Ivan Scheier Archives

The 'New Volunteerism Project'

Who is Ivan Scheier?

Denver DOVIA in collaboration with the Regis University Masters of Nonprofit Management   program and the Regis University Library received a copy of Ivan Scheiers' "New Volunteerism Project" which was designed to collect, evaluate, refine and package for future use, the methods and tools developed over his past  thirty years.  With copyright release from Ivan we load as many of the 'unpublished' documents to this website so they will be accessible to all those with an interest in volunteerism and volunteer management.

Organizing the Archives

The Purpose

Background and Introduction


The People

Table of Contents

Notes on Organizing the Archives
By Ivan Scheier, July 1999

There are, of course, many ways in which these materials could have been organized or, if you like, had an organization imposed on them. This is just the way that made most sense to me (Albeit not perfect sense).

Sections I and II present the philosophy and values under-girding my work and belief systems.

Sections III, IV, and V share as a main theme, thinking creatively and boldly about community, organizational and individual challenges.

Section VI on work enrichment is by far the largest single section of the archives -- a pretty good reflection of the importance I attached to this area.

Section VII, VIII, IX, X, and XI are essentially about an expanding universe of people who can help in a community or organization. Section VII introduces the topic with examples; Sections VIII and IX focus on networkers as part of this expanding universe; Section X on entirely or mainly volunteer groups, typically of grassroots variety. Section XI focuses on fundraising strategies which are especially appropriate for such frequently un-strong groups.

Section XII, XIII, and XIV are about providing more support and empowerment for leadership professionals -- mainly those working with volunteers in agencies. But concepts might also be adapted for other work contexts.

Sections XV and XVI are basically materials I couldn't figure out where else to put. If they share any common denominator, it is that they have never been significantly followed up beyond their first or early presentations.

Please Note: Please Note: Please Note: It is neither necessary or expected that you read the archives through, like one usually does a book. Each section and cluster, as described above, stands very well on its own, and may be studied as such. I only do suggest reviewing the overall introduction to the archives, the present section, before dipping into one section or the other for further study.

Background and Introduction To the Achieves
By Ivan Scheier, July 1999

I do suggest you read this introduction before going on to other sections in any order you wish.

The People and the Project
About me, Ivan Scheier. In 1963, I became a volunteer in the Boulder County, Colorado, Juvenile Probation Department, Horace B. Holmes, Presiding Judge. The following year, while still primarily a volunteer, I began work as the part-time Coordinator of Volunteers in that program. Along about 1968-69 I began publishing in the area of volunteers in court settings, also beginning to travel as a consultant and trainer in that subject area. That career line continued until 1996-97 a nearly thirty-year span. Over that time period my interest broadened from volunteers in courts, to criminal justice generally, then to volunteers in all areas of human service and ultimately to something I tried to describe as community development via voluntary action. The attached Vita fleshes out a few markers and events in this career, plus inadvertently, a little about the previous one as a research psychologist.

This career line lasted until 1996-97, almost thirty years, and this is the period dealt with by these archives. In 1996-97 I transitioned to a new career as a host and practitioner at a self-help alternative healing retreat. Though this was not entirely divorced from the career in volunteerism -- who'd want to be, anyhow -- it was a definite enough departure to whet an appetite for closure on the previous career line. This gave rise to, among other things, something called "The New Volunteerism Project" designed to evaluate, refine and package for future use, the methods and tools I have developed and, where possible extend the application of these tools to all kinds of workers in all kinds of situations, not just volunteers. The core project team is Karen Heller Key, Billie Ann Myers, Maureen Watkins and me. In addition, Nancy Hughes has made important contributions as a reviewer of materials under development.

The above-named women enriched the project with a tremendous amount of time, effort, skill, experience and affirmation and for that they have my deepest gratitude. We met three times over a two-year period 1997-99, with plenty of work for all in between the meetings. In addition to helping find and organize the materials - formidable task in itself - my project colleagues also did some evaluation and refining of some of the methods, though not nearly as much as we had originally hoped to do.

Moreover, at one time we talked about packaging the collection, or parts of it, for wider dissemination, and we never did get to do much of that. And now my friends and colleagues on this project have again gone about their very productively busy lives, with, it bears much repeating, my thanks. But since the collection is not yet in the form they hoped for, I did not feel identifying them as co-authors of this collection, was appropriate.

Purpose and Use
As noted elsewhere, producing these archives took almost two years’ work, sometimes quite intensively, and involving others besides myself. What made it worth the effort?

For me, at least, there was the satisfaction of drawing together various elements of my work, and trying to make sense of it as a whole, after a career spanning nearly thirty years. Many, if not most, of the methods I developed and used, I had never even attempted to relate to one another, from these different "eras" in my work. And sometimes my motivation amounted to little more than sheer curiosity about works I hadn’t seen in years and, sometimes had virtually forgotten!

Beyond this selfish kind of motivation, I hoped to make my work more available and accessible in its entirety to practitioners, consultants and trainers, for whatever use they might see in adopting, adapting, refining and using it. Beyond that, I hoped someone would bring up to date the great history of volunteerism that Susan Ellis and Katie Noyes Campbell took as far as about a half-century ago in "BY THE PEOPLE." For such an enterprise, the raw material in these archives might be of some value, especially coupled with archives of other long-time consultants and trainers that might be persuaded to establish.

