Friday, July 30, 2010

This Volunteer Management Blog I believe will end when there is

• Recognition of volunteer management in the workplace
• An understanding of volunteer management in the community
• Consultation with volunteer management on volunteerism issues

I believe we as a sector are seriously falling down on all the above.

Inert activity when it comes to volunteer management abounds.

I encourage anyone from any organisation with a connection to volunteer management to engage in the dialogue of volunteer management here on this site.
True, it’s a humble little blog. But its 1,500 unique visitors since the end of March happen to come back for a peak!

I accept I am “rocking the boat” I accept being labeled a “trouble maker” by those who will not critique the progress of the Volunteer Management sector due to their own unique interests and I accept that the “niceness” of people in volunteer management is so holding back the sector.

Nevertheless I want to state that this is not a “box” I want to be placed in. I don’t fancy being pigeon holed either. Indeed I am looking forward to letting go of this blog and starting one on politics! LOL! Where’s the difference??

Again – what is my motivation? This blogs Raison d’ĂȘtre. I was once in the situation of being unrecognized, under resourced, and undervalued as a manager of volunteers. I put in strategies that overcame this. I now feel I am valued and respected where I work and I also have drawn the conclusion that respect for volunteer management equates to respect for the volunteer contribution within organisations.

Recognition of volunteer management = recognition of volunteers = recognition of volunteerism.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Volunteer Management Assumptions

It’s the people that make it for me.

What keeps me in Volunteer Management?

What is it about the career that I love so much? It’s the people for me. The volunteers. I’ll expand on that another day.

I speak often about management. In terms of moving forward with Volunteer Management I have often spoken about looking at leadership or examining leadership.

While I have argued and will continue to argue that we need to learn some lessons from HR Management I still believe that they, one day, will look towards Volunteer Management for tips and tactics and inspiration!

I want our sector to communicate more with managers from other sectors.

Shared wisdom can be a learning experience.

I had a good conversation with a volunteer recently...Which has inspired this blog.

How difficult must it be to manage people who dislike their paid job or the place wherein they are employed? How many of you have managed this situation or indeed those people?

When we translate this issue to volunteer management what do we get?

Can you picture a volunteer who doesn’t like their volunteering role or the place where they volunteer?

What are our assumed assumptions in regards to this scenario? Or our assumed constraints?

Do we assume that if they don’t like volunteering in our organisations that they will just up and go?

Do we make too many assumptions on the differences between paid and volunteer contributors?

Staff member – ‘I can’t stand this job, the people I work with, the manager and the organisation but I need the money to pay the bills”

Volunteer - ‘I can’t stand this role, the people I volunteer with, the manager and the organisation but I need … … … …”

When we take out the money equation as we must do then I ask if there is something we can add from a volunteering perspective to the volunteering statement.

Or do we believe that all of our volunteers are immensely happy in their roles, happy with us and our organisations simply because they are still with us?

Please discuss under 500 words!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

An open letter to National Australia Bank

Dear National Australia Bank

Well done NAB for supporting volunteering in Australia and promoting volunteering so publically by spending the $$$ to get volunteering profiled on primetime recently.

I have included your link on my blog site for the moment!

Taking the lead I encourage you now to find a way to support Volunteer Management! Volunteer Management is a profession in Australia that supports the 5.4 million Australians who volunteer!

Many people that I know in the past few weeks have commented on your recent ads on TV and the positive light it has shone on Volunteering!

Volunteer Management is an emerging sector in our country. Although it has been around for sometime it is only lately that it is finding a voice as well as being recognised as an important cog in the wheel that is volunteerism.

Now, National Australia Bank – how prudent would it be for you if you extended your support for volunteering and corporate volunteering to Volunteer management! My site is giving you the opportunity to take this visionary lead!

How can you do this?

Directly support International Volunteer Managers Day!

Take out an ad in November stating that you support volunteers and those who manage volunteers! (Or make it your next ad!)

Provide some funding or sponsorship for the Australasian Association of Volunteer Administrators (AAVA)

Or get in contact with me and I will get you in contact with the leading thinkers in volunteer management who would welcome a dialogue with a corporate such as yourself!

I only do this because I believe you have a taken the lead.

I look forward to a response on my site.

Again, well done on your positive promotion on volunteering!

But let’s recognise those who recognise most the value in volunteering – Volunteer Managers!

nab has an opportunity to take a lead here too. Someone will someday...eventually...why not you?

