Showing posts from June, 2010

My Current Favourite Quote!

If there was ever a time to dare, to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing, It is now. Not for any grand cause, necessarily... but for something that tugs at your heart, something that's your inspiration, something that's your dream."

Author Unknown

A thank you speech for volunteers

You make a difference in the dash.

Life is short. In the scheme of things this oft quoted saying must be true. Our planet has been here for millions of years – our universe billions.

On our headstones will be the etching of when we were born and the date when we died.

For example 1960 – 2050

What matters to me are not the two years mentioned. It is the dash. That little dash. -

That’s our life. That represents to me the short time we have, here, to make a difference, or not.

And making a difference means so many different things to so many people.

But for you, the volunteer, what you do during that dash is most significant.

You can give me money for my cause. Sure. But I may pay that back to you. Say you give a dollar a month. It is appreciated without doubt. It is your dollar. However you may pick it up elsewhere. Something extra you do. Some other way of earning that buck.

But how do we give back time?

As a volunteer you give time.

Time. The most precious resource in our lives.


Volunteer Management qualify for last 8 of World Cup

Volunteerism Gazette

Don J Volau reports on a soccer tournament with a difference in the republic of Asaba

Asaba June 25

They come from 32 nations around the globe. Yet they play together and there may be Englishmen, French women and Dutch guys playing on the same team.

For this is the management world cup. 16 teams made up of managers from 16 different sectors gathered two weeks ago for the inaugural Management world cup. Its 8 a side soccer for this cup and teams are evenly split between male and female.

Like the real world cup this world cup has had a few shocks of its own.
Take for example the elimination of Marketing Managers in the first round. Try selling that disaster! They were beaten 4 – 0 by Funeral Directors. The local press ran with the headline “Deadly defeat for Marketing!”

Then there was the 8-0 thrashing of HR Management by Volunteer Management.

In a spiteful game that saw red cards on both sides the hero of the hour was the Volunteer Managers goalkeeper who saved 12 …

From Volunteer Management to Leadership: Part 2

Applying principles of leadership to Volunteer Management

Stefan Wills talks about a number of key principles which inform and guide our leadership practice.

I would like to look at Stefan’s principal’s headings and apply them to volunteer management:

Key Principle One – Self-Realisation

Are you on the road to becoming the best volunteer manager you can be? What does this mean for you? Managing volunteers and volunteer programs encapsulates many skills and talents. To me, taking a leadership role encompasses knowledge of best practice in the field, indeed an acceptance that a field of volunteer management exists.

In terms of Volunteer Management what does self-realisation mean for you?

For me – it’s about being confident about my job and the place of my role in society. Volunteer Managers make a difference. I am confident of that because I see it dailyy, not of c…

Volunteer Management : Can the struggle within be keeping us without?

In a recent post on I wrote “Can they (Volunteer Managers) not aspire to take those extra steps in leadership? Are they not allowed? Is career advancement a dirty concept for volunteer management?” I was responding to another post critical about my ideas for leadership in our sector.

And then something’s struck me today. Nah, too mild. Certain thoughts slammed into me today and left me reeling.

“Volunteer management can’t be allowed to advance too much because this will cost money. And though we like to argue that volunteering doesn’t come for free the intrinsic core belief associated with volunteers are that they are unpaid and as such the very idea of having a profession engaging them is anathema to a certain philosophy itself.

I get it now. And it’s an important lesson for those in volunteer management who consider their profession a sector and it is an even more important lesson for those in National associations for volunteer management.

The crew is not with you b…


So here’s the cynic in me folks: at my state volunteering centre over the years I have noticed at network meetings many new faces every few months. It’s one of those network meetings where people sit around saying who they are, where they work and how many volunteers “they have” ( as if that mattered) So you hear their introductions and you try to get to know their names for future reference and then when you get to another meeting in 6 months they are gone. And the network goes back to the same old same old…. where people sit around saying who they are, where they work and how many volunteers “they have” (as if that mattered) So you hear their introductions and you try to get to know their names for future reference and then when you get to another meeting in 6 months they are gone. And the network goes back to the same old same old….

And your estimation of the movie “Groundhog Day” grows!

And nobody talks about this at the meeting. After all we are all new (mostly). And old heads li…

Volunteer Management and Social Media: Are we keeping up with the times?

My colleague Jayne Cravens has been talking about this for years. A person ahead of her time. A leader. Jayne will be surprised to hear that I was once a little skeptical of her message.

No longer.

I have engaged the social media revolution by writing this blog. I have engaged with just under 1,000 individual visitors in just under 3 months! And pages have been downloaded just under 3,000 times. It has blown me away! People from 27 different nations have visited this site! And setting up a blog hasn’t been that hard.

A year ago I knew little of blogs, and how to track website hits etc…
Now I am promoting my blog through various social mediums! All of this from a guy who didn’t get social media a few years back.

Its no fad.

And the field of volunteer management need to be there. We need to get it. I suggest that volunteers already do. A grasp on social media is a requisite for our leadership!

Now marvel at this posted on YouTube…

From Volunteer Management to Leadership: Part 1

Volunteer management is a very busy role. We know this. I hear this all the time. And I experience it firsthand. Do we get so busy though that we renege on the leadership aspect? Is your role an operational function albeit one that indeed may be performed well. Are we managers or are we leaders? Volunteer Management is many things. Does leadership enter the equation? If good management can be learnt can leadership? Or are people born leaders?

A couple of things prompted this blog entry. One is a fantastic program/course I am currently doing on leadership. Of which I hope to write plenty about when I finish. The other is some things I have heard from colleagues in the field.

