Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Top Ten Moments

The top ten moments for Volunteer management in 2010

Its that time of the year where people review the year gone by. On a personal note I hope that it was a good year for you. If not, I hope that 2011 brings much more to you.

In regards to the sector of volunteer management here’s my list of the top ten highlights. It’s a personal list of course. To me these were the moments where our profession was nudged forward a little. And they are mostly based on my blogging.

The top ten moments for Volunteer management in 2010

10. Volunteering England holds National Conference for Volunteer Management. Other nations still lag behind.

9. Volunteering Tasmania grant scholarships allowing people to attend the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer management in Adelaide.

8. DJ Cronin launches this blog in March. An independent voice for Volunteer management. And still a sleeping tiger. Watch this space.

7. Debate on OZVPM listserv community on definitions of volunteering. In April there were 221 entries or contributions to this listserv on a debate on whether or not volunteering existed outside the not for profit sector. Some people stated that they would compile a synopsis of the debate but we still await that.

6. Jayne Cravens Blog. Continuing to push the envelope. Some people are quick to call themselves “leading international thinkers” This person is the real deal and check out her new look blog.

5. National Australia Bank responds to my open letter to them via my blog. I contacted NAB which does a great job promoting volunteering asking them to consider some support for Volunteer Management. At least they responded. Sad to say, I have no idea if AAVA ever followed up on this or took the lead especially since NAB said in their reply: “We are going to have a look at the AAVA website and investigate what we can further do to celebrate this important day, thanks to bringing it to our attention.”

4. e-volunteerism. New look. New articles every month. Should be on every volunteer managers must read list. Unfortunately it is not.

3. International Volunteer Management Day 2010 – lots of great initiatives. The day officially recognised in some states in the USA. In Australia Senator Ursula Stephens moving a notice of motion in the Australian senate which recognised the sector of Volunteer Management.

2. My message to VA and AAVA on my blog in regards to IVMD 2010. Still waiting for a reply from either side. What does this tell us? A highlight for me because it demonstrates to me why we need a blog like this in the first place. So have a read to recap.

Dear Volunteering Australia

You are the peak body for volunteering in my country. You do some great work. Yet the perception I and others have is that you totally “dissed” this day. As a volunteer Manager who is passionate about my job and volunteering, I was hurt by this. If my perception is wrong please correct me. But I simply appeal to you to drop the politics and embrace the day for the good of unity in volunteerism. One day VA will celebrate the day. Why not now? Please don’t give me material for another blog next year!


My professional association for volunteer management in Australia. A mere mention of IVMD on your website doesn’t cut it. Please see my “Dear Volunteering Australia “ comment above and please be more vocal for my profession! Perhaps you are making strides to support our sector but we need to know this. We need to see some evidence of this. Please be louder in championing our cause AAVA.

1. The work of the Volunteer Management Sector. The difference they made daily in 2010. The many people they inspired. The communities they built. Leading millions of volunteers throughout our globe – activists, companions, healers, agents for change, lifesavers, counselors, builders, dreamers. Artists, advocates for freedom and free speech.
And here’s to a wonderful 2011 for Volunteer Management!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thank you for being part of my blog in 2010

“Deep down inside we know that the best gifts don't come from catalogs
or shopping malls. They don't come in brightly-colored packages
or fancy envelopes and they're not sitting under a tree somewhere...
The best gifts come from the heart. They come when we look at each other
REALLY look at each other and say 'You mean a lot to me' or 'I'm so glad you're a part of my life' A gift like that will never go out of style or be forgotten or be returned for a different size. A gift like that can change the world." - Ron Atchison

Saturday, December 18, 2010




Don J Volau reports from Alturia where a secret underground of volunteering is taking place.

I had never even heard of the island of Alturia until I received the anonymous email last month. Disbelief and suspicion were the only ways to describe my feelings to that email. A hoax surely I thought to myself. A follow on letter with a return ticket to this island got my rapid attention though. If this is a hoax then the last laugh will be for me I thought as I needed a few days away with sun, sea and Saxophone! So I packed my saxophone and boarded Alturia Air and headed for this mysterious island.

Talk about a rough trip. The food was rough. The service was rough. Even the landing was rough. As soon as I landed I sent a report to MJ Cowlings Travel Blog.

I was met by a placard carrying man aged in his sixties. Unfortunately he had gotten my name wrong and I looked nervously at Security as I approached the man with the placard that said “ Bong J”.

My hopes of heading straight to the hotel and having a long hot bath with toasted sanwiches were dashed when my contact, who identified himself as Socrates, informed me that we had to head straight to a meeting of the SVS – the Secret Volunteering Society. I secretly scanned our vehicle for cameras fully expecting to be framed for some reality show but I could spot none. If they were secret and hidden cameras they were doing their job well.

The capitol of Alturia is Alturia. They have a famous song in these parts called Alturia Alturia. Though this has no relevance to this article I thought I would mention it anyway.

We stopped outside an abandoned building. I knew this because the sign on the door said “abandoned building”

My new friend Socrates knocked on this door three times. Then a voice behind the door – “Password” I stifled a giggle but unfortunately with that effort I let off some wind. Socrates frowned at me as he replied ‘SV7”. The door opened and we entered.

Inside was a room.

In it a long table. Gathered around the table were two dozen people. Men and women. Young and old. I was seated at the back of the room and pulled out my tape recorder.

The meeting began.

A tall gentleman without a hair on his head but with a luscious beard began.

“Welcome to our regulars and a warm welcome to our new visitors. I am SV 1. Thank you for volunteering to be here tonight.” With that the room erupted with laughter. I sat there wondering what the joke was and pretended to laugh along. I dared not attempt stifling another giggle.

“We are gathered here tonight to allow our stories to be told and to release our sense of guilt. And although that guilt feels real we support each other because it has no basis in reality. I continue to volunteer at my local homeless hostel because it makes me feel good, it will help me get a job in my chosen field, it looks great on my resume and my volunteering story is a great hit with the chicks”

More laughter. More stifling.

“I am a selfish volunteer” – and yet I dare not reveal my motivation for volunteering. As you are well aware some people have hijacked the definition of volunteering over the years. Now peope are saying that volunteering on our island can only be altruistic. There can be no tangible return for volunteers. There can be no other motivation for volunteering other than being a good and loving citizen who wants to give a helping hand to others”

He had my attention

“All of us have become experts at lying at volunteer interviews and we help others do the same. We are misunderstood. We are banished because of ignorance. And yet we provide the same benefit to the community as those Pure Volunteers.”

Mumbles all around.

And then individuals spoke

“Hi I am SV 411”

The room responds- “Hi SV 411”

“Last week I went for a volunteer interview and didn’t tell them I was a job seeker”

Oohs and aahs reverberated around the room. I looked puzzled at Socrates who was seated beside me. He whispered in my ear – “last year job seekers were barred from applying for volunteer positions in society because they were deemed a flight risk if they got jobs. They were also deemed to be users of volunteering..tsk..tsk..”

“Hi I am SV 526 and I volunteer at a NNFP”

The room took a collective gasp of breath and people approached this lady giving her hugs and shaking her hands.

Again I looked towards Socrates for guidance.

“She volunteers at a nursing home that is privately owned. So she volunteers at a non not for profit. Her type is frowned at by the peak body for volunteering here. In fact in their literature they say she doesn’t exist”

I looked at this lady with concerned eyes now.

“Don’t worry Bong; we have secret social workers to assist her with her volunteering identity crisis”

‘It’s Don actually”

And I heard more stories from Secret Volunteers or SVS as they are known. The night ended with everyone linking arms and singing “My way” by Frank Sinatra.

The next morning I flew out of Alturia with that dreadful airline. On their in flight magazine I was bemused by the printing of their national anthem on the back page

“Have Alturia always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Alturia to give you wealth.
Alturia gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn't anything else to give you.”

By the way – I never got time to play the saxophone. I thought I should mention this. I thought you might find this detail important.

Don J Volau

December 18, 2010

With apologies to Constantine P Cavafy

Thank you speech to Volunteers 2 - Guest Post

One of my favorite quotes is “To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.”

You may never know the profound effect that you may have made on a person’s life. A kind word, a gentle touch or a listening ear can mean so much to someone who is sick, in pain or lonely. You generously give your gift of time to make contact, provide support and encouragement and perhaps provide humor to make someone’s day a bit more bearable because you have taken the time to care and to listen.

You give of yourself and bring with you your life experiences, skills, abilities, compassion, intellect and humor and ask for nothing in return yet you receive friendship, appreciation and satisfaction. You volunteer for many different reasons but for whatever reason you volunteer , you provide support, skills, talents and abilities to give someone hope and strength and the courage to face another day. You do not ask for accolades. You give your time generously without any expectation of reward. Yet you receive the reward of comradeship with other volunteers who you may never have met otherwise. Lasting friendships, social activities and fun may be just some of the unexpected rewards that you gain from your volunteering experience.

Please know that we genuinely appreciate and value your commitment of time to volunteering with our organization and for this we thank you.

Wendy Moore

Wendy Moore is a Volunteer Coordinator from Brisbane Australia, a member of AAVA and a graduate of the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Volunteer Management: Be careful what you wish for!

Have been watching the Energize Hot Topic with interest this month. Link to the site is on the right hand side of this page. I always encourage readers of this blog to have a look at the Hot Topics both on Energize and the OzVPM sites. For Volunteer Management to move forward we need to engage with these hot topics. By engaging, I mean more than just reading. When I was President of AAVA some years back I used to constantly encourage the board to respond to Hot Topics. I believed then as I believe now that Professional Associations for Volunteer managers should be taking every opportunity to respond to issues of the day.

