Showing posts from March, 2010

Does the end justify the means?

Does the end justify the means?

In his monthly OzVPM Newsletter ( Andy Fryar posed the above question to the scenario below.

“Earlier this year in the United States, the Hands on Network (who are the
volunteer focused arm of the Points of Light Institute), partnered with the
Disney Corporation to promote their new “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day”
promotion. The premise is simple. Volunteer a day of time and get a one day free pass to a Disney park. Within weeks some 600,000 people had signed up.
But is this type of incentive ‘true volunteering’ I hear you ask?
It’s a similar question that gets bandied around when government’s insist on
the long term unemployed undertaking volunteer work in order to continue
receiving benefits, or others needing to participate in voluntary pursuits in
order to ‘return to work’ after an injury. This is an age old debate, and for the purpose of this brief commentary I simply wanted to pose the question — can 600,000 Americans be wrong? Does…

A comment on : Are We Asleep at the Wheel?

Cutting to the chase I just wanted to say that I was pleasantly surprised and a wee disappointed by the reaction to this article. In fact I expected a little backlash. This backlash did not arise. Although I am a little unsure if one respondent was outraged at my view or was outraged at the state of volunteer management. They said they would write again once they had composed their thoughts – I hope they do. Some of the editors of this publication have informed me that this article drew more commentary than any in its 10 year history! And indeed I have to tell you that apart from the direct responses to the article on this site I have received several comments and emails from Volunteer Managers across the globe! But on closer inspection and on a deeper reflection I have reason to further my belief that our profession is still asleep at the wheel!

Ok. 11 people responded. To an article that was so critical of our sector. That this is deemed a success reflects where we are as an articul…

And the next champion award goes to

Volunteering England for having the vision to see the need to have a National Conference for Volunteer Managers.

Should volunteers and paid staff be managed the same?

John Ramsey has a great blog on the AVM website this month.

My own thoughts on this subject?

I would say not exactly the same but certain skill sets, procedures and ways of doing things can be transferred to and from both HR and VM management. I think that over the years we have adapted some practices from HR such as how we do interviews, references, position descriptions, policies, risk management etc.

I do think that we have moved closer to HR in how we manage and rightly so. And we have done so mainly because of risk management and setting standards on how volunteers should be engaged.

There have been benefits to adopting HR practices. Probationary periods for volunteers. Program evaluations. Policy and procedure formulation. Task description design. Better orientation and training. Exit surveys.

All of the above I believe have helped us in giving our programmes more structure and managing risk for our agencies and organisa…


I realise that there are many volunteer coordinators, managers, directors, project officers across the globe. Those who lead and manage volunteers have many titles. I am a member of 3 newsgroups or listservs and they are




The top 2 are based in Australia and the UK and the latter in the US. (I am wondering if any visitor can tell us why it didn’t become USvpm?)

For those of you who may not know what these groups layman’s terms they are an email network of volunteer managers ( or whatever title suits the day) who share experiences, ideas and concerns. I am a member of all 3 because they give me a global insight into the issues pertaining to volunteer management.

Sometimes however I see a challenge posted in the US and answered by a practitioner in the US and I think "wow - that would be so relevant and helpful to the volunteer coordinator in Australia".

And the same thought emerges from postings in the UK and Australia.

It makes me think that t…

Reluctance to talk

I would love to explore where our reluctance to talk comes from. Stats so far from this blog indicate 40 vistors a day. Still very small I know but it would be wonderful if even 25% made a comment! Yea.. I am being optimistic. Ive seen the stats on who engages, who post occasionally and who lurk. The lurkers being the majority at close to 90% if memory serves me right.

Nevertheless, I say, as a new blogger, 40 a day!!!!! Wow!

Just need more people commenting! Why? so we are not seen as the same old voices!!!! Thats why!

And the 1st VM Champion Award goes to.........

Volunteering Tasmania for their scholarships allowing people to attend the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer management in Adelaide recently! Well done VT for your vision and dedication to the growth of the VM sector!

Volunteer Management Champion Award

A common feature of this blog will be DJs Volunteer Management Champion Award! This award will be awarded to any person or group that champions the sector of Volunteer Management. Award winners will have demonstrated their interest in the betterment and growth of the Volunteer Management Sector wherever this may occur in the globe. Please post your nominations here!!!

First Holy Moley Moment!

Is it just me or does anyone find the fee for attendance at the Ntional Conference on Volunteering a tad expensive?? $950? Just add flights and accommodation to that!!

