Sunday, September 26, 2010

More on "An opportunity for the Voice of Volunteer Management to be heard"

I’ve posted on "service jam" in my article "An opportunity for the Voice of Volunteer Management to be heard"

The link to the site is unclear so I have now added the link to "sites or links worth the click" on the sidebar on the right to this page!

Join up quickly! Before the forum fills up. And if it does, don’t worry - I know there are volunteer managers and people who care about volunteer management already there who will represent our voice!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An opportunity for the Voice of Volunteer Management to be heard

(with thanks to Jayne Cravens for the heads up!)

This blogger often laments that we take little action to advance our sector. My articles are mostly about advocating for the Volunteer management sector…encouraging those of usn who are willing and able to stand up and help advance our sector because we know that Volunteer managerment is a vital cog in the wheel of community and society.

And every now and then an opportunity presents itself where we can take simple measures to voice our opinion as a field. Sometime we do not take that opportunity. People challenge me on this blog to offer solutions rather than talk of our ills. I have presented many…but here is another

Many voices work. It’s a simple philosophy and tactic used to great effect by groups such as Amnesty International.

Some great things happen in the volunteerism and service world. Sometimes Volunteer Management is simply forgotten in the equation of that. It exists…but is simply forgotten. Well meaning corporate engage this world and sometimes forget that there is an established field in volunteer Management for example..On a global scale….albeit a small one..And still fledgling and unsure of itself but existent never the less.

Rather than whine it is our duty to educate them. Yes you..the Volunteer manager..yes you the person associated with volunteer management whether you are a Volunteer, CEO in the volunteerism sector on a national peak body, an MP with responsibility for volunteerism, a state body for volunteering, a trainer, consultant, blogger, or a person simply interested in the filed of volunteer management because you are intelligent enough to know that it matters!

So here’s an opportunity

I have already signed on

Will you join me?

Will you be willing to be a part of the Volunteer management voice?

It will only take a few of us

Say a few dozen globally

Imagine though…50 volunteer managers involved globally

Wouldn’t they then sit up and take notice

That little number?

We have more power than we think

When we collaborate

Read on and join me

Join us October 10th – 12th, 2010, for an important dialogue on "Service as a Solution."
The Service Jam is an online event that will engage non-profit organizations, corporations, academic institutions, and government agencies in a discussion on how social innovation can help solve our world’s largest problems.
By engaging prominent leaders, professionals, and passionate individuals, the Jam aims to generate breakthrough ideas that will redefine service and social innovation. Through IBM’s Jam technology, participants can collaborate virtually and have the flexibility to log into the Jam from anywhere in the world at anytime most convenient to them during the three day event.

Featuring special guests:
George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the U.S.
Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria
Harris Wofford, U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
Michael Nutter, Mayor, City of Philadelphia
Jean Case, CEO, The Case Foundation
Sam Palmisano, President and CEO, IBM
Marc-Philippe Daubresse, Minister for Youth and Solidarities, France
During the Jam, invited Hosts—distinguished leaders in the social sector—will be leading specific discussion forums, as well as conversing live with participants.There will be 8 discussion forums occurring at the same time. Participants are encouraged to join any forum of their choice at any time during the event. Check out the Discussion Forums and Hosts below!
• Quantum Leaps in Service
Groundbreaking innovations fueling the service movement
John Bridgeland, President & CEO
Civic Enterprises
Stan Litow, Vice President
Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM
Steve Gunderson, President & CEO
Council on Foundations

• The Digital Revolution in Service
Transforming the service sector through technology
Bruno Di Leo, General Manager
IBM Growth Markets
Michael Brown, CEO & Co-Founder
City Year

• Empowering the Individual
Personalizing civic engagement for the individual
Gloria Rubio-Cortes, President
National Civic League
Michelle Nunn, CEO
Points of Light (POL) & Co-Founder, Hands On Network

• Increasing Value & Impact of Service
Maximizing resources within an organization
Deirdre White, President & CEO
CDC Development Solutions
Diana Aviv, President & CEO
Independent Sector
• Scaling Impact
Replicating effective solutions to broaden social impact
Alan Khazei, CEO & Founder
Be The Change
Marcia Ito, M.D., PhD ,
State Technology Education Center Paula Souza, Brazil