Anyway, back to the Energize Hot topic. In this months topic Susan J Ellis explores some of the issues of vocabulary and labelling, pointing out that how someone defines the core word of our field often has strong impact on some critical, practical matters.

It was in fact a couple of responses to this Hot Topic that got me in turn responding. I simply had to respond to the people who gave their opinion on what a “True Volunteer” was.

I have come across in the last 12 months some people within our sector talking about “True Volunteering” and “Pure Volunteering”. Some have a view that volunteering should be solely altruistic. Some say there should be absolutely no tangible benefit to the volunteer themselves. I once came across an organisation that wouldn’t take on job seekers as volunteers simply because they would up and go as soon as they got a job! Some people hold the view that if you volunteer for selfish reasons it not volunteering in its truest essence! Humbug!

I worry when people judge the motivation of people who volunteer. Ask their motivation by all means. Plan your program accordingly. Use people’s motivations for research and study but judge it? Please no!

If someone comes to your organisation and they want to volunteer their time simply to have volunteering on their resume or to utilise volunteering as a stepping stone into paid employment do you have a problem with this? I don’t.

Do you see a volunteer as “less true” if they aren’t volunteering for altruistic reasons? I don’t.

I believe that we get into risky territory when we begin to use the language of “True volunteer”. I know plenty of people volunteering who utilise the experience they get as a stepping stone into employment or further study. I see their motivation to be different to other people motivations and I certainly see them as true volunteers. I know people who volunteer to purely escape social isolation. Should we be ever suggesting that they are not ‘True Volunteers”? I know people who are volunteering to add to their resume. I know people who are volunteering for a myriad amount of reasons. To me they are all volunteers. And they are all doing volunteering that, at the end of the day, is of benefit to the community.

What dangerous road do we go down if we start judging peoples motivation for volunteering? Do we hold separate recognition events for our volunteers – one for the “True Volunteers” and the other for the…what do we call them then….the “false Volunteers?” Do we provide a special training course for Volunteer Managers to decipher the “trueness” of volunteer applicants?

This is serious. There is a lot of debate going on about the definitions of volunteering at the moment; on this site, on blogs, at the UN and at the level of peak bodies. I urge caution as we move forward. I ask who do we risk alienating when we come up with our concrete definitions. On what basis do we come up with definitions? Are they guided by tradition, personal viewpoints, religion or morals? Whose?

What about volunteers who are excluded because of concrete definitions. Currently the peak body for volunteering in Australia states that volunteering only exists in the Not for Profit sector. They state this as though it is a fact. It is not. Hundreds if not thousands of people volunteer for private nursing homes and hospitals for example. If ones concrete statements are philosophical beliefs then name them as such. Don’t mistake or confuse them with facts.

There are many people out there in our communities doing work that benefits the communities. They see themselves as volunteers. We have no right, absolutely none, to judge their motivation… period!

So let’s be more careful as we move to define something that is so fluid and open. Let’s be careful what we wish for lest we alienate volunteers in our communities.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Leadership in Volunteer Management

“One of the signs of a great leader is the ability to describe, in detail, the unique talents of each of their people – what drives each one, how each one thinks, how each one builds relationships. I deliberately look for something to like about each of my people. Not spending most of the time talking about peoples few areas of non-talent and how to eradicate them. No matter how well intended, relationships preoccupied with weaknesses never end well” – Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

The above quote really resonated with me in terms of looking at leadership styles that sit well in Volunteer Management. I am sure that we all have our own unique type of styles but I question if some sit better with managing volunteers.

Let’s break the above quote down and analyze how we might apply the theory.

How do you describe, in detail, the unique talents of each of your people what drives each one, how each one thinks, how each one builds relationships?

Do we currently do this and if so how? If not how do we begin to achieve this? Is there a narrative on their achievements? The question I often ask is whether or not organisations management and staff know about the talents and achievements of their volunteers. Are we educating up enough? I don’t believe it is enough for Volunteer Management just to know this about their own teams. When was the last time you did a presentation to staff or management on the unique talents of your people? When have you last taken this narrative to your community and utilized it as both a recognition and recruitment tool? I believe we should also be talking more on what motivates our people to volunteer. The reasons for this are many and some include our ability to match volunteers to the right task, our planning for the future and again creating a narrative on the culture of volunteering at our organizations. Furthermore I often argue that Volunteer management becomes aware of emerging trends before peak bodies do through surveys especially if we are networking effectively with other leaders of volunteers. This is one of the reasons I continually get frustrated at the exclusion of Volunteer Management at the table when it comes to discussions on the future of volunteerism. Volunteers are relationship builders, within their own teams, with staff, with clients and the general community. Do we focus on this aspect when selling our program, or looking for extra resources for our programs? Do we miss some key selling points like this?

Do we deliberately look for something to like about each of our people? Not spending most of the time talking about peoples few areas of non-talent and how to eradicate them?

How can this apply to volunteers some may ask? Don’t we like all of our volunteers? Very often we don’t exist in a Utopian Volunteering world. We may be challenged by some volunteers at times. I often see workshops on “How to deal with difficult volunteers”. I still hear in Volunteer Management circles “Can you sack a volunteer”? The above quote points us in another direction. It goes to how we deal with these situations. It reminds us how we can be truly professional in our dealings with volunteers. When I first commenced in Volunteer Management I was startled by how some groups that got together spent a lot of time “bagging” some of their volunteer team. And while I understand the need for letting off steam in confidential and safe spaces I do believe how we talk about our people says a lot about our professionalism. I’ve cringed at some of the titles of workshops on the topic of dealing with difficult volunteers and while our issues and challenges must be addressed we must find a more positive narrative in doing so. Deliberately looking for something to like in someone you have difficulty with can apply anywhere in our lives, whether it be through various relationships, with staff, management or colleagues. It is another way of demonstrating leadership. It can loosen steadfast and hard views on people and shine a little light where there might be perceived darkness.

Buckingham’s and Coffman’s quote can guide us to lead in certain situations rather than manage. What do you think?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

International Volunteer Day December 2010


Building community

Social capitol

Connecting people

Involving people

Sue Hine in her blog today (address on links) states “Volunteering is an expression of active citizenship, giving, and value to community wellbeing” and then goes on to state:

“Note it is a description, not a definition.”

I kept coming back to that one line today. “Note it is a description, not a definition.”

Why did it resonate so much? Perhaps we can only attempt to describe volunteering. Perhaps it is a fallacy to attempt to define it. Perhaps we cannot define something as ever changing and fluid as volunteering.

Happy International Volunteer Day to volunteers all around our globe!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Professional and effective Volunteer Management will not threaten jobs !

"In your mind you have capacities you know

To telepath messages through the vast unknown

Please close your eyes and concentrate

With every thought you think

Upon the recitation we’re about to sing

(*) calling occupants of interplanetary craft

Calling occupants of interplanetary most extraordinary craft

Repeat (*)

You’ve been observing our earth

And we’d like to make a contact with you

We are your friends" Copyright The Carpenters

Jayne Cravens has a fantastic article on her blog at the moment. Please check it out for yourselves and you’ll find her blog address here. This is what Jayne is saying on Facebook:

“The firefighters union in the USA (IAFF) is against volunteer firefighters. I've blogged today about this incredibly misguided stance, and hope that state and local volunteer management associations all over the USA will also take a public stand on this issue. I encourage others to blog about it, to say something in your Facebook about it, to tweet about it, to put something in your newsletter about it!”

Here is what I posted in response to Jayne’s blog

"Professional and effective volunteer managers simply will not tolerate, at their organisations, any attempt to use volunteers as a replacement for paid labor. It’s almost a given among the colleagues I know. It has become so ethically ingrained into the volunteer management ethos that it begs the question whether the union had any semblance of dialogue with the Volunteer Management sector. Maybe they should if they haven’t.
Here is an issue that a national association for volunteer management can get its teeth stuck into. I am still a little unclear on who that organisation might be in the USA.

I have, throughout my career, talked with unions on the matter of volunteerism with positive outcomes. So have colleagues of mine. It’s amazing what honest dialogue and transparency can achieve.

An effective and professional volunteer management sector need not be enemies with any union movement. Au contraire – they can be their best allies ensuring volunteers are never used inappropriately. After all that is the lifeblood of ethical volunteer management! So, in reality, we need not be alien towards each other. “We are your friends”

Thanks Jayne for raising an important issue – although for me the worrying underlying issue is the lack of action on the part of our the volunteer management sector in combating misperceptions on volunteering as well as the lack of the “recognition factor” in terms of been engaged in dialogue when it comes to these matters.

Too often Volunteer Management is excluded from the narrative. For that we only have ourselves to blame. I would make a fairly safe bet that unions don’t even know that a volunteer management sector exists not to mind a professional body for same!

A first step in addressing this will be professional volunteer management associations around the world taking heed of your call to make a stand on this issue. Let us know when this happens!"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amazing professionalism and resilience from Volunteering England!

I have never met Justin Davis Smith.

Justin is the CEO at Volunteering England. I think that the only engagement I have had with him was a brief exchange at the online Service Jam recently. But I’ve been a fan of Volunteering England for awhile now. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Rob Jackson who works at VE and we have both been on the same faculty one year for the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management – a great guy with a great passion for volunteerism. Passionate people. Leaders. And its really a test of character when one is faced with such a challenge as cuts and loss of funding and staff losses.

