Thursday, June 10, 2010

Volunteer Management: We’re the Voice – try and understand it!

Government axe starts to fall on volunteerism sector in the UK.

Volunteer rights enquiry to be set up.

Volunteers in survey say they don’t get enough recognition from organisations.

Volunteer numbers decline.

These can all be headlines and indeed most of them have been in recent weeks and months. By headlines of course I mean in our circles within volunteerism…they are not exactly front page news items are they?

Can managers of volunteers be advocates for the volunteering sector as a whole? For Volunteerism, if that word is all inclusive of everyone involved from volunteers, managers, peak bodies, consultants etc.

Are you, as volunteer manager, an advocate for your volunteer team? For individual volunteers?

If volunteerism is being threatened should managers of volunteers and their associations be speaking out? I thought that this was a given? But perhaps this is not the general feeling?

I would like to think that we can be advocates and activists for volunteering. But then I think that we fall down in so many ways in this regard when it comes to our own Field.

Someone once asked me what I thought the 10 traits of a good manager of volunteers were?

So here I offer one:

The ability to advocate for one’s own profession and for volunteers.

A given?


  1. And how many times would you find this trait written into a job description?

    What you are saying is that MVSs [Managers of Volunteer Services] need to be advocates both within their organisations and in the wider community - part of their job, right? Except I bet you would never find this in their job descriptions....

    Becoming an activist is something else. I do not mean anything like throwing missiles in a riot in Jakarta, nor laying roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

    I can be an activist as simply as: saying what I think on this blog, or commenting on Hot Topics raised by or (or any of the x number of cyberspace opportunities). I can write a letter to the editor when there is an press release extolling the virtues of volunteering, to point out the volunteers did not get there except via skilled management. I can get my voice heard (in the nicest possible way) through contributions to local, regional and national newsletters or other electronic media.

    Find your slogan - be a voice!


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