• Measuring Social Impact
Maximizing and sustaining change through metrics
Helene Gayle, President & CEO
Patrick Corvington, CEO
Corporation for National & Community Service

• Progress through Collaboration
Building cross-sector partnerships critical to success
Jane Jamieson, Vice President
Digital Opportunity Trust, Turkey
Sidney E. Goodfriend, Chairman and Founder
American Corporate Partners

• Global Challenges, Local Action
Customizing solutions to solve world issues
Ariel Kestens, Head of Support Services
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Chile
Brian A. Gallagher, President & CEO
United Way Worldwide
James Anderson,
Cities of Service

Following the Jam, IBM in collaboration with key partners will produce a white paper summarizing key findings and highlighting creative ideas 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.
Join service leaders from around the globe October 10-12 at 10:00 am US Eastern Standard Time, as we discuss the current and future role of Service as a Solution. If you have any questions, please contact your IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Representative or email To see Service Jam start and end times in various parts of the world, please visit the registration page


Lets make a special guest from the world of Volunteer Management!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Its raining Men (not) in Volunteer Management

I recently stumbled across an interesting blog in the US musing about the fact that 70-75% of nonprofit employees are women and wondering where all the men were.

I have been in the Volunteer management field for 13 years and have had some similar thoughts myself when it comes to the sector of Volunteer Management.

I happened to fall into Volunteer Management and instantly loved the role and have had 13 wonderful years in this sector. But I have to admit that from an early stage I did wonder why there weren’t more men in our field. It was very obvious to me, from an early stage, through attendances at network meetings, conferences and training workshops that I was very much in a small minority group. Mind you, there have been moments of good humour too. At the last Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management I attended I joined a table of 11 ladies for the retreat dinner. During our conversation I posed the question “where are all the men in our sector?” There was a brief pause until someone replied “Where are all the good looking men in our sector?” Ahem!

On a more serious note though when I pose some questions to myself about why this imbalance is the case in our sector I am challenged to reconsider my question given the fact that I imagine women would pose similar questions about career choices?

Why would I enter this sector when the pay is poor? (Whether perception of fact!)

Is there job security?

Is there opportunity for professional development?

Is there opportunity for advancement and promotion?

I’m no psychologist but does it all come down to motivation? Are men and women motivated by different things in different ways? Someone once told me that they believe that there were more women in the sector because “women were more naturally caring”. Huh? I am not too sure I buy that.

Volunteer Management for example is a dynamic profession in my view. It is challenging, rewarding, it effects change and it has the potential to make a significant impact on our society. It demands leaders, critical thinkers, intelligence, imagination, motivators and people who inspire and yes!

A fascinating and inspiring career that should appeal to both sexes!

New South Wales Volunteer Awards

Hi to Kristin Romanis who is NSW Volunteer of the Year Award Manager. Kristin is doing a great job promoting this award in the state of New South Wales in Australia and has asked me to post some information about it on my blog. I am happy to oblige!

The NSW Volunteer of the Year Award program recognises and celebrates the enormous contribution of the 2.4 million volunteers in NSW to community life, and this year the Award is proudly supported by Westpac. NSW Minister for Volunteering, the Hon. Peter Primrose, is Patron of the Award.
The Award is an initiative of The Centre for Volunteering, the peak body for volunteering NSW. Now in its fourth year, this is the state-wide Award program recognising and thanking the 2.4 million volunteers in NSW, who generously give more than 235 million work hours each year in NSW, contributing an extraordinary $5 billion to the State’s economy.

There are three major categories of award:
• 2010 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award

• 2010 NSW Youth Volunteer of the Year Award (Judges Choice Award)

• 2010 NSW Youth Volunteer of the Year Award (Judges Choice Award)

• 2010 NSW Volunteer Team of the Year Award

• 2010 NSW Employee (Corporate) Volunteer of the Year Award

“The week in-week out contributions that volunteers make stretch from aged care, education and child welfare and counselling, through to emergency callout, event control to running sports, guiding young people clubs, environmental care and animal protection. There’s hardly an area of life which is not helped by volunteering,” said Lynne Dalton, CEO, The Centre for Volunteering.