Justin Davis Smith wrote recently to VEs membership and one paragraph stood out for me:

“I should like to sign off with two heartfelt thanks. First, to my staff team at Volunteering England who have borne the difficult news this week with amazing professionalism and resilience. They are an amazing group of people who have been responsible for some fantastic work over the years in the support of volunteering and I thank them publicly for their commitment, energy and passion. Secondly, I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to email, write, tweet and blog (from all over the world) to express sympathy with the situation we find ourselves in and to say how much you value the work we do. It is hugely appreciated.”

That’s the type of leadership I talk about in several of my blogs. Despite current challenges facing his organisation, Here is a CEO being transparent, explaining the situation and as the above paragraph demonstrates encouraging and acknowledging his team. Some people globally who have followed VE have written their support on forums and blogs. And despite the challenges that must be occupying his mind – Mr Davis Smith finds time to acknowledge these people. Leadership !

If I were a volunteer Manager in England I’d probably be writing a placard and getting some other volunteer managers on the street with me to protest these cuts !

And hey – imagine this scenario? A volunteer boycott. “Hey Government – if you are not going to support our peak body for volunteering more then perhaps we won’t volunteer for the Olympics? "

I am sure VE would never even entertain the thought and I know they will work as hard as ever to build volunteering infrastructure in their state and to ensure events like the Olympics are a great success for the nation.

While I jest with the above scenarios I do try and make a point that says – “how long can we tolerate a general governmental lazy attitude to volunteering, no matter what country we reside in?”

Another Random thought: any chance McDonalds could come to the rescue by some corporate sponsorship to keep these staff on? It would tie in nicely with their recruitment and management of Olympic volunteers after all.

Hey – I’m an independent blogger. I can say these things!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010



Previously in the Accidental Volunteer Manager: Mr. Bucket an incompetent assistant HR manager is transferred into the vacant Volunteer Management position at Hope Hospital. Working with a part time volunteer coordinator named Jan Mr. Bucket faces his first volunteer interview on his first day!

(Knock on door)

Mr. Bucket: Enter!

(a young guy enters the room aged in his early twenties.)

Alex: Good morning!

Mr Bucket: Yes. sure you are in the right place?

Alex: I think so - you the volunteer boss yeah?

Bucket: actually manager of volunteers.

Alex: Sweet - I’m in the right place then

Bucket: Good lord!

Alex: eh?

Bucket: Nothing..please take a seat

Alex: Thanks mate

Bucket: I didn’t catch your name?

Alex: Its Alex..Alex Cartwright

Bucket: Well Alex can you tell me why you are here today?

Alex: Well I was looking to volunteer at your hospital

Bucket: I see…and what do you do Alex?

Alex: Well I’m between jobs at the moment

Bucket: Unemployed then?

Alex: Yeah..But looking…thinking of working in the health field maybe some day

Bucket: In a paid capacity?

Alex: eh? Why yes

Bucket: I have to tell you straight up Alex, lest there be any confusion. We don’t pay our volunteers.

Alex: I beg your pardon?

Bucket: I’m afraid our volunteers work for free!

Alex: I’m not too sure where you are going with this?

Bucket: I am just checking that you are not thinking that you are applying for a paid position!

Alex: Ok. I’m getting a little confused here. I was after some volunteering opportunities

Bucket: and you know that means it’s for free?

Alex: are you kidding?

Bucket: absolutely young man – we do not pay our volunteers

Alex: Well excuse me for just one moment here Mr Shovel I know exactly what a volunteer is! ! !

Bucket: what what? Please don’t raise your voice and its Bucket thank you!

Long pause

Bucket: it seems that your motivation for volunteering is …how do I say it in a nice way…a little self centered yes?

Alex: what do you mean?

Bucket: it just seems to me that you want a volunteering job as a leg up to a career in the health field! !

Alex: well that’s just a part of it yes

Bucket: and there are other parts?

Alex: Of course! I want to be able to be there for people who need someone to chat with or give hand and foot massage to patients or,,

Bucket: you do massage?

Alex: Yes I am a trained masseuse

Bucket: Good grief!

Alex: Good grief why?

Bucket: well I just didn’t think men were into it that’s all!

Alex: I see.

Bucket: Look I’ll be Frank Alex

Alex: so its Frank Bucket then

Bucket: what what?

Alex: attempt at humour to lighten this strange experience

Bucket: strange for you is it Mr. Cartwright? Well let me be straight up then..Because I don’t want to waste your time and I hope you don’t want to waste mine. Our volunteers are Alchewrealistic you know….dont look befuddled…I looked it up in the dictionary today you know! We are looking for people who want to help others without helping themselves. We also want volunteers who can commit for a number of years not people who will leave just because they get a job. You are not the right fit for our organisation. I am not too sure you understand what a volunteer is so I hope you appreciate my honesty in saying that we don’t have a position for you here.

Alex: Thank you. In fact I am very grateful for your honesty Mr. Bucket

Bucket: why, I am glad that…

Alex: Because I would be horrified volunteering for such an incompetent ignorant and clueless so called volunteer manager like you!

Bucket: What what? Excuse me How dare..

Exit Alex!

Bucket..why…I never!

Enter Jan

Jan: well how did that go?

Bucket: I am sure we have a reject letter Jan. if so can we please send him 10 of them!

Jan: what? He seemed such a nice guy when I spoke to him

Bucket: whatever! Any messages Jan while I was busy?

Jan: actually yes – we had a chap from the Times call

Bucket: The Times newspaper?

Jan: er yes..he said he was calling the odd volunteer manager looking for some comments on International Volunteer Managers Day

Bucket: goodness! What did you say?

Jan: I said he was calling the right place if he was looking for the odd volunteer manager

Bucket: Very funny Jan I’m sure. Did he leave a number?

Jan: Of course

Bucket. Fantastic. I will call him back

Jan: do you even know what International Volunteer Managers Day is about?

Bucket: well the title makes it a little obvious Jan does it not?

Jan: and you think you can handle an interview on volunteer management with a major media outlet do you?

Bucket: Oh Jan. ye of little faith! I may have only commenced my first day in volunteer management but I come from HR remember? And look how I handled today’s troublesome interview what what?

Jan: er…indeed! Well I can’t wait to see this

Bucket: Excellent Jan…I knew I would win you over to my style of management. Now give me that number and I shall call them straight away what what?


Thursday, November 25, 2010

A letter from two young volunteers to inspire Volunteer Management !

Today I was moved. In a way I haven’t been moved for awhile. I manage a volunteer program at a wonderful hospital in Australia.

I have a passion for my occupation for many reasons. Quite simply I love it ! yes – a simple statement but so simple in its truth. I know most of you feel the same. When you are asked what you love most about your job how do you respond?

For me it always comes back to the people. The people I work with. Whether that be the wonderful staff who coordinate daily activity or the volunteers who truly inspire me.

But let’s be honest. One can become a little complacent at times. Let’s be real here. The job can be challenging at times. Managing and coordinating volunteers encompasses much. As a leader you need to be switched on 100% of the time. A job as important and vital as yours demands much. You must work hard to ensure your program runs smoothly. Sometimes we get so busy and lost in that busyness that we forget the “why”. Why am I doing this in the first place?

Where I work there were two 17 year old volunteers who volunteered at the hospital for a year. They have both just retired from volunteering as their study now will involve an absolute full time commitment. They both hope to return to volunteering in the future.

They made a large thank you card together. In it was a letter. It was written by both volunteers.This is no ordinary letter. It is a heartfelt letter from two young ladies on how volunteering has changed their lives forever. I was going to save publishing this until International Volunteers day on December 5th. But then I thought that some of you might want to use this inspiring letter for your own recognition events.

It is a letter from 2 volunteers named Charini and Lisa. I have sought their permission to reproduce.

It is a letter that brought a tear to my eye. It is a letter that confirmed why I love the job that I do. It is a letter that I believe every young person who is considering volunteering should read.

Too often our youth get a bad rap. This is a letter to shine the positive light on youth that so many deserve.

I hope you get out of it as much as I did. Feel free to share.

Volunteerism is in good hands if this is the general view of our future generation. With thanks to Charini and Lisa – here is their letter slightly abridged to protect identify:

Dearest DJ, Wendy and Volunteers,

Exactly a year ago, we had just completed the most stressful year of our lives and had finally graduated from school. Although we were elated at the prospect of never having to fold down our socks again, we were at a major crossroad with numerous life-changing decisions to make. At this stage, we are still unable to say if we chose the right paths with many of those decisions. However, we are able to say that one of the earliest choices we made was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best. That decision was, of course, to volunteer at your hospital.

We breezed through our interview and from that moment we both knew that it was here that we’d learn precious lessons about life whilst making as much mischief we could without getting into too much trouble…..

At first we found volunteering very challenging, especially conversing with patients. I (Charini) remember on my second day, I was partnered with Andrew+ and we were talking to an elderly gentleman. The conversation was quite light and humorous, when, out of the blue, the patient said “I lost my leg”. This was the first time a patient had discussed such a personal issue in front of me and my mind went completely blank. I don’t remember the rest of the conversation because I was so shocked. However, I must have been listening to Andrew subconsciously, because only a few months later, I met a lady who confided in me that she was going to die. To this day, that is one of the most dreadful sentences I’ve heard. This time, I was a little more prepared but at the back of my mind, I kept asking myself,” What can you do that’s of any use to this lady? You have no medical training. You’re only 17, you don’t know anything about death. How can YOU help?” By the time I left her room, half an hour later, I had my answer. I could make her smile. And that, I realised, is the power of a volunteer. That is the gift we give.

