Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amazing professionalism and resilience from Volunteering England!

I have never met Justin Davis Smith.

Justin is the CEO at Volunteering England. I think that the only engagement I have had with him was a brief exchange at the online Service Jam recently. But I’ve been a fan of Volunteering England for awhile now. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Rob Jackson who works at VE and we have both been on the same faculty one year for the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management – a great guy with a great passion for volunteerism. Passionate people. Leaders. And its really a test of character when one is faced with such a challenge as cuts and loss of funding and staff losses.

Justin Davis Smith wrote recently to VEs membership and one paragraph stood out for me:

“I should like to sign off with two heartfelt thanks. First, to my staff team at Volunteering England who have borne the difficult news this week with amazing professionalism and resilience. They are an amazing group of people who have been responsible for some fantastic work over the years in the support of volunteering and I thank them publicly for their commitment, energy and passion. Secondly, I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to email, write, tweet and blog (from all over the world) to express sympathy with the situation we find ourselves in and to say how much you value the work we do. It is hugely appreciated.”

That’s the type of leadership I talk about in several of my blogs. Despite current challenges facing his organisation, Here is a CEO being transparent, explaining the situation and as the above paragraph demonstrates encouraging and acknowledging his team. Some people globally who have followed VE have written their support on forums and blogs. And despite the challenges that must be occupying his mind – Mr Davis Smith finds time to acknowledge these people. Leadership !

If I were a volunteer Manager in England I’d probably be writing a placard and getting some other volunteer managers on the street with me to protest these cuts !

And hey – imagine this scenario? A volunteer boycott. “Hey Government – if you are not going to support our peak body for volunteering more then perhaps we won’t volunteer for the Olympics? "

I am sure VE would never even entertain the thought and I know they will work as hard as ever to build volunteering infrastructure in their state and to ensure events like the Olympics are a great success for the nation.

While I jest with the above scenarios I do try and make a point that says – “how long can we tolerate a general governmental lazy attitude to volunteering, no matter what country we reside in?”

Another Random thought: any chance McDonalds could come to the rescue by some corporate sponsorship to keep these staff on? It would tie in nicely with their recruitment and management of Olympic volunteers after all.

Hey – I’m an independent blogger. I can say these things!

1 comment:

  1. Hi DJ - Justin's leadership is one of the key reasons that VE have been doing so much ground breaking work over the last few years. When you visit VE you can actually feel that people are committed to the agency and care deeply about volunteering

    Fingers crossed that his leadership and the commitment of the team around him will pull VE through the current crisis

    ...its a pity there are not a few more Justin's around!


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