I still would like to attend but......Any scholarships going this year for Volunteer Management? If so let me know.

Dear Kevin and Tony..........

How do we want Volunteer Management supported by Government in Australia. Please see my post on how it is being supported in the UK. This year is Election year in Australia. It is time to stop the moaning in the sector and time to articulate our views and express our wants and aspirations. Time to act up! I am doing this as an individual volunteer manager. Too often we bemoan the lack of recognition for our sector. By writing a letter to our PM and to our opposition leader we can at least make a start by drawing attention to our sector.

I intend doing so by drawing their attention to what is happening in the UK and asking them how they plan to support Volunteer Management in our country. Please help me with the letter by posting some suggestions.

One Million Dollars for Volunteer Managers!!!!!

Ah yes - but only in the UK!!

Great news for the Volunteer Management Sector in the UK. Thanks to Community Newswire for the story. What will it take for VM to get Government support in Australia??? Its election year people. Time for a Dear Kevin and Dear Tony Letter! I will compose one as an individual! Wont you help? Its Time!

By Lorraine Connolly, Community Newswire

VOLUNTEER Bursary, 19 Mar 2010 - 12:12
Volunteer managers across the country can benefit from increased cash to improve their skills from Monday.

Individuals who support, co-ordinate, manage or have strategic responsibility for volunteers will be able to apply for one of 600-800 bursaries, of up to £1,950, to pay for skills development under Capacitybuilders' Volunteer Management Programme.

Each bursary will fully fund an approved skills development package, delivered regionally by experienced, respected training providers and aligned to the national occupational standards in volu…

Article gets reaction

A recent article of mine has drawn a lot of interest according to the editors of e-volunteerism. They have informed me that it is the most commented on article in its 10 year history!

Heres a preview but to read the whole article one must be a subscriber to the journal. I am a big fan and highly recommennd it! It has so much to offer and has archived all the articles over the last decade!

Preview to:

Opinion from the Field:
Are We Asleep at the Wheel? A Frustrated Volunteer Manager Speaks Out
by D.J. Cronin

Volunteer manager D.J. Cronin has a passion for volunteerism and the sector of volunteer management. He believes that volunteerism is an agent for real and tangible change around the globe and a key to harnessing volunteer effort. And he believes that in today’s busy and challenging world, the role of an effective volunteer manager in Australia and elsewhere has become more critical to the sustainability and growth of the volunteerism movement – challenging volunteer managers no…

HR in the same boat as VM???

With thanks to Stephen Moreton on his blog at AVM:

Heres an interesting piece

(From People Management - 11 March 2010). The article stated:

'To date, HR has been locked in a destructive psychological battle about its relevance and raison d'ĂȘtre. As Martin Tiplady (Director of HR Metropolitan Police Service) says: "It's a confidence thing. In HR, we make a full-time job out of worrying about our position." He continues: "HR can be too precious about status. To survive, let alone develop, we must get out of this constant cathartic self-analysis. It is indulgent and destructive. It serves no purpose. Not for us or the next generation."

Sounds like a familiar story, although I not sure whether I am encouraged or discouraged by this?! The article continues:

'....For David Smith (former People Director of Asda), the mark of a good HR leader is "to be as un-HR-like as possible".'

Time to Get Smart?

Are we a volunteer sector really?

To which a volunteer manager wrote recently...."No because we are paid!" This line of thinking frustrates me!

Article of mine on

Out of the cocoon and educate!

For some years now I have been advocating to the Volunteer Management sector that we are responsible for educating others about what we do and why we exist! By others I mean, the community at large, other sectors and Government. We sometimes bemoan the fact that some people don’t understand our roles and I’ve argued that we need to actively get out there and inform them and not wait for them to come to us with the question “so what exactly is Volunteer Management?”.
This is why I am a strong supporter of International Volunteer Managers’ Day. Though some of my colleagues are less inclined to support what they misperceive as “ volunteer manager pat on the back and self praise is no praise day” I see the day as a great instrument that can be used to educate people about the awesome field I find myself in!
But recently I’ve encountered a phenomenon that slightly worries me and makes me wonder if I have been channeling too much energy into advocating for the…

Another Retreat

Just finished presenting at the Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management in Adelaide. Another exciting event but this one was tiring!!! On reflection some mixed feelings this time. I have a sense of " are we still asking the same questions 5 years on?"

Blogging at last!

Greetings world! Years late but finally I enter the blogsphere....and I have a lot to say!