Another time, I (Lisa) met a gentleman in his 90’s. We had been talking for quite some time when I realised his feet had not stopped moving throughout our entire conversation. When I asked him about it, he explained that he loved to dance and took his wife out every Friday night to do just that. Dance. The simplicity of his story was awe-inspiring. It was a story of courage, love of life and pursuing dreams. It made me think, “If this gentleman can go dancing every week despite the various health issues facing him at his age… What can I do? What will I achieve?” One day, I will be able to answer these questions and on that day, I will remember the man who taught me that not even the sky is the limit.

This year has been a tremendous year and a phenomenal experience for us both. It goes without saying that it would not have been such an amazing year without each and every one of the volunteers whom we have met and even those we have yet to encounter. For the incredible memories you’ve given us, thank you. Thank you for welcoming us into the volunteering circle with such warmth and acceptance. Thank you for your friendship; your bright shining faces and vibrant, loving personalities have made us look forward to coming in every week. It’s so heartening to know that there is a group of people with a wealth of life experience in the community who are willing to give their time to help others.

A special thanks must go to both DJ and Wendy for guiding us, supporting us and letting us learn from our mistakes. Both your jovial and compassionate personalities are so illuminating it is undeniably evident even through your phone greetings. Thank you for blessing us with the opportunity; words cannot express just how grateful we are.

And so we leave you with just one more story…..
One day, we met a patient called Graham+. In a word, he was amazing. We must have sat with him for at least an hour and a half before being called away. He gave us new perspectives on life, he gave us stories of childhood and he promised to make us lunch if we ever went to his home town. In turn, we gave him laughter, our hopes and dreams for our future and of course more, more laughter. We never saw Graham again but he has always stayed with us. And we’ve truly come to believe that for every volunteer, there is a “Graham”. So watch out for him. He’s out there. “

These two young people had the courage to write this letter. I hope the fact that countless people in your own programs doing amazing things inspires you ! Never forget how awe inspiring and life changing your occupation can be !

+names have been changed

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reaction to the Accidental Volunteer Manager

I’ve been blown away by the reaction to this little piece today. The site hasn’t had so many visitors in one day since I started this humble blog in March this year. Thanks everyone for their comments and ticks here but I’ve also received a number of emails off this site asking when the next installment will be produced?

Well, I originally wrote this piece as a way of expressing things through a humorous medium. Obviously in a very very short time it is striking a chord. Why is that? I think that could be a topic for a blog on its own. Maybe we all need a bit of a laugh. Maybe we all need to lighten up a little. Maybe we identify with what is going on here. A laugh maybe but in some ways sadly true! Or not sadly but frustratingly true!

Perhaps I won’t psychoanalyze it too much!

I am hoping that excerpts from the “Accidental Volunteer Manager” will be published twice a week. That is a hope not a promise as one will need the humour gene to be active. But I will try.

How long will it last. A one act play? And entire epic? Well. That could be up to you.

But watch out for part two of “The Accidental Volunteer Manager” this week and thank you for sharing the humor. :-)

“If you remain calm and keep your heads while those all around you are losing theirs – then you obviously don’t understand the situation”

Saturday, November 20, 2010

World Premier Exclusive! "The Accidental Volunteer Manager" A Play by DJ Cronin

The Accidental Volunteer Manager
© DJ Cronin 2010
Brisbane Australia

Setting: Hope Hospital
Scene 1:

Hospital Board meeting

Chair: Right then, that appears to be all that we have to discuss unless there is any other business

Director 1: Oh yes – I forgot to mention – we’ve lost our Volunteer Manager

Chair: We had a volunteer manager?

Director 2: We have volunteers here?

Director1 : Indeed we do - 200 to be precise and their manager just had a heart attack.

Chair: How terrible – so we need a new volunteer manager then?

Director 1 : Indeed we do

Chair: Mmmm. Are they paid?

Director 1: indeed they are

Director 2: Why are they called volunteer manager then? Imagine me being called Volunteer director of nursing? Haw haw haw.

Chair: we recruit internally or externally?

Director 3: well actually this could be an opportunity for us at HR. I recruited someone to the position of HR assistant manager a few months ago

Director 2: not the unfortunate named Mr. Bucket?

Director: Yes: the very man. He’s not really working out for us but we could transfer him to this voluntary manager role or whatever it is

Chair: Ok. Make it so. And then can you please ensure we get someone competent this time for the HR role? Good. Meeting over then.

Scene 2:

HR Managers office

HR Man : Thank you for taking the time to see me Mr Bucket

Bucket: Look, I know things haven’t worked out so you can save the crap and tell me to go now. It’s the end of my probation period anyway

HR Man: Well yes Mr Bucket, obviously we’ve had some issues but I still see you as having a future with our hospital and in fact we would like to offer you another managerial role

Bucket: Really? That’s great:

HR Man: well yes, will need to take a drop in wages though

Bucket: Oh

HR Man: a substantial one in fact…but this role will give you a chance to prove yourself. See it as a stepping stone back into more senior management again

Bucket: Good grief – what are you offering me here - management of the morgue?

HR Man: Not quite. The volunteers

Bucket: The volunteers? Me? To manage? But…I’ve never done that before

HR Man: It will be a cinch. It will be the ideal training ground for you to attain a good position in Human Resource Management

Bucket: Look, ive seen them around the place in their purple tops but I haven’t a clue what they do?

HR Man: Apparently no one else in senior management knows either… don’t worry

Bucket: How many volunteers do we employ?

Hr man: None! They are not paid remember?

Bucket: Ok how many volunteers exist here?

HR Man – apparently 200 or so

Bucket: Good grief. When do I start?

HR Man: as soon as you leave this office. We do have a lady by the name of Jan. Apparently she works as a part time volunteer coordinator 3 days a week. She will meet with you at your new office and fill you in on what you have to do. Apparently she is very sweet and nice and has been in her role for 20 odd years.

Bucket – and that’s it?

HR Man – Yes. Good luck.

Scene 3

Volunteer manager’s office

Knock on door

Bucket: Come in please… must be Jan our volunteer coordinator

Jan: Yes hello Mr. Shovel

Bucket: Its Bucket Jan

Jan: Goodness. I am so sorry

Bucket: Never mind – please have a seat. Now Jan. I won’t beat around the bush. I am the new manager of this area and I’ve had years managing different departments. I’m a fair man but I expect my workers to work hard and to be tight and to meet all deadlines. I expect loyalty to me and to the company. I want our department to be results driven. And I will tell you this straight up Jan..I will not tolerate slackers on the team.

Jan: er…ok….have you managed volunteers before?

Bucket: No Jan I have not. And that’s neither here or there right now.

Jan: you know what they do?

Bucket: I can have a guess. I imagine mostly stuffing envelopes and making charts. I would hazzard a guess that most of it is menial stuff as our retired community don’t exactly want anything too taxing in their twilight years what what?

Jan: What?

Bucket: What?

Jan: You said what what?

Bucket: Did I? Never mind. So tell me how do you coordinate the old dearies?

Jan: if I may say Mr. Bucket, your impression of the volunteering team is very wrong to begin with. In fact the makeup of volunteerism has changed dramatically over the years and we are dealing with varying dynamics now in volunteering whether those be the motivations for volunteering, the demographics both culturally and age wise in volunteering and of course the episodic nature of the volunteering act that has challenged us to be more flexible and indeed more dynamic in how we coordinate this shifting and fluid movement.

(There is a long long pause as Mr Bucket stares at Jan gob smacked)

Jan: Furthermore I must inform you that our volunteers vary in age from 16 to 92. Volunteers will not stay if they are given sedentary and menial jobs unless of course those types of tasks are of their own choosing. The motivations for volunteering are not just altruistic Mr. Bucket

Mr Bucket: Altruistic? Please explain?

Jan: I suggest if you are going to be our manager that you look up that word in the dictionary. Furthermore may I suggest you read up a little on Volunteer Management?

Mr Bucket: I beg your pardon. I will not tolerate such insolence on day one from you and…

Jan: and I will not tolerate such ignorance from you on day one! You have debased and insulted volunteers in your first 30 seconds. These people do a wonderful job here day in and day out and I am getting sick of people being given the role of volunteer manager without any thought. People who are using it as a stepping stone into something else. People who take on the role because they feel it’s safe and cuddly and people who take on the role because they feel they wouldn’t be able to get away with managing any other sort of program!

Mr Bucket: well why didn’t you go for the job yourself then?

Jan: Because it wasn’t advertised this time! And as a matter of fact I have been offered the job before. But I can only work part time due to family circumstances. I turned down the position of manager because I feel part time would not do it justice..and I said as Much to the powers that be. This is a very busy volunteer program Mr Bucket and getting bigger. It deserves a serious and professional full time manager!

Mr Bucket: I see. Let’s move right along shall we. So your office is in the next building which is called the volunteer shack and there are volunteers working there too around some tables doing some sort of work I believe..

Jan: Yes..if I can take you through the roles that our volunteers..

Mr Bucket: Yes yes yes..we shall get to that later. I believe you’ve also written a report on daily activity. I will catch up on that today. I see you have set up a team meeting for tomorrow. Excellent I can get to know our volunteers. Are all of them coming?

