommended reading lists, they make a more unconventional reading list for volunteers. Believe me when I say you will get just as much benefit from them in the volunteer sector as you would in the business or entrepreneur world.

[Image courtesy of lucianotb on stock.xchng]


Adjective - Not bound by or conforming to accepted rules or standards.

David Allen's Getting Things Done

Trying to balance work, family and your volunteer role? You'll find you can't operate at 100% in any of these roles if you've always got a million and one To-Do's buzzing around in your head.

David Allen's great book Getting Things Done (GTD) provides a simple and extremely effective method for dealing with everything that you need to remember, act on, follow up or think about. The crux of his system is getting it all out of your head and down on paper (or onto your computer or into your PDA/iPhone, whatever medium works best for you).

Much more beneficial than a simple unorganised To-Do list, but without the drawbacks of a complex organisational system to memorise, the GTD System has been a lifesaver for myself and I encourage you to give the book a read.

Seth Godin's Tribes

This book is a must read! No matter what your position in the organisation is, you're in a position to promote change and growth. Don't believe me? Check out what Seth has to say and I'm sure you'll understand.

Very early in the book Seth says something that made me sit up and listen. Here is the excerpt:

In Search Of A Movement

Some tribes are stuck. They embrace the status quo and drown out any tribe member who dares to question authority and the accepted order. Big charities, tiny clubs, struggling corporations - they're tribes and they're stuck. I'm not so interested in these tribes. They create little of value and they're sort of boring. Every one of those tribes, though, is a movement waiting to happen, a group of people just waiting to be energized and transformed.

Being a member of a struggling service organisation completely mired down in rules and tradition so much of this short paragraph hit home. It's not all bad news though, Seth goes on to say:

A movement is thrilling. It's the work of many people, all connected, all seeking something better. The new highly leveraged tools of the Net make it easier than ever to create a movement, to make things happen, to get things done.

All that's missing is leadership.

Doesn't that get you enthused to create your own movement? To brush off the cobwebs and give your own group or organisation an energy boost and get things happening?

The rest of the book is just as eye-opening. Seth doesn't so much give you a set formula to follow as much as a push in the right direction. That said, the section Your Micromovement on pages 88-89 does give an incredibly useful list of five things to do and six principles to follow when creating your own micromovement.

Personally I'd love to make this book mandatory reading within my own service organisation, it really is that good.

How Important Is Reading To Your Volunteer Role?

How important do you believe reading is to your volunteer role?

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A Review of Thinkertoys on YouTube

This review of Michael Michalko's Thinkertoys is by Jurgen Wolff, the author of "Creativity Now!"

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Rather Watch Than Read?

There are heaps of resources on YouTube if you prefer to watch and listen, rather than read. My biggest recommendation would be anything from any of the TEDTalks conferences. I'm forever finding that these presentations open both my eyes and my mind.

YouTube is also a wonderful place to find inspiration and motivation. For example, a simple search on the term "volunteer" brings up a wealth of inspiring videos.

What books have helped you with your own service club or volunteer group involvement? Can you recommend any "must reads" for us?

Do You Have A Favourite Book To Add To Our List?

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