This brings up the question of how and under what conditions the material may be copied and used, put on a website, etc. Approximately 25% of the material is published in what I take to be currently accessible form, usually either by ENERGIZE, Inc., GRAPEVINE, or The Journal of Volunteer Administration. The publisher is almost always identified on the document itself and for good measure is marked with a h.

Appropriate permission must be secured from the publisher for re-publication, web-site usage of this material, or other normally requiring this permission. My experience with all three of these publishers is that they are understanding in the giving of such permission.

Another 40% of the material was once published but is now out of print and/or would be for any other reason difficult or very difficult to obtain for most people. These materials are marked . Much of this material was from publications by Yellowfire Press or the Center for Creative Community. I was Director of these organizations and they are no longer in existence so I feel justified in hereby giving permission for any use-with-acknowledgment, including website, of material published by these two organizations.

The remaining approximately 35% of the archives are essays or handouts which were never published and/or material which was written especially for these archives, to provide connective and historical context, retrospective assessments, and in a few cases, refinements. For this material, again, I hereby give my permission to copy, put on website and use in any way productive for our field, with acknowledgment of source requested.

Please note that approximately three-quarters of the collection would otherwise be difficult or impossible to obtain for most people, by any means other than these archives. Another special feature is that these archives are the first and only place in which more than a fraction of my methods and strategies have been presented together with connective comments and retrospective commentary.

My count, probably a somewhat liberal one, is that 50 of my methods or strategies are present in this archive. That count is certainly somewhat subjective; it would probably be safer to say somewhere between 40 and 70, depending on what you consider to be a "method." Thus, do you count the three major variations of Minimax as distinct methods (I did)? Do you count general suggested strategies and guidelines as methods, as in "Getting Out of the Groove?" (Generally, I did not) And would you count checklists as methods? (I did not.)

These archives are quite uneven in quality and sophistication, ranging raw and under-developed in respect to examples and applications for workers other than traditional volunteers. That’s another thing we haven’t had time to do–yet–but I’m convinced it can be done. Over-whelmingly, the methods are for workers of all kinds under virtually all conditions.

I believe my New Volunteerism Project colleagues generally agree that of the estimated 50 methods described here, about 30 can be considered ready for field use. Almost always, this includes the methods described in current publications, then secondarily those in once published but now out of print material.

Not Methods
Originally, the New Volunteerism Project intended to focus solely on my methods, but as our work developed it became clear that methods alone lacked meaning without an undergirding of rationale and context. The 80-page Section I on Philosophy is a good example of this natural evolution in scope.

Currently, there are approximately 1150 pages in the archives. That can be reduced to about 700 if your subtract 1) about 400 pages in several books and 2) about 50 pages of material that is duplicated in more than one place in the collection. As for the books, however, they are at the very least relevant as general context of the methods, and some time even more specifically germane. The material placed in more than one section intended to avoid the inconvenience of cross-reference especially for people mainly interested in one section or another.

Either total –1150 or 700– is still large enough, though far less than my total career production of several thousand pages. The omitted material is mainly 1) earlier, less developed versions of the methods included here, and 2) subject areas only distantly or not at all related to methods. At the same time, it is possible I will occasionally discover some additional material appropriate to these archives. If so, I will offer it to Denver DOVIA/Regis University, and other locations in which these archives exist. At present, the only major item I see as missing, is background material on what I see as one of my most important "methods": The VOLUNTAS Time Capsule on Volunteerism, sealed in 1990, due to be opened in 2050, and currently, I believe, In the possession of Dr. JoAnn Hanson-Stone of St. Paul, Minnesota. But I have no recent feedback on status.

This is "hard copy" material, though I am advised it can readily be placed on a website.* I hope that will be done to a significant degree, and elsewhere in this introduction have given what permissions I can, for enabling this process. I will also do my best to be available to assist in interactions with website users.

Generally, I must appeal to the reader to view these hard copy materials not as a book or a journal publication but indeed as archives, almost an archaeology of my work. Merely finding some of the material was sometimes a feat, especially given my "creative" approach to filing and storage. Add here that in recent years, I’ve pretty much had to do my own typing and it has frequently been replete with white-out and generally, more speedy than accurate. Ideally, I would have had the entire archives retyped in the same typeface and size. Unfortunately, I did not feel I had the time, energy, or resource to do so. So there are from time to time, copies of faded and actually dog-eared documents, the last I could find. And some people, maybe quite a few people, will be put off by the constantly changing type faces and sizes, and fairly regular handwritten interjections, or copies of same, on the documents even though the materials are predominantly typed and legible.

Finally, the page numbering system, while generally consistent within each section, is not entirely consistent between sections. I do believe, however, the systems used to enable location of documents and I have also provided a rough subject index to facilitate that.

In one respect, at least, this situation does represent my work, in a way I would rather have forgotten; that is, my tendency to rush ahead without paying sufficient attention to format and appearance – unless I have a good editor to insist. (In fact, there is a fair body of humor eliminating from the typical condition of my training displays). On the other hand, I ask the user’s forbearance based on the realization that, in whatever shape, the collection and organizing of these archives was a formidable and somewhat draining task.


* The material, alas, is not stored in computer memory. At present the only complete hard copies are at Regis University and in my files at Stillpoint in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. My previously mentioned colleagues in the New Volunteerism Project have substantially close-to-complete copies, organized somewhat differently.

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