Jan: all of them? Good grief no. We have around 40 attending

Mr Bucket? : Only 40? Out of 200? That’s not good. Did you not make the meeting mandatory?

Jan: Mandatory?

Mr Bucket: Oh never mind. I guess I will catch up with all of them eventually what what?

Jan: er…sure. Now if you will excuse me I do have an interview to do.Shall we catch up later?

Mr Bucket? A volunteer interview? Excellent! I will take it Jan.

Jan: are you sure?

Mr Bucket? Of course. What role are they applying for?

Jan: they haven’t specified. He wants to volunteer somewhere in the hospital and is coming in to discuss options.

Mr Bucket: He?

Jan: yes. Why?

Mr Bucket: oh nothing. I just thought that women mostly volunteered.

Jan: Actually no. 40% of our volunteers are male

Mr Bucket: Extraordinary.

Jan: why is that so extraordinary?

Mr Bucket: I just didn’t realise men were into it

Jan: Oh good heavens.

Mr Bucket: right right. Send whoever he is in to me.

Jan: you want me to sit in on the interview with you?

Mr Bucket: absolutely not! I am sure you have some work to be carrying on with:

Jan: but you don’t even know what positions we offer

Mr Bucket: I have our brochure here with all we do – I will be fine. Don’t you worry about me. I have conducted hundreds of interviews in my HR positions

Jan: That’s what I am worried about

Mr Bucket: what what?

Jan: Never mind. Our prospective volunteer is waiting Mr Bucket

Mr Bucket: wonderful! Send him in. the long do you usually spend on interviews?

Jan: about 45 minutes to an hour

Mr Bucket: Good grief..whatever in heavens name do you spend all that time on? Never mind. Send the bloke into me please!

To be continued……

Tune in next time for the continuing saga of “The Accidental Volunteer Manager”! Watch Mr Bucket conduct his first volunteer interview, meet members of his team and stumble from one disaster to another…and this only on day one!
Will he survive? Will Jan survive? will volunteers survive?

Come back for more and see why the critics are raving about “The Accidental Volunteer Manager”

“Cutting edge……if you never read another play let this be it’” The Irish Sparrow

“ Mr Cronin has gone too far this time. His sarcasm turns my stomach” The Cameron Times

“ Mr Bucket is our modern day hero” – HR Views

"this is a very good representation of reality in some places. This would rival "The Office" or "The Librarians" as a TV series." - Wendy Moore, Volunteer coordinator, writer and international thinker.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

AAVA Award Winner announced - Well Done Heather Moore!

Relieved to see that AAVA, the professional body for volunteer managers in Australasia have at last, posted some info on who won the AAVA 2010 Volunteer Manager Award of Excellence.

This is what their website says

Heather Moore.

Heather is the General Manager of Volunteering Waikato in New Zealand and she is recognized for the following attributes:
• Ability to take the organisation from where it was to a different/better place through exceptional management of volunteers
• Contribution to expanding the profile and recognition of volunteering within and beyond her organisation
• Influence with funders and partner organisations
• Effectiveness in increasing the organisations capacity to support local communities
• Invests in engaging with groups that might otherwise be taken for granted or marginalised e.g. youth, new migrations, people in rural and remote towns
• Lives and breathes volunteering
• Strong creative management examples supporting her application

Poll result

Survey Results

In a recent poll on this blog 40% of respondents stated that they did not believe that their peak body for volunteering in their country supported Volunteer Management!
33% believed that their peak body did while 26% didn’t even know that they had a peak body for volunteering in their country!

Accept your lot in Volunteer Management and don't take it out on Volunteers!

Came across an article in the Conductive Chronicle. Never heard of that before but I get alerts whenever Volunteer management is mentioned. The article is all about preparing for Volunteers and placing them into appropriate positions which is all well and good but it was this particular paragraph that got my Irish up.

“As a volunteer manager, we have certain obligations. As much as we may be overworked, underpaid and possibly even under-appreciated (never!), we certainly don’t want to make any of that our volunteers’ problem. Here’s how to make sure your volunteers and your organization are reaching a mutually beneficial arrangement.”

There is so much wrong with that on so many levels. It smacks of defeatism. It’s a little pretentious and it devalues ethical behaviour in Volunteer management. I am unclear on what the authors experience of Volunteer management is but Ive yet to encounter a colleague grumbling about how lowly paid they are and how the volunteers will suffer for it!

Also, as Volunteer Managers we need as sector to ensure that we are not overworked, that we are not underpaid and that we work on building recognition for our field. We need to do this collectively as a sector. We need to be louder than the self perpetuating martyrs who accept their lot and thrive on the victimhood of “just a volunteer manager” mentality!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why Volunteer Management must be inspiring!

"Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe."
– Winston Churchill

Our capacity as Volunteer Managers to inspire is enormous. Like other facets of volunteer management that we ourselves seem to not recognise, inspiring people is one of the strongest traits I believe in effective and progressive Volunteer Management.

To look at this in real simplistic terms we first look at our programs and teams.

Sometimes the simplest yet amazing fact passes us by. We are people who manage and lead and coordinate people who are in our team for various reasons and motivations. They are not paid. Therefore to retain these people there must be a number of factors:

• The cause
• The motivation
• The leader

Three equally valid reasons for volunteer retention in my view. I know some can exist without the other. People volunteer for organisations and couldn’t give a hoot about the cause for the organisation because their motivation is based on some other factors. I know people who continue to volunteer for organisations even though their view of the volunteer management style is somewhat negative yet the cause of the organization sustains them. And perhaps there are those who are simply retained because they arrive at some place of satisfaction or self worth due to Volunteer management.

So taking the above paragraph aside for just a moment I want us to contemplate on the role of the inspiring Volunteer manager in retaining volunteers, in having an impact on the organisation they work for and having an impact on the field of volunteerism themselves. For this is the potential power of Volunteer Management.

Volunteer management is powerful. Not potentially so. It is.

Our profession within volunteerism is akin to a box of matches. It only takes a few strikes to light it up. Think IVMD. Think retreats for Volunteer Management. Think effective associations for Volunteer Managers. Think individual Volunteer Managers networking. Think people in our profession who not only write on our issues through blogs and articles but those who respond and engage in dialogue.

We fail too often to see the inspiring quality of our field. Do we miss the tree for the forest? Isn’t volunteering powerful? Isn’t volunteering inspiring?…..just think of the superlatives you can link to the word “volunteering”

Then think of the capacity for effective Volunteer Management to inspire!

Where am I heading ?. I am heading towards such simple formulas for Volunteer Management that I wonder why its existence isn’t so prevalent and it’s this.

Effective Volunteer Management = Effective volunteer programs

Inspiring volunteer leadership = inspiring volunteering stories

An organisations view of and value in effective Volunteer Management is directly proportional to its view of and value in its volunteers!

The last one is a vital formula for our sector!

The word “effective” is there for a reason. Poor Volunteer Management can effectively ruin volunteerism within an organisation.

I will come back to “effective” Volunteer Management another day. And what I think that might mean.

Volunteering is inspiring. It is powerful. It is dynamic. It is simply awesome. No ifs and no buts. If organisations are privileged to have volunteers then they must realise this too!

It is your responsibility however to inspire and educate up on Volunteer Management within your own organisation.

How are you doing this? Let us know. How do you inspire others as a leader?

"Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people", that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations."

- Peter F. Drucker

Did we get a mention????

From the Volunteering Australia website:

“There was a special forum in Bonn Germany on 8/9 November as part of the consultation process for the development of the UNV State of World’s Volunteerism Report.

This first State of the World‘s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) produced by the United Nations will present an alternative vision to the one widely prevailing today, regarding what volunteerism is and why it is important. Using a broad brush, it will address first what is meant by volunteerism, why people volunteer their time, what are the ways people choose to volunteer, and the impact of this volunteer engagement.

The Report will then take up a number of key global issues that intersect with volunteerism, selected because of their critical nature and/or because of ongoing polarized discourse around them. The final section of the Report will be forward looking with conclusions and recommendations that should assist policy makers, practitioners, researchers and all other concerned stakeholders; including the people who participate in, and direct the benefits from, volunteer action.”

Very interesting. Let’s hope there was consultation with the Volunteer management sector in the world. matters wouldn’t you say?
Do you think?

I do know that the CEO of Volunteering Australia attended so it will be interesting to hear some feedback.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A final comment on International Volunteer Managers Day 2010 via an open letter to many.

Dear IVMD committee

Thank you for your tireless work year in and year out in your efforts to have the profession of Volunteer Management recognised and understood. All of you, volunteers, deserve the respect and praise that is rightly yours. Don’t give up on your cause because there are many people behind you. While I may be vocal in my support please understand that some may not have the confidence or indeed time to express their support.

Dear people who are ideologically opposed to the day and have publically engaged in the debate while still demonstrating their support for Volunteer Management

Thank you for your support of Volunteer Management. Thank you for engaging in healthy debate and I look forward to more discussion with you in 2011!

Dear Media

Once again you were totally absent! However I acknowledge that the Volunteer Management sector and the Volunteerism sector are to blame for this. We need to work harder collectively to spread the message

Dear Facebook

Credit must go to you for allowing a forum to spread this global message

Dear Volunteering Australia

You are the peak body for volunteering in my country. You do some great work. Yet the perception I and others have is that you totally “dissed” this day. As a volunteer Manager who is passionate about my job and volunteering, I was hurt by this. If my perception is wrong please correct me. But I simply appeal to you to drop the politics and embrace the day for the good of unity in volunteerism. One day VA will celebrate the day. Why not now? Please don’t give me material for another blog next year!