The 2010 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award program is run at a Regional and State level – with 19 regions throughout NSW and eight of them in Sydney. The Regional Youth, Senior and Volunteer Team winners will be announced in Ceremonies in the Award’s 19 regions from mid-October to mid-November. Regional winners will then be entered for the title of 2010 NSW Volunteer of the Year to be presented on Friday, 3 December at Parliament House in Sydney, to coincide with International Volunteer Day on 5 December.

Ms Dalton is calling upon the whole of NSW to come together to support volunteers and the Award. “Together we can celebrate the wonderful work of these young volunteers who do so much to make a difference in the lives of others and the overall spirit of the community.”

Nominations close on Thursday, 30 September 2010.

To nominate people for the Award and for more information visit:

Monday, September 13, 2010

My 100th Post on Volunteer Management!

I’ve realised that this is post number 100. Thank you for visiting this site and I do hope you have read some of those posts. Thank you to people who are responding too. It is wonderful to see your viewpoint.

So how do I mark my 100th post. I thought about that and thought I would post a list! A top 100 wish list for my 100th post? Challenging but worth it. Many of the sentiments here on this list are expressed throughout my postings. So the list gives you the flavour of what my blog is all about. Here’s to the next 100! :-)

Here is my top 100 wish list for volunteer management sector

1.That the Australian, Courier Mail, Sydney Morning Herald or whatever main newspaper in your state our country does a profile on volunteer management for IVMD 2010
2.That other players in volunteerism recognise the important cog that Volunteer management is in volunteerism
3.That the other players demonstrate the above by highlighting the role of volunteer manager and publically supporting IVMD
4.Pay on parity with other management roles in organisations
5.That organisations utilising volunteers resource Volunteer Management
6.That national associations for volunteer management get more members
7.That the above associations work hard, take leadership seriously and therefore earn followers
8.That volunteer management is coopted into a degree/diploma
9.The growth of a global forum of volunteer managers working together for the betterment of our sector
10.That we share our success stories more and support each other more

11.That we collaborate on leadership with other leaders form other sectors
12.That we escape our echo chambers
13.That we promote volunteering
14.That we act as advocates as well as leaders for volunteers
15.That we educate our societies on volunteering
16.That as pure professionals we encourage volunteering in our communities
17.That we volunteer to act as mentors for those new to the profession
18.That as community leaders we speak up when we see injustice
19.That we work together to lobby government on matters pertaining to volunteering
20.That we realise that only we alone, as the true voice of volunteer management can do the above

21.That International Volunteer Management Day is more widely supported within our own sector
22.That International Volunteers Day is supported
23.That we communicate better with our state and national bodies on volunteering
24.That we collaborate better with our state and national bodies on volunteering
25.That we continue to learn
26.That we remain open minded
27.That we spot the emerging trends in Volunteer Management
28.That we acknowledge those who advance Volunteer Management
29.That we prepare the ground for volunteer managers of the future
30.That by doing so our youth will some day aspire to a career in volunteer management

31.That we remain connected to the spirit of volunteering and not get lost in bureaucracy
32.That we respect those who don’t believe in our cause
33.That we respect those who have not the desire nor ability to embrace change
34.That our sector is consulted by other sectors on leadership
35.That our sector is always consulted by Government for our perspective anytime there is new policy on volunteerism
36.That there is an international conference on Volunteer Management
37.That there is a national conference on Volunteer Management
38.That more Volunteer managers write articles on their experiences and ideas on my blog and on places such as Ozvpm and e - volunteerism
39.That we manage our time better
40.That we learn to stop saying yes top everything and everyone

41.That we never lose sight of the fact that volunteerism sustains us
42.That we realise that we are an important and dynamic profession
43.That we appreciate that there are volunteer managers out there who get no coverage, who seek no attention but are quiet achievers accomplishing remarkable things in our community
44.That a volunteer management role is written into a hospital TV drama! 45.That we keep a sense of humour
46.That we agree to disagree respectfully
47.That we become pioneers for our sector future
48.That we help build a better world – truly
49.That we inspire people
50.That we in turn remain always inspired by the act of volunteering

