susan j. ellis

Remember, no one gets paid to rebel.  All revolutions start with volunteers. – Susan J. Ellis

On the Shoulders of Giants

We were saddened to hear that Susan Ellis passed away on February 24, after a long, valiant bout with cancer — she was the founder of Energize, Inc and Everyone Ready, and she was a pioneer in the field of volunteerism and its online space.

If you have books on volunteer engagement in your collection, there’s no doubt at least one was touched by Susan in some way. She wrote or co-wrote 14 books, served as the editor in chief for The Journal of Volunteer Administration, launched the field’s first online journal, and spoke all over the world on the topic of volunteer management. She and her team were the publishing catalysts for a broad body of knowledge in the form of books, journals, and an encyclopedic reference library for practitioners.

Susan was known for her tenacity, vigor, humor, and spirit. She impacted everyone she came in contact with. Through her pioneering work online, she paved the way for others like VolunteerPro to co-exist in the space. We stand on the shoulders of giants like Susan.

Our First Interaction with Susan

susan j. ellisSusan was also known for giving unreserved tough love. When we launched VolunteerPro four years ago, we reached out to Susan to request a listing on the Energize website. Although I had opened my consulting practice six years before, our online training hub was in its infancy. It’s an understatement to say that we had no idea what we were in for as we fumbled through building our website.

In response to our request, within a few days, my team member Tracey received a long, impassioned email from Susan. Tracey and I were a bit taken aback because the email included a laundry list of items we needed to improve about our site. After nursing our wounds (and harboring a bit of indignation, no lie!), we took a second look. What Susan offered us was solid advice, and the time she took to review our site and write her critique was a true gift. We quickly implemented her advice and have continued to grow VolunteerPro to what it is today.

I have no doubt that the field of volunteer management has more presence because of Susan. Her bold, fearless spirit has helped us all elevate the field. For that, we are truly grateful.

Susan, you will be missed.

The Susan J. Ellis Foundation

Always thinking of how to lift up the field of volunteer administration, Susan left a request to establish the Susan J. Ellis Foundation to “provide grants or support programs that will expand volunteer administration and support education and research activities in volunteerism.”  

If you are interested in supporting this worthy cause, send checks to:

Susan J. Ellis Foundation
℅ Energize, Inc.
5450 Wissahickon Ave,  #C-13
Philadelphia PA 19144

If you have questions, contact

Virtual Memorial Gathering

There will be a virtual gathering to celebrate her Susan’s life and legacy. Everyone is welcome.

Date: Sunday, March 10
Time: 2pm GMT -5 / EST
Audio: follow directions on the screen