My professional association for volunteer management in Australia. A mere mention of IVMD on your website doesn’t cut it. Please see my “Dear Volunteering Australia “ comment above and please be more vocal for my profession! Perhaps you are making strides to support our sector but we need to know this. We need to see some evidence of this. Please be louder in championing our cause AAVA.

Dear Senator Ursula Stephens

Thank you for moving a motion in support of our sector in the Australian senate!

Dear Volunteering Calgary

Your YouTube video inspired Volunteer Managers globally!

Dear Fingal Volunteer Centre

Your support for Volunteer Management stands out internationally! You inspire me!

Dear e-volunteerism

Thank you for your offer to Volunteer Managers globally with free access to your site for a period! A tangible recognition award for VMs globally! Great vision!

Dear state peak bodies for volunteering

Thank you to the state peak bodies in Australia who organized events for Volunteer Managers in their states. You know who you are! The ones who didn’t bother? We hope you try harder next year. You know who you are!

Dear everybody else who supported the day globally!

Thank you from a Volunteer Manager!

And finally

Dear Volunteer Managers, Coordinators, :eaders Administrators etc. who celebrated the day..

Hope it was fun! Hope you felt valued! Hope you continue with your brilliant profession and hope you continue to spread the IVMD word!

One day IVMD will be globally recognised for what it is…

Long live volunteerism and those who are leaders and managers and coordinators within the field!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Volunteer Management: The Final Frontier

I remember reading an article sometime ago, or maybe an opinion piece from Susan J Ellis about mentions of “volunteering” in popular media for example movies and TV shows. Susan had spotted a few examples and had asked people to submit their own. You will have to find this somewhere on Energize I expect as I am only recalling by memory and am in a lazy blogging mood so you’ll have to find it!! :-)

I am not sure what brought it to mind tonight. But I thought I’d have a little bit of fun and find places where Volunteer Managers could get a mention.

The most obvious place to start is Star Trek. If memory serves me right there is no money and thus no one is paid for anything. Ah….but there’s a question – if you do work and are not paid for it…are you a volunteer? Only if you “volunteer” to do that work right? Let’s have that Star Trek Debate another day. Because I could go on just like Dimitry Chernikov does in his blog

“In one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Captain Sisko describes Earth as “paradise.” It is a paradise in which there is no such thing as money, and people don’t get paid for doing things. In the same episode we see Sisko’s father’s restaurant, but the workings of his business remain mysterious. The problem is that without the price system and money serving as a unit of account it is impossible to rationally allocate resources and capital goods in particular to their most valued uses. The difficulty lies in the fact that the price system is an emergent property of the market, arising as a result of entrepreneurial competition for capital, though, of course, there is nothing magical to it: we can clearly identify the source from which that property emerges, viz., the recognition by the individual members of society of the benefits of social cooperation and division of labor, and can even trace its evolution from a tiny two or three-person market to one in which social cooperation has become worldwide. “

I digress. So here is how we can write VM into a star Trek Episode.

From Star Trek the Next Generation

Scene – The Bridge

Captain: Number one!
Number one: Aye Captain
Captain: Have you noticed anything about Worf right now
Number One: Yes – he appears to be crying
Captain: Thought as much. Mr. Worf
Worf: Yes Captain
Captain: My ready room now! Number one – you have the bridge
Number one: Aye sir

Captain and Worf enter ready room

Captain: Mr. Worf. You have been my head of security for many years and I have never seen you so upset. What is the matter?
Worf: Sorry captain. I must compose myself. Today is Universal Security Head Day and even though I normally keep my emotions in check it appears that everyone on this ship had forgotton the day that celebrates my profession and I am a little sorry about that.
Captain: you are passionate about your sector Worf!
Worf: Yes sir and I feel we will never be recognised for what we do. I still don’t think that we receive enough training and resources and we don’t have a high retention rate
Captain: could that be due to the high danger element in the job Worf?
Worf: Perhaps – but we Klingons are passionate about our profession!
Captain: But I’ve never seen you cry!
Worf: Perhaps today is a good day to cry!
Captain: Now snap out of it! Your day will come. Please see Mr. Data in the Holodeck at 0200 hours and he will take you on a history tour of the Volunteer Management profession
Worf: Volunteer Management?
Captain: Yes – now the most sought after and respected profession in 8 quadrants. But it wasn’t always so. Do you now that once upon a time the volunteer management sector wasn’t even recognised by some key leaders in Volunteerism?
Worf: No!
Captain: Yes.
Worf: I keep advocating for the profession but sometimes I feel like giving up
Captain: Don’t give up! Make a difference!
Worf: I take it the odds are against us and the situation’s grim.

Captain: You could say that.

Worf: If Spock were here, he’d say that I was an irrational, illogical being for going on a mission like this... Sounds like fun!

What my National peak body for volunteering had to say to Volunteer Managers on IVMD 2010




Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thank you IVM Day (with apologies to Abba)

Today is special, in fact it’s a little bit more
You could celebrate, you've probably done it before
For you have a talent, a wonderful thing
The value to communities you bring
Of this day we are proud
All I want is to sing it out loud

So I say
Thank you IVM Day, the tune your singing
Thanks for all the joy your bringing
Where were we without it, I ask in all honesty
What would we be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you IVM Day
For giving this to me

Think recognition and IVM Day walks the walk
It uses “our sectors important” kind of talk
And I’m often thankful that it came to be
For our jobs real importance is plain to see
I’m glad the day began
And, whenever it was, I'm a fan

So I say
Thank you IVM Day, the tune your singing
Thanks for all the joy your bringing
Where were we without it, I ask in all honesty
What would we be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you IVM Day
For giving this to me

We’ve been so lucky, It is the day with plenty cheer
I wanna sing it out to everybody
What a joy, what a life, what a chance!

So I say
Thank you IVM Day, the tune your singing
Thanks for all the joy your bringing
Where were we without it, I ask in all honesty
What would we be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you IVM Day
For giving this to me

Thank you IVM Day
For giving this to me...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reflection on Blog in the lead up to International Volunteer Managers Day

In March of this year I set up this blog. In the week that brings us International Volunteer Managers Day I want to reflect on the blog itself.

I truly wanted to have a forum where I could have a say about the profession that I love. I hoped that some people might come here and have a read of my views and perhaps engage in some dialogue about Volunteer management.

Being new to blogging I had no idea what to expect. I am a volunteer manager at the coalface and enjoy working every day with a great team of volunteers. I also happen to be privileged to work with and have as colleagues some great volunteer coordinators and managers who share my vision for the sector.

At some point yesterday the 3,000th unique visitor visited this site.

Perhaps this is small considering what other blog sites attract in a day not to mind 7 months.

But for a humble blogger like myself I am astounded. Truly.

Thank you for visiting this blog. At the end of the day I want to get more people engaged with the issues and challenges we face in volunteerism.

Now to get more people responding and answering polls!

However – by being here in the first place you are engaging! Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

What International Volunteer Managers Day can help us achieve!

Here’s one that crept under my radar

According to Pro Bono News on October 27th

“more than 2300 Not for Profit professionals in 10 countries,. including Australia and New Zealand, have shared their management strategies, as global software provider, Blackbaud releases its 2010 Global State of the Nonprofit Industry Survey. The State of the Nonprofit Industry (SONI) Survey is a global report covering general operations, fundraising, technology and Internet usage, and accountability and stewardship. Responses were received from 2,383 individuals in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

You can read about it yourself by posting this link

The article titled “Retaining Staff and Donors Key for Aussie NFPs” is an interesting read in itself but from a volunteer management point of view it got me thinking after I read one of the four global trends have emerged from the data of the survey. Here’s the one that drew my attention

“Fundraising is emerging as a widely-recognized profession around the globe. The vast majority of NFPs around the world are expecting to increase their investment in fundraising staff, according to the SONI survey. It is clear that fundraising is no longer someone’s “part-time” responsibility. Techniques and data are becoming more complex, and the rate of change is increasing. What was once mostly art is rapidly becoming science, requiring new tools and techniques, partnerships, and better skilled staff.”

In the week that brings us International Volunteer Managers Day, could we not mirror that point about fundraising? Perhaps not. Could you put your hand on your heart and honestly say that Volunteer Management is emerging as a widely recognized profession around the globe? I personally would say no – that’s not the case but I acknowledge that some hard work is being done in various pockets to achieve this. I certainly don’t think Volunteer Management is a widely recognized profession in Australia. Yet.

When will we see written “The vast majority of NFPs around the world are expecting to increase their investment in Volunteer management staff” Let me know when you see instances of that if you don’t mind?

Can we say now with confidence that it is clear that volunteer management is no longer someone’s “part-time” responsibility? Nope – I don’t think we can claim that either.

Does Volunteer management require new tools and techniques, partnerships and better skilled staff? You betcha! And a recent survey on Volunteer management in the UK said as much. Look at the language used here when the profession of fundraising is used. It is apparent that the profession is valued.

In the week that brings us International Volunteer Managers Day I believe that our sector should be reflecting on these things. This is the real meaning of IVMD for me. An opportunity to reflect on the profession I care about.