51.That we form or are involved in Volunteer Management Networks wherever we live
52.That we embrace social networking
53.That we feel secure in our roles
54.That we feel recognised in our roles
55.That we are happy in our roles
56.That we support diversity in volunteering
57.That we never allow a Hot Topic article on Ozvpm or Energize go unanswered
58.That we value the work that individuals have done for our sector over the years
59.That we participate in the newsgroups – Ozvpm, UKvpm, Cybervpm

60.That we value those who have set up these groups and continue to support them
61.That we become more do y and less hui (thanks Claire)
62.That we develop potential leaders and support them
63.That we avert the Tall Poppy Syndrome
64.That we find more advocates for volunteer management and only while and when we need them
65.That a survey on volunteer management in 2015 years time reveals that the sector is well trained, resourced and valued!
66.That more within our sector be willing to take on new ideas and be willing to change
67.That as Volunteer Managers we really educate people of influence about our roles – Our managers, Our Boards, Our CEOs, Our MPs, Senators, Our Peak bodies on Volunteering, Other Management and leadership sectors.
68. To really do this. To stop just talking this.
69.Rather than perpetuate a victimhood state of affairs that we more seriously analyse our current invisibility in a real and mature fashion.
70. To realise that volunteers have a right to be utilised as efficiently as possible.

71.To question if that is possible without professional/highly skilled volunteer managers?
72.To stop needing permission to feel good and proud about what we do (thanks Andy!)
73.That we realise that volunteering is so much more dynamic than the traditional paradigm normally portrayed.
74.That we embrace debate
75.That we dare to take a leadership role encompassing knowledge of best practice in the field.
76.That we believe in the value of looking at ourselves and attaining self-esteem (Thanks Stefan)
77. That we realise that the more we look into good leadership practice the more we discover the abundance of it amongst our field.
78.That we develop a Volunteer Management Champion award ( recognising organisations that recognise the importance of volunteer management)
79.The realisation that our contribution to management anywhere will be the sharing of how we lead.

80.That we stop the debates and arguments on what we should be called/titled
81.That we judge how an organisation sees its volunteers by how it sees its volunteer manager!
82.That we see the high turnover end in the sector
83.That we attend international retreats for Advanced Volunteer management
84.That we explore the possibility that the future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind - creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers (Thanks Daniel)
85.That we collaborate and write a book on why we are in volunteer management, our backgrounds and how we were drawn to this sector (Thanks Wendy)
86.That we never ever hear again “I look after the Vollies” 
87.To see our sense of powerlessness as illusory and to begin believing that volunteer managers have an incredible amount of power but are hesitating to wield it. (Thanks Liz)
88.That we realise that we have an important role to play in “driving” the volunteerism agenda
89.That we understand that we lead people who have the capacity to change a persons life, to save a persons life or to bring renewed hope to a community

90.That we always find the time for professional development
91.That one understand that the first responsibility one has is to take care of ones self because one will be a better volunteer manager if one does
92. That we embrace the lightness and joy of volunteering
93.That we laugh more
94.That we run workshops at High school career development day
95.That we lecture of volunteer management at universities
96.That the day will come when more leaders in other sectors will want to work in ours!
97.That when encounter challenges people will get used of saying “Now what would a volunteer manager do”?
98. That we have a completely different dialogue in 10 years time

99. That every single day we physically do something about our dreams

100. And last, but not least that we Saunter! :-)


© DJ Cronin 2010
Brisbane Australia

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More do-y and less hui in Volunteer Management

I’ve had some great responses to my blogging so far. But Claire Teal has really struck a chord with me in her reply. Here is some of that:

“However, I would love to be part of a more solid global network that drives our movement forward. You think we should have one, I think we should have one, and surely we're not alone here - my challenge back to you is, let's do it. As we say in NZ, more do-y and less hui. I look forward to hearing back from you with some next steps...”

And therefore I am making my reply to Claire a post on its own!

"Claire I so want to encourage those who row the same canoe as us and I often have. I am in the same canoe as you! I want to encourage others to join us in that canoe. I want to let them know that together we can overcome the rapids. But there are others in the canoe who are not doing any of the rowing but still want to be in the canoe. I want to encourage them to pick up the oars.