I have enough anecdotal evidence to convince me that some people come to a sudden stop in their volunteer management journey, pause and begin to ask some pertinent and dare I say existential questions. I know that I have myself. And I consider myself fortunate enough that others have shared similar moments. And i…

Volunteer Management: We’re the Voice – try and understand it!

Government axe starts to fall on volunteerism sector in the UK.

Volunteer rights enquiry to be set up.

Volunteers in survey say they don’t get enough recognition from organisations.

Volunteer numbers decline.

These can all be headlines and indeed most of them have been in recent weeks and months. By headlines of course I mean in our circles within volunteerism…they are not exactly front page news items are they?

Can managers of volunteers be advocates for the volunteering sector as a whole? For Volunteerism, if that word is all inclusive of everyone involved from volunteers, managers, peak bodies, consultants etc.

Are you, as volunteer manager, an advocate for your volunteer team? For individual volunteers?

If volunteerism is being threatened should managers of volunteers and their associations be speaking out? I thought that this was a given? But perhaps this is not the general feeling?

I would like to think that we can be advocates and activists for volunteering. But then I think …

GUEST POST: not a whisper, not a note, not a jot of a reference to managers of volunteers!

Sue Hine, Independent Advocate, Wellington, New Zealand

I can be a very rude and cynical person, and the following press release brings out the worst in me. Please tell me where I have got it wrong in my response ….

Coalition government confirm plans for social action and volunteering
23rd May at 17:27

The full programme for the coalition government has been now been published. Described by David Cameron and Nick Clegg as ''historic'' here's what's been pledged in relation to social action and volunteering.
'The Government believes that the innovation and enthusiasm of civil society is essential in tackling the social, economic and political challenges that the UK faces today. We will take action to support and encourage social responsibility, volunteering and philanthropy, and make it easier for people to come together to improve their communit…

Hello Labor! Hello Liberals! Volunteer Management Policy?

Volunteer Management Political Idea.

Here in Australia things are heating up politically in what will be an election year. Polls are indicating that it could be a tight contest between the labor party and the Coalition. Our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott are in full election fighting mode!

As a lover of the political process I will be watching even more closely!

Politicians. We see them often at volunteering events. In fairness to them, many make the effort to attend events that rightly recognize community effort in our society.

It is often forgotten in volunteerism land that volunteering plays a large part in the political process. All political parties engage volunteers. Check out the Labor and Liberal website and you will see how they actively seek volunteers for their campaigns. I haven’t seen anywhere if they actually engage salaried volunteer managers to lead their programs. A good idea? Be interesting to gauge if some “purists” think that this is…

Volunteerism Gazette News Headlines: UFOs, Volunteer Management

By Don J Volau

June 5 2010

Strange spiraling lights were seen over Eastern Australia last night. The light trail was seen between 5.45am and 6am by people in Canberra, Sydney's north shore and Queensland.

Also yesterday, Volunteer Management was finally recognised with the Inclusion of Volunteer Management on the main themes of the upcoming National Conference and with AAVA putting in a submission and receiving funding from government and with the announcement of the first ever national conference for Volunteer Management.

When asked to comment on last night’s strange happenings Volunteer Manager DJ Cronin stated “Oh, I am very skeptical on such events – I simply don’t believe it to be true. One has to be rational I guess. People make up stories all the time”

When asked about the UFO sightings Mr. Cronin stated that one just had to have an open mind.

With thanks to CNN, NBC, ABC and Reuters


In my view Susan J Ellis more often than not provides a wonderful take on issues pertaining to volunteerism on her Hot Topic column on her Energize website. I have found myself looking forward to the start of each month so that I can read the months topic and I have replied often. I encourage you to have a look at this months topic. Though the matter is a little US specific it truly effects us all in Volunteer Management wherever we reside in the globe.

I reprint my reply to the hot topic on this blog.

I encourage you to reply on Susans website. Lets get loud folks and send a message! Say that DJ sent you! :-)


I believe that it matters

here was my response

Dear Susan

My reply to your post veers away from your final 3 questions and focuses more on what you call the blazing red warning lights.

Though very much an American specific issue this time it does offer volunteer management sectors in any part of the globe a glimpse at wh…
"It's not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with the sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt)

Arrogance – so be it if you bring new ideas into the world of volunteer management!

Hosting one’s own blog can be fraught with risks. Mainly those associated with the “who the hell does he think he is?” type. And I guess that comes with the territory of making public your personal views.

One of the main reasons I do this is that I can no longer keep my head down. I love what I do – I love my profession and I love to share what I think! LOL as many know already.

In many case I keep my own counsel but a blog gives me an opportunity to talk, speculate, conjure up thought processes, and stimulate emotive responses and provide yet another avenue where one has the potential to give birth to a new idea in volunteer management.

Maybe someone out there will someday post an idea or a thought that will be our most amazing Eureka moment!

Who knows? I am ambitious!

I am delighted to see people posting on this blog so far. I hope that others do too.

It’s already a site with serious reflection, satire, humour and devil advocacy!

Above all – this site does not take itself too s…

A site connecting volunteers, charities and volunteer managers

A few months ago I stumbled across what in my opinion is a great site called i-volunteer

i-volunteer aims to enable people with passion for their community to connect with, learn from, inspire and support each other in what they are trying to do. The idea was originated by Jamie Thomas and the team at social enterprise Red Foundation, and was subsequently informed by research undertaken through the Modernising Volunteering programme.

This showed that some volunteers and workers were reluctant to use generic social networks as they struggled to get their voices heard in a crowded community and were concerned about mixing personal and volunteer related networking. Our research, which consulted over a 1,000 people, found a large appetite for a bespoke network for volunteering that not only enabled volunteers to get together but which also brought those that work with volunteers together in the same space too.

Red Foundation decided to support a pilot and do…