IVMD, in my opinion will thrive if it is utilized to challenge us to talk up our profession and take an honest look at where we, within the volunteerism sector, are falling down in relation to volunteer management.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Drama of it all! :-)

I haven’t been blogging for awhile because I have been immersed in a wonderful theatrical performance. We are just over half way through the shows for this musical comedy. I’m working with a wonderful cast of volunteers for this community theatre and it is fun but demanding.
Of couse I continue with my day job of managing a great volunteering service and of course when I get a chance I am always keeping an eye on what is going on in volunteering world as you can see from my Roving Eye Blogs just posted! Hope all of you are keeping well. Now back to rehearsing my lines for tonights performance!and as my charachter says in the play

" Always rememeber: if you keep calm and keep your head while those all around you are losing theirs...then you obviously don't understand the situation!"

Thank you speeches for Volunteers

I was a little surprised to see that my thank you speech to volunteers is the second most read post here on this site that mainly is concerned with advocating for the Volunteer Management sector. And I’ve discovered that a lot of people found this site by googling “thank you speech for volunteers”
Wouldn’t it be interested to know who is looking for such speeches

CEOs of organisations?


Volunteer Managers?

It’s also lead me to discover that there is a market out there for speeches and some websites charge for speeches including one I found selling thank you volunteer speeches! Wow!

So this leads me to thinking that maybe I should put some more thank you speeches on this blog. If CEOs and politicians are accessing them then we can have a hidden motive. We can speak better of volunteerism. We can talk of the true dynamic value of volunteerism. We can move them away from speeches such as this:

“As your member of parliament, Senator, minister etc I am so happy to be here today amongst you lovely people. Every time I think of volunteers I get a warm glow in my heart. When I think of you I think of warmth and comfort and nice cups of soothing tea with warm scones and jam. Without vollies, society would fall to pieces because you are the givers. Without you there would only be takers. And with a world full of takers then there would be nothing left to give would there? You are lovely. And you are also nice. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so nice. Now I look forward to having tea and scones with you and patting you on the head. You so deserve it. Go you good givers you!”

Sure – a bit exaggerated for effect but you get my drift.

So if you want to post your own thank you speech please do so on this blog. And let’s share!

Volunteer Management Polls - your ideas?

With only a handful of days to go to International Volunteer Managers Day can I encourage you to response to the two polls on my blog? I am getting some very interesting feedback so far but would love to see more visits responding. If every unique visitor was responding we would have much more input and data.

Answers so far have been very interesting. In particular I note in the question “What are your thoughts on International Volunteer Managers Day?” that 22% of the answers given don’t get the day or have never heard of it.

Very interesting answer too on the question seeking agreement or disagreement on the statement “”My peak body on Volunteering in my country supports Volunteer management”

28% are not aware they have any peak body on volunteering. It would be interesting to poll on these people further. Like where are they from?

Alos in regards to polls for Volunteer management. I would like to throw this open to you? Let me know what kind of poll would be interesting for Volunteer management? Post your ideas here and we might run with them!

Thank you Senator Ursula Stephens from Volunteer Management

During the week Senator Ursula Stephens moved a notice of motion in the Australian senate which stated

"Senator Stephens: To move on the next day of sitting—That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) five million Australians volunteer in their communities every year,

(ii) effectively realising the full potential of volunteers requires skilled,
knowledgeable and professional volunteer managers who are responsible for their
recruitment, training, administration and support,

(iii) volunteer managers provided leadership, direction, inspiration and
motivation that allows people to effectively serve their communities,

(iv) well managed volunteer programs demonstrate that organisations value the
involvement of the community and strive to make the most efficient use of
resources, and

(v) 5 November marks World Volunteer Managers Day, recognising and promoting
greater awareness of the role of volunteer managers in mobilising and supporting
the world's volunteers; and

(b) thanks Australia's volunteer managers for their commitment to our community
organisations. (general business notice of motion no. 81)"

Well done Seanator for being visionary. Please accept my online Volunteer Management Champion Award! And credit must go too to those who advocate for IVMD and Volunteer Management especially since other bodies, which should be, aren't!

Australian National Conference on Volunteering

Didn’t go this year. Various reasons. Thought it was costly and again felt that it was lacking a focus on volunteer management. Still I kept updated with some great updates from Pro Bono Australia who did a good job of covering the event. They should be invited to cover the next Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management.

Some points I found interesting

Bernard salt told the conference that as baby boomers approach retirement age, they will not cease activities and will turn to volunteering. He said Not for Profit and other volunteer-involving organisations will need to package and market to this generation and their expectations.

Nothing new there for Volunteer management. We’ve been saying that for years!

How about Elaine Bradley from Ireland and what she said? CEO of Volunteering Ireland Elaine Bradley said that volunteer peak bodies need to move away from ideas of ownership of volunteering and move towards a decentralisation of volunteering infrastructure.

Wow – wonder what Volunteering Australia and the state peak bodies thought of that!

No one owns volunteering right?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Service Marmalade: World Exclusive

From Volunteerism Gazette

Our reporter Don J Volau reports on an unusual initiative taking place in November.

“What we are looking for is an online get together globally for those who know that volunteering is nice and very sweet. We believe that if volunteering had a taste it would be marmalade. Sweetly, sticky, traditional, unchanging pure volunteerism confined to a beautiful old fashion strong jar” So said the convener of Service Marmalade, Al Touristic, at the initiatives media launch today in New York New York.

Service Marmalade is being set up to represent those within service who are concerned that traditional volunteering is losing its way. Said spokeswoman Annette Curtin “Pure volunteering was always about service given by people who made long term commitment to organisations. People who were engrossed in the muck and mire of struggling society. We have no time for so called “emerging trends” in volunteering and believe such trends are fabricated and even if they do exist they give volunteering a bad name.”

When asked to expand on Ms Curtin’s statement Mr. Touristic said that “volunteering today was being hijacked by so called experts and consultants and interest groups and by the corporate world” I asked Mr. Touristic to explain further

“Now you take Volunteer Management” he said

“No thanks you take it” I retorted

He went on “Let’s not beat about the bush here – there are people out there for example with the nerve to think that managing volunteers is a sector or a specialized skill. Now give me a break please. We all know that volunteers don’t need management. The whole idea of the volunteering movement is that it does not need any one person to take a lead. We turn up. We know what to do! Don’t insult us by putting us into boxes and confining us by your training and orders and rules and regulations. If we wanted that we would return to the paid workforce!”

Service Marmalade will attempt to attract people with similar views around the world. Its Motto “I’m Nice and I volunteer” is intended to weed out those who volunteer for greedy reasons. “If people volunteer because they want to gain experience or a reference then we say that this is not real volunteering!” Said Marmalade Marketing Manager Ima Neejit. Ms Neejit explained “ what is this episodic volunteering all about? –it’s just a silly buzz word for people who couldn’t bother making an effort to volunteer more than once a week I say!. As for Corporate Volunteering?? Don’t get me started on this. Now there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard of one.” When I asked Ima Neejit to explain how exactly that was an oxymoron she declined to answer and left the office.

Despite critics Al Touristic said that he expected good support for the Service Marmalade. “I am quietly optimistic that the odd national peak body will come on board for this.” When I asked him if they were indeed odd for considering attendance at his event he too stormed out of the room!

Copyright Volunteerism Gazette October 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Did you Jam?

I was service jamming for the past few days. Check my earlier posts or the link on the right hand side of the page if you don’t know what I am talking about. It was interesting. I saw some colleagues there and people who are followers of this blog. I wrote a few words. About guess what? Yes my pet topic: How the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle can be found using the Pythagorean theorem.

No. seriously I mused of course on Volunteer Management. It was good to see some volunteer coordinators and managers there with some great posts! However I don’t believe I can reproduce what I wrote there here on this blog. You can review everything that was discussed at the service jam on the site if you were a participant only. I do hope that they release the material to the general public. According to the website “IBM, in collaboration with key partners, will publish a white paper to summarize key findings and highlight creative ideas generated by Service Jam to share with participants. This document will reveal key trends in social innovation and will serve as a pragmatic guide to help organizations innovate, design and improve service programs”

Were you at the Jam? What did you think?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

IVMD and Volunteer management...WHO CARES?

With International Volunteer Managers Day quickly approaching I am endeavoring to work at taking the pulse of Volunteer Managers!

On my blog currently I have two pertinent questions:

Does your “peak body” on volunteering in your country support Volunteer Management? And what are your thoughts on International Volunteer Managers Day?

Important questions that take only a few clicks of your mouse.

Add your voice because your voice will matter in shaping our future direction!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rambling reminiscing on a rainy afternoon

Rambling reminiscing on a rainy afternoon

Sometimes I am genuinely intrigued about what motivates us. About why we do what we do. I cant say that growing up I dreamt of working in volunteer management. One reason is of course that I had never heard of Volunteer Management.

Words. Words intrigue me too. In Volunteerism we have a lot of debates about words.

How many people out there are volunteers and don’t know it? Are Volunteer managers and don’t know it. Or managers of volunteers :-)

I remember years ago a person correcting me when I described them as a volunteer. “Oh no my dear, I am a member of the Auxiliary – I am not a volunteer’! In the last Australian census there was a question asking if people volunteered.

How many people would have said no to that and yet were board members with community organisations or involved with their kids sports by running the shop or washing the kits or driving the bus etc.

I volunteered for years in Ireland but never considered myself “a volunteer”. Sounds strange. If so step back from your familiar world of volunteerism for a moment and consider how then I simply saw myself as being a member of The Social Action Group, the organisation I was effectively volunteering for.