I don’t think that NZ is walking. I think you have all started an exciting jog. I have never heard of more do-y and less hui. I love it! I love a challenge Claire.

With your pretty exciting semi-global network of contacts, supports and co-conspirators and my semi-global network of contacts, supports and co-conspirators we can make a start here. Here’s a first step. My email is
If anyone else reading this wants to join us to develop a truly professional global think and action tank on the management of volunteers and advancement of our sector then let’s bounce ideas off each other.

“a more solid global network that drives our movement forward” Yes yes yes!

Thanks Claire – you have me inspired!”

I know there have been some attempts at a global forum. I have suggested it many times. Actually some have come back to me and warned that it would be just a global talkfest and nothing more. Meh…maybe…I haven’t been part of it yet. Let’s get a few likeminded souls across the globe together and see what happens. Ok..there may be those who have tried this approach before and look upon this suggestion with a little cynicism to say the least. I respect that viewpoint too.

I am talking about a group of people who are interested in the development of professional management of volunteers. I don’t think that should be limited to managers of volunteers. I believe we need leaders, wherever they may be and people who understand volunteerism and thus know that volunteer management is a key aspect of volunteerism. agree? -

I have met too many people in my time in this sector who have been lost to us. They have moved onto other sectors or they are quiet achievers within our own or they are experts in their own fields but have a passion for our own sector. The key to forming a successful think tank or whatever you may call it, on volunteer management is the realization that such a group needs to exist outside our echo chambers. Yes?

The people in this group must also be brave. With muscles for pushing boundaries.

Because it takes a leap of faith that go beyond our status quo, our way of thinking and our raison d’ĂȘtre.

The cynics will give me the 5 Ws
• What are you doing?
• What are you talking about?
• Who do you think you are?
• We’ve done that before!
• Wah wah wah wah!

Wanna be part of the new Global Dialogue on Volunteer Management?

Join us now!!!

You don’t have to be working in the field for years…as long as you have something to say about Leadership and change!

You don’t have to be part of our sector but are interested in lending your skills in leadership!

You believe in the importance of effective and professional volunteer management wherever you are!

Let’s start talking

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another perspective to challenge Volunteer Management

Sean Cobley is Chair of the Association of Volunteer Managers in the UK. Hopefully a visitor to this site on occasion! :-) Hi Sean if you are there! I sense that Sean in his role would be checking out pretty much any social media that is mentioning Volunteer Management. In the UK there is a wonderful online forum on volunteer management called UKVPM. UKVPMs is a lively, friendly and participative networking and communication resource for all Volunteer Programme Managers working in the United Kingdom. UKVPMs mission is to increase the scope, scale and quality of both voluntary activity and the management of volunteers.UKVPMs seeks to achieve this by bringing Volunteer Programme Managers together in a virtual community to develop their skills and knowledge for the purpose of taking action towards our common goals

In Australia we have a similar forum called Ozvpm and in the US there is a similar one called Cybervpm. I’ve blogged about them before and on how I believe every volunteer manager internationally should be subscribers. Currently there is a bit of a debate on the UKVPM site about RockCorps. The debate goes to the heart about volunteering and incentives for same. I won’t go into the details of the debate here. However I came across a recent post by Sean Cobley that I feel merits a wider audience.

I contacted Sean and he granted me permission to repost his opinion here. Although UK centric I do believe Seans musings post some timely challenges for our sector. And yet again I state that no matter where we are our volunteer management topics, issues, trends and debates resonate globally. Enough from me – here is Sean’s post.Thanks Sean!

On many levels it seems to me that our fledgling profession is in such a
mess. More is being asked and expected of us from pretty much all sides
(including our own) and yet it seems we do not have the support we need
to meet these expectations. The only people who are going find that
support is us: Volunteer Managers.

Volunteer Managers have been around for quite a while now but as a
profession we are in our infancy. To resolve the problems that not just
volunteer managers but all those involved in volunteering (volunteers,
VIOs etc) face will require a cultural shift in the sectors that involve
volunteers. The only way I believe that that cultural shift will come
about is if volunteer managers take the lead on developing our
profession. At the moment, collectively I don't believe we are.

