The “Pathways” Seminar Series


Effective volunteer organizations are those that create and optimize the “pathways” through which individuals become members, members become volunteers, volunteers become leaders, and organizations move successfully into the future.

In a volunteer-run organization, priorities must include open communcation between the leadership and the membership and effective cooperation between group leaders and appointed staff. Based on experience gained in over 15 years of volunteering and leadership in not-for-profit social, education, support, advocacy and political orgaizations, these presentations focus on effective distribution of information, responsibility, support and authority.

Topics include policies governing elected directors and appointed staff leaders, e-mail list policies for limited decision-making, effective delegation, effective vounteer manangement, methods for fostering and increasing group membership, and policies for fostering support within one’s local community.

The aim of the program is to raise the level of volunteer effectiveness, better manage volunteer turnover, and reduce the tendency of such organizations to “constantly reinvent the wheel”.

While DCSMA generally focuses on sexual minority communities in the Washington, DC, area, parts of this seminar series have been presented to volunteer groups and volunteer group-leaders from all over the United States.

The “Pathways” Seminar Series consists of four independent presentations:

    • Organizing a Volunteer Group – Initial Steps
      Abstract [Text]
      Outline [MS Word] [Rich Text]
      Handout – Dos and Don’ts [MS Word] [Rich Text]


    • Pathways to Membership – improving the flow of new members into an organization
      Abstract [Text]
      Outline [MS Word] [Rich Text]
      Handout – Black Rose Gateway Handbook [MS Word] [Rich Text]


    • Pathways to Volunteerism – improving the flow of volunteers into an organization
      Abstract [Text]
      Outline [MS Word] [Rich Text]
  • Pathways to the Future – practical policies and successful models for volunteer organizations
    Abstract [Text]
    Outline [MS Word] [Rich Text]
    Handout – BESS Corporate Handbook [MS Word] [Rich Text]

The first three lectures above were presented at Leather Leadership Conference Seven, in Boston, in April 2003. The fourth was presented at LLC Six, in Los Angeles, in April 2002. For information on LLC, see

Because the DCSMA Education Program operates without a budget, groups requesting training are asked to pay expenses and/or work with DCSMA to keep expenses to a minimum.

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