Many of us raised money for many causes, helped build houses for the elderly and cut peat for fuel for the disadvantaged in our communities. I smile when I reminisce on that now. Cutting and spreading peat (or turf as we call it in Ireland) has got to be one of the most unusual volunteering activities.

We would spend the day in the beautiful ragged countryside in "the bog" as it was known ( toilet humour folks – be quiet!) Some volunteers would cut the turf with an instrument called the Slaine and throw it towards other volunteers who would spread the “sods” of turf out on the land with pikes.

One side would then dry in the sun after a week or two ( what sun there was in Ireland!) and then we’d all return to turn or “stook” the turf for further drying. Stooking the sods involved building little houses of turf like you would with cards. Yes – you had to be there. It was back breaking work. But the tea and sandwiches at lunch time was a time to be cherished.

Volunteers would sit amongst the turf and wonder why tea tasted better in the open air, in the shadow of the mountains with only the odd house to be seen in the vast wild countryside. We would wonder at the frogs staring at us and listen to the cuckoo entertain us.

Then after another few weeks we would bag the turf (backbreaking again) and load it onto trailers and tractor it off to those who needed fuel in our community for the coming autumn and cold winter months.

We did this and other fascinating activities as volunteers. But we never used the term volunteer. And I imagine our leader never considered himself as a volunteer manager.

We were just helping, and doing it for various reasons. There were some who were genuinely altruistic.

Back then if someone had asked me if I was altruistic too I would probably have said “actually I am Irish. What part of Alturista are you from?”

Some did it because they were bored in rural Ireland! Some did it to socialize and some purely “for the craic”.

The seeds of my future were being set.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Please Don't Be Silent On Volunteer Management

In just under a month International Volunteer Managers Day will be celebrated on November 5th.

I have a poll on the day on my blog and I encourage everyone to have a say. I know how many visitors I have to my blog site and I know that it is a very small minority of them who vote on polls or write comments.

But IVMD is important for my sector I believe.

I say this as a Volunteer Manager.

It is not a day about self congratulation (though that is ok too)
It is a day that can be utilized as a vehicle for promoting our sector
It is a day that can be utilized for getting media attention (not that this has happened yet but I remain ever optimistic!)

And to me, as a Volunteer Manager, it acknowledges a profession that I am serious about. It speaks of a profession that is important in today’s society. It defies the old adage of “I’m just a volunteer manager” and thus strengthens the value in volunteering too.

Lastly but not leastly! There are some individuals who are volunteering their time to ensure IVMD is taken seriously. They need a little more respect though they will give out to me for saying so. They are people who care about volunteer management and work hard behind the scenes to ensure that we as a sector have a voice.

Support IVMD

Let’s get some more people, voting on my blog.

I am aware that there are some who do not support IVMD within our sector. I respect their point of view especially when they express that view in a public forum. I am disappointed by some, especially peak bodies who simply ignore the day.

I conclude with a wonderful quote from Ruth McKenzie, the CEO of Volunteer Canada

"As the leader on volunteerism in Canada, Volunteer Canada celebrates the profound impact volunteer managers have on the voluntary sector. Without their tireless work many of our essential community services would cease to function" states President and CEO Ruth MacKenzie, "Volunteer managers have a unique place in our society.

They are the hand that guides volunteers to support our communities, influence change and take action across our country. They motivate individuals to volunteer, create opportunities and provide support and nurturing to ensure that each volunteer has a positive experience. As volunteer managers make room for both their organizations and their volunteers to take the stage, on November 5th we have the opportunity to finally shine the spotlight on their impact.”

Friday, October 1, 2010


As most of you are aware Wikipedia is a free web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 16 million articles (over 3.4 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world
According to its own entry on Wikipedia – “Although the policies of Wikipedia strongly espouse verifiability and a neutral point of view, critics of Wikipedia accuse it of systemic bias and inconsistencies (including undue weight given to popular culture)”

I can’t help but like Wikipedia. I do question content sometimes but on the whole I believe a large proportion of it to be an honest and genuine contribution.

So given that this site is written collaboratively by volunteers around the world it intrigues me that there is not one article or entry on Volunteer Management.

My piece here in relation to Wikipedia goes to the invisibility of our sector outside the echo chambers I talk about. Well may we talk about progress in Volunteer Management but lacking an entry in wikipedia is indicative of a lack of awareness on our field.

Sure there are critics of Wikipedia. But Its content and methodology are not in question here.

Lets look at the cultural importance of Wikipedia (again from the site and their statements are referenced thoroughly)

“According to Alexa and comScore, Wikipedia is among the ten most visited websites worldwide.[ Of the top ten, Wikipedia is the only non-profit website. The growth of Wikipedia has been fueled by its dominant position in Google search results; about 50% of search engine traffic to Wikipedia comes from Google, a good portion of which is related to academic research. In April 2007 the Pew Internet and American Life project found that one third of US Internet users consulted Wikipedia. In October 2006, the site was estimated to have a hypothetical market value of $580 million if it ran advertisements.”

So why no entry on “Volunteer Management”?

While coming to the conclusion that no such entry existed I was intrigued by the entry’s on matters pertaining to volunteering

Let’s take a few examples and take samples see what they are saying:

Voluntary sector

“There are considerable problems with terminology, however. Although the voluntary, community and not-for-personal profit sectors are frequently taken to comprise the "Third Sector" each of these sectors or sub-sectors have quite different characteristics. The community sector is assumed to comprise volunteers (unpaid) whilst the voluntary sector are considered (confusingly) to employ staff working for a social or community purpose. In addition however, the not-for-personal-profit sector is also considered to include social firms”


Let me pick at random a comment from the discussion page:

“There is no standard internationally recognised and agreed definition of voluntary sector, voluntary organisation, community group, third sector, social enterprise, non profit organisation, NGO etc which provides neat boundaries between each one of these and the others. We could debate the boundaries between one and another ad infinitum.”

And this

in the 1960s, Ivan Illich offered an analysis of the role of American volunteers in Mexico in his speech entitled, "To Hell With Good Intentions". His concerns, along with critics such as Paulo Freire and Edward Said, revolve around the notion of altruism as an extension of Christian missionary ideology and the sense of responsibility/obligation driving the concept of noblesse oblige, first developed by the French aristocracy as a moral duty derived from their wealth. Simply stated, these both propose the extension of power and authority over indigenous cultures around the world.

Recent critiques of volunteering come from Westmier and Kahn (1996) and bell hooks (née Gloria Watkins) (2004).
The field of medical tourism (referring to volunteers traveling overseas to deliver care) has recently attracted negative criticism vis-a-vis the alternative notion of sustainable capacities (working in the context of long-term, locally-run but foreign-supported infrastructures). A preponderance of this criticism has appeared largely in the scientific and peer-reviewed literature. Recently, media outlets with more general readerships have published such criticisms, as well.

And in the discussion forum again

“The term "volunteer" is a hotly contested term, and the article should say so (with an appropriate citation). Go to any online discussion group of volunteer managers and you will see debates about who is and isn't a volunteer. Is someone a volunteer because of their motivation or because they aren't paid? There is no agreement on this question, and the article should say so.

To the entry on Virtual volunteering:

“Virtual volunteering has been adopted by at least a few thousand nonprofit thousand organizations and initiatives.[10] There is no organization currently tracking best practices in online volunteering in the USA or worldwide, how many people are engaged in online volunteering, or how many organizations are involving online volunteers, and studies regarding volunteering, such as reports on volunteering trends in the USA, rarely include information about online volunteering (for instance, a search of the term virtual volunteering on the Corporation for National Service's "Volunteering in America" yields no results”

All well and good but more interesting when you hit the discussion page:

“Wikipedia may be the largest instance of virtual volunteering, and Wikipedia pages frequently mention that their contributors are volunteers, yet no Wikipedia articles that mention their volunteers link to this article. Why? I'd love to create the links myself, but all Wikipedia-related pages are locked.” "

And this:

“I've posted to all the various online discussion groups for both volunteer managers and those who study volunteerism, encouraging them to edit this page and provide citations. I did this both in 2008 and 2009. Maybe I'll try again in 2010.” I wonder how that is going?

The point I make here is that there is some discussion on volunteering on sites such as Wikipedia.


1. Why no entry on volunteer management?
2. And why little contribution from the volunteer management sector on what is being posted on volunteering?

“well why don’t you post an entry yourself” I can hear one say!!

Perhaps I will. But it should be an aim of a professional association of volunteer management though don’t you think? It could be and should be a tangible outcome for them?

Such is our sector though that if anyone posts an entry under “Volunteer Manager” they will possibly be a big debate amongst ourselves again on semantics.

The author will get the whole

• How dare you call it volunteer management where the people are paid!
• The fights over definitions
• Etc.

Others may say that other management positions are not mentioned on Wikipedia


Here are some examples:
Human Resource Management
An interesting Wikipedia article that talks about
• 1 Features
• 2 Academic theory
• 3 Business practice
• 3.1 HRM strategy
• 4 Careers and education
• 5 Professional organizations
• 6 Functions
• 7 See also
• 8 References

Nursing Management:

Nursing management is performing leadership functions of governance and decision-making within organizations employing nurses. It includes processes common to all management like planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling. A good nurse manager should be open to anything in the environment and be sensitive to the needs of the staff under her/his management.
And there are others such as

Store manager
Marketing Manager
And other management groups that are valued and recognised

And here we are. Fighting the silly war of semantics.

And nobody is writing on volunteer management on Wikipedia!

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