It took CIPD around 15 years to get to the level it is now. HR has
developed from a profession which simply ensured that companies stayed
on the right side of employment law to a profession where the main aim
is to develop the potential of staff. Our vision at AVM is to create
such a profession for volunteer managers. We can't however do it alone.
I'm not just talking about people joining us and paying a membership fee
(though it would be very helpful!), registering on our website, reading
a blog entry or silently following a debate. We need your voice and we
need your support. As Rob mentioned we need you to lobby us but we also
need you to actively help us develop our profession and campaign on the
issues that affect us.

I say that our profession is in a mess, but I question, do we actually
have a profession at the moment? What is the career path of a volunteer
manager? What's the difference between an Assistant, a Co-ordinator, a
Manager or a Head of Volunteering? What sort of experience do you need
and where should they sit in an organisation? Is volunteer management
different in a small local organisation to that of a large national one?
What qualifications do you need and what is the impact of qualifications
on our profession? There are NVQs, CIPDs, Nation Occupational Standard
and other courses out there, but are they fit for purpose?

I also question whether we actually understand volunteering anymore.
(Maybe we never did!) By we, I include volunteer managers VIOs,
volunteers and politicians! In the 12 years I've been involved in
volunteer management, volunteering has changed so much. I've found it
always to be a balancing act between (primarily) the needs of the
organisation and (secondary) the needs of the volunteer. Where there is
a third party with ulterior motives (e.g. DWP 'using' volunteering to
help people back into work) it's hard still.

I'm personally not a great fan of financially incentivised volunteering,
but that doesn't make it wrong (legal issues aside) and it doesn't take
away my respect for what RockCorps are doing. I'm a 40 something grumpy
old man, not an 18 year old and if I'm honest and I was 18 I'd probably
volunteer for a concert ticket! As Rob (I think) mentioned at some level
volunteering is incentivised, and is this necessarily a bad thing? Some
people don't consider student work experience or internships as
volunteering. I'm a romantic at heart and volunteering for me is where
the motivation comes from the heart. A student who wants to do their 2
week work placement or internship with a cancer charity because their
mum had cancer is much a volunteer to me. I've involved volunteers in
the 'traditional' way of involving volunteers whose primary motive is to
gain practical experience in finance to get a job and don't really care
about the aims and mission of the charity. Was that wrong of me?

We exist in a multi-dimensional universe. In many ways I think
volunteer management is more complex than paid staff management but also
I think there's simplicity about it too. It's down to us to bring an
order to our world and my hope is that AVM can play a big role in doing
that. Please come, join and support us and help us develop our

Monday, September 6, 2010

The race between Volunteer Management, The Volunteerism sector and volunteering!

In October, there is a National conference on Volunteering. This year I am not attending. I have attended a few. To be brutally honest, as I am apt to be, the conference this year appeals little to me as a Volunteer Manager.

Now this blog entry is not a criticism of the national conference because there will be some good dialogue on volunteering as indicated by the the program.

But Volunteer management is not on any main stream there. I know Volunteering Australia will argue otherwise and point to the odd workshop by a few volunteer managers and also point out that the winner of the AAVA award for volunteer management will be announced.

An award and concept by the way that I devised myself when I was president of AAVA a few years back.

It’s good to see VA come in behind it. Although apart from announcing the winner at the conference I am unsure what else they are doing to support this. But I will be very keen to ascertain from delegates I know who are attending what mention is given to volunteer management.

At the moment I am far more interested in the national conference on volunteering to be held in New Zealand next year. I am considering going to that. The jury is still out though.

I said to a volunteer manager colleague recently that I was excited about how volunteer management was being advocated for in New Zealand and how some great progress was being made but they quickly brought me back to earth when they asked from what point they were emerging from. Which in their view was a pretty low one to begin with. This I may add came from someone I seriously consider to have some advanced thinking on volunteer management.

Nevertheless the main agendas of both conferences on volunteering are worth considering

Lets start with the Australian Conference

“Challenges such as the impacts of an ageing population and the global financial crisis, opportunities for exploring greater partnerships with the corporate and government sectors, and cementing the pivotal role that volunteering has within the broader social inclusion context, continue to be areas of discussion within the sector.

