Thursday, June 3, 2010


In my view Susan J Ellis more often than not provides a wonderful take on issues pertaining to volunteerism on her Hot Topic column on her Energize website. I have found myself looking forward to the start of each month so that I can read the months topic and I have replied often. I encourage you to have a look at this months topic. Though the matter is a little US specific it truly effects us all in Volunteer Management wherever we reside in the globe.

I reprint my reply to the hot topic on this blog.

I encourage you to reply on Susans website. Lets get loud folks and send a message! Say that DJ sent you! :-)


I believe that it matters

here was my response

Dear Susan

My reply to your post veers away from your final 3 questions and focuses more on what you call the blazing red warning lights.

Though very much an American specific issue this time it does offer volunteer management sectors in any part of the globe a glimpse at what can occur when the field is not consulted.

My hypothesis is that the field is not truly consulted on such issues because people don’t realise or believe that such a field exists! It gets harder when people within the field itself can’t see or believe that such a field exists! A weak and toothless volunteer management sector exhibits many symptoms. The issue that you attempt to get to the heart of here is but one. I would love to hear your views sometime in the future why your nation is still struggling to form an effective national professional association.

Furthermore you say that one reason that volunteer management is not at the Reimagining Service table is that the VM field is largely invisible at the national decision-making, political level. The one worded question I keep coming back to is “why?”

Rather than perpetuate a victimhood state of affairs why can’t we more seriously analyze our current invisibility in a real and mature fashion. Since I’ve been beating the same drum for awhile I’ve been reminded that good things are happening. But not enough in my humble opinion. So even though the muscles are getting weary I vow not to stop beating this drum ‘till someone listens. And someone is listening when Reimagining Service is consulting our sector, when VMs realise that we are a sector, when Government consult with us, when National associations for volunteering realise we are part of the picture, when volunteer management becomes a key topic at National conferences on volunteering, when the press approach us for views pertaining to volunteerism, when our professional associations have high membership and are able to fund staff to take their associations to the next level. When we are rightly significant on a national level!

To paraphrase Shakespeare – something is rotten in the state of volunteer management.

Individually, volunteer managers are doing great things. I know this.

Collectively we are also achieving some wonderful things.

But on national scales we don’t seem to matter. And when decisions are made at national levels then it does impact on us. It’s like Government saying that they plan to increase volunteering levels by 50% but don’t consult with the VM field about it.

“Sure – we’ll campaign to get another million registered volunteers but we won’t look at ensuring the resources are there to enable and facilitate such growth”……”volunteers have managers???”…”who knew?”

I hope you won’t mind that I’ve repeated this on my blog and expand on the matter. Thank you for giving me the food for thought.

PS – I am assuming that you didn’t receive a reply from President Obama to your open letter? Perhaps I have missed it on your site?

Warm regards

DJ Cronin

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