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?