The 13th National Conference on Volunteering aims to provide a national forum to:

Initiate discussion, debate and analyse issues affecting volunteering
Discover new technologies that can affect or support volunteering
Examine initiatives that will grow volunteering and promote best practice in volunteering”

All well and good for a National conference on volunteering. It would be good however to see Volunteer Management get a look in.

Lets look at the New Zealand Conference

“There will be two main themes in the programme. Both aim to Raise the Bar.
•Episodic and Events Volunteering: The diversity, opportunities and challenges

•Developing the Leaders: The next steps to advance the Management of Volunteers

The Episodic and Events Volunteering stream aims to

•Celebrate the diversity of episodic volunteering
•Share experiences of grasping the opportunities and challenges
•Raise the bar to maximize the impacts and legacies of episodic and event volunteering

The Developing the Leaders stream aims to draw on the experience of people from all professions relative to volunteer leadership from within and outside New Zealand to:

•affirm the leadership and ability already existing in the New Zealand
•find the best pathways to advance the profession of managers of volunteers “

Spot the difference.

But of course I can’t win. Don’t think for a moment that Volunteering New Zealand will be happy with what I am saying as they rightly so will remain diplomatic. I remember once praising them for something on Ozvpm list during a debate but had their CEO post something saying they were not comparing themselves to VA etc.

Ah well I say these things as a true independent advocate for volunteer management and soem people within both organisationsprobably see me as a provocateur and both organisations are right!

I have to do this because in Oz/NZ it is not happening. That is the true independent voice for volunteer management.

I do this as an independent blogger and volunteer manager. It has nothing to do with:

•Where I work
•Money I can earn from the profession
•Status in the profession
•Developing political positioning

Enough of politics within volunteerism. I am sick of it! Volunteerism deserves better. Volunteer Management doesn’t need it.

The quiet visitors to this blog are also sending a message. Something is resonating here.

For Volunteer Managers we need and deserve a National conference on Volunteer Management.

I suggested this years ago. There were a few people eager. A typical response in Volunteer Management sector circles is “great idea!” another typical response is “well I am not doing it – I don’t have the time” and then we have the typical scenarios the four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done!

So, some ideas that I have seen floated within the volunteer management sector and that have not made it include

•National conferences on volunteer management (there has been one in the UK but what has been the impact?)

•An international dialogue between presidents of various national associations or leaders internationally in volunteer management

•IVMD – love it but sorry is not gaining graft!

• A symposium on volunteer management on international volunteer manager day. Getting together for a lunch on IVMD doesn’t really cut it does it. Nevertheless it is better than what most volunteer managers do on the day and that is nothing.

In Australia Volunteering Queensland in association with the office of volunteering have a symposium on international volunteers day.

Because of my views you won’t see me on the agenda of many conferences!
Guess what – it doesn’t bother me. My views are not dependent on the amount of people who attend my training or are members of my group, or the books I sell or who suit me politically.

Please click on to my newest link which you can find at the end of this page

Volunteerism sector and volunteering has a race

This is where I believe we are at.The ostrich is those within the volunteerism Sector and Volunteer Management sector who are stuck. The Penquin represents the reality of what volunteering is!

We are so behind the reality of volunteering!

Our national conferences are simply echo chambers!

I am independent!! I would love a comment from either VA or VNZ. I would welcome that. Let’s see eh? Can they hear what exists outside the echo chambers?? Have they the courage?

Friday, September 3, 2010

If you really wanna go for the Volunteer Management Humour Track...!

I recently posted a blog about certain perceptions on Volunteer Management that I had come across online. This was my favourite:

“If you really wanna go for the management track, start by leading a volunteer community first. It’s the easiest management there is. If you like that and if you succeed – if people rally around you and your group accomplishes tough challenges – then you’ll stand a better chance of succeeding at tougher kinds of management, like leading employees.”

Martin J Cowling CEO @ People First Total Solutions sent me an email in response to this statement. It is such a gem of a reply that I am reprinting it in full here.Martin, if you ever tire of doing what you do (and we cant imagine that!) then there is a career in stand up waiting for you!

