Showing posts from November, 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…

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?…

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 …

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…

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 managemen…

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 grumblin…

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 ho…

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 stakeh…

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…

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 T…

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

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 …

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 rea…