"If you really wanna go for the medical track, start by doing pediatrics first. It’s the easiest medicine there is. If you like that and if you succeed – if patients rally back to health and your consultations accomplish complete healing – then you’ll stand a better chance of succeeding at tougher kinds of medicine, like brain surgery."

"If you really wanna go for the media track, start by doing newspapers first. It’s the easiest media there is. If you like that and if you succeed – if readers really enjoy your articles and your articles accomplish a Pulitzer prize – then you’ll stand a better chance of succeeding at tougher kinds of media, like TV Talk shows."

"If you really wanna go for the Pilot track, start by flying 737s first. It’s the easiest plane there is. If you like that and if you succeed – if passengers don’t feel ill flying and you accomplish landings well – then you’ll stand a better chance of succeeding at tougher kinds of aircraft, like A380s."

"If you really wanna go for the Peacemaker track, start by doing African countries first. It’s the easiest diplomacy there is. If you like that and if you succeed – if warring nations rally back to unity and your wars are ended – then you’ll stand a better chance of succeeding at tougher kinds of peacemaking, like Israel, Iran or Palestine."

"If you really wanna go for the translator track, start by doing Spanish first. It’s the easiest language there is. If you like that and if you succeed – if poetry is understood by both language groups and your hearers achieve full meaning – then you’ll stand a better chance of succeeding at tougher kinds of translation, like novels."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Most Volunteers are savy!

Came across an article in Pro Bono News recently

Here is a little extract

Perfect Match: What Savvy Professional Volunteers Want

Posted: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - 13:36

The benefits of volunteering professional skills are significant for both the volunteer and the community organisation when managed successfully, according to an Australian coaching expert.

Corrinne Armour, who runs a program providing corporate sector leaders with the tools to volunteer their professional skills to the community sector, says most Not for Profits think people want to volunteer their professional skills for a cause they are passionate about, and many do!

Armour says the typical advice given to professionals considering pro-bono activity is "find something closely aligned with your passion that inspires you”.

However, she says, experience from assisting corporate sector leaders who want to volunteer suggests that there are other considerations which are just as important.

Amour says there are several other factors that savvy volunteers consider in choosing where to volunteer their professional skills.

She says 'Organisational Readiness' is perhaps the most important factor a professional volunteer will evaluate in deciding whether an organisation is ready to receive them and capitalise on the skills they offer.
Potential volunteers will look at:

•How well defined is the assignment with clear objectives, timeframe and deliverables?
•What priority does the assignment have?
•Who will champion it within the organisation?
•What support is available?
•How does this assignment build on the organisation’s mission, vision, strategy and current program?

All well and good I say. BUT

And there’s always a but with me isn’t there?
I think this article would have been just fine applying to volunteers in general.

Because I do believe that these days many volunteers will look at

•How well defined is the assignment with clear objectives, timeframe and deliverables?
•What priority does the assignment have?
•Who will champion it within the organisation?
•What support is available?

You know what I’m saying here people? Look, I get where the author is coming from but why articulate this for so called “professional volunteers” only. It’s as if all other volunteers will volunteer for organisations without these concepts applying also.

Perfect Match: What Savvy Volunteers Want
Also applies!

Volunteer Management: Views that do my blood pressure no good!


Funny the things you come across on the net! I like to spend a bit of time searching for happenings to do with volunteer management and views and opinions and news on same.

There are some great gems I recently came across from different blogs and websites.

So here are my current top three blood pressure risers!

Number 3

“Please make the effort to make your job more fun too. There will always be parts of your job you don't like -- delegate some of it to a volunteer (who might enjoy it!)”

Number 2

“Volunteer supervisors who are inexperienced at managing others would likely benefit from reading books or articles on the art of supervision or attending an in-service training on supervision basics.”

And my current Number 1

“If you really wanna go for the management track, start by leading a volunteer community first. It’s the easiest management there is. If you like that and if you succeed – if people rally around you and your group accomplishes tough challenges – then you’ll stand a better chance of succeeding at tougher kinds of management, like leading employees.”

How’s your blood pressure? :-)

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