DJ Cronin
Volunteer Manager

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Where will Volunteer Management sit in the future?

“The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind - computer programmers who could crank code, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind - creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers"

From Daniel H. Pink, the author of the bestselling A Whole New Mind.

He goes on to say:

These people – artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers – will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”

Does this future resonate with Volunteer Managers? Are we not creators and meaning makers and can we argue that we at least facilitate these movements?

Dan pink in another book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” says that “The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”

To me, leaders in business are catching on to what we in Volunteer Management have known for years!

We’ve seen it in corporate volunteering. We’ve seen it in the motivations for people volunteering. The Volunteer Manager who is astute and sees the emerging trends is right on top of this stuff and is harnessing it to the benefit of their programs and organisations.

We’ve been talking about what motivates volunteers for quite some time.

But amongst ourselves.

We need to share ourselves more with other sectors and community and society at large. We also need to, as a profession, keep up with what other leaders in other fields are talking about.

We can no longer stay out of the loop. We can no longer afford to stay so specialized as to miss the boat in studies on human movement and motivation.

We are involved in people management of a dynamic and unique kind. We must acknowledge that to move forward.

Otherwise we don’t take part in the leadership dialogue. Otherwise we are just seen to be “looking after” a certain section of society – The Volunteers.

Volunteerism will thrive in the future. It may look different. The purists who disagree will be left behind. As will the current volunteer management sector if they fail to grasp new and innovative concepts, and adapt their language and thinking to the way volunteering looks in the future.

Which is what?

• Corporate volunteering widespread
• Episodic volunteering a given
• Virtual volunteering common place
• Volunteering existing outside traditional paradigms
• Proliferation of Time banks
• Altruistic volunteering remaining but now amongst a myriad of reasons for volunteering
• Political investment in the facilitation of the volunteer movement
• Volunteer management expertise in demand
• Cross cultural volunteering to promote tolerance and peace
• The beginning of the shift from the carrot and stick model of achieving betterment in society
• The extinguishing of motivation for societal transformation for monetary gain only
• The Star Trek Society. Everyone’s a Volunteer!

Well I quite got carried away there and could almost taste Utopia!
Nevertheless dreams must be given birth to somewhere!

Can we at least keep an eye on what kind of thinking is developing in other people management sectors and abandon our fears of being associated with “people management” or leadership” or dare I say it “Management”?

Do we need to change our thinking on Volunteer Management? What are the consequences of not changing?

“Most crawling reptilians, the most earthbound of all creatures, have remained unchanged for millions of years. Some however, grew feathers and wings and turned into birds, thus defying the force of gravity that had held them for so long. They didn’t become better at crawling or walking, but transcended crawling and walking entirely!” – Eckhart Tolle

In my links section please check out “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” It’s just over 10 minutes long. So when you have the time, check it out (on the right hand side of the page). Let us know what you think.

Let me encorage too the futurist in you. What do you think Volunteerism and Volunteer Management will look like in 2030?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Semantics War: Volunteer Management not Looking Afterment!

Looking Afterment. Have you ever come across this term? I’d like to think I’ve coined a phrase here.

”Hi my name is DJ and my profession Is Looking Afterment? Any idea where this might be going? I came across another article today on the wide world of web. An article on Volunteer Management. The author referred to “looking after” volunteers. Volunteer Looking Afterment! I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Even amongst ourselves. “What do you do? – “I look after the vollies”. Double cringe point!

Language is important in our profession. The semantics battles that we have are interesting though. Some people have issues with ‘Volunteer Manager’. People will argue that we manage Volunteer programs and not Volunteers. As if, by the very act of volunteering one does not require management. Balderdash and political correctness to the extreme. I’ve just had a look at the brilliant publication by Noble. Fryar, and Rodgers on volunteer management. It’s their 3rd edition of their essential guide. I recommend it thoroughly. But I grimaced at the title change. It used to be 'Volunteer Management: an essential guide'. We all got that within our industry. Now it’s changed to 'Volunteer Program Management: an essential guide'. I just want to say to the authors that we have always got what you were on about in the first place. By no means is this a criticism of the book . I can’t speak highly enough of it and it is in fact visionary in many of its proclamations and is universal in nature. Thus being as relevant to the American or English reader as it is to the Australian reader.

But I am a Volunteer Manager. And yes I do explain that my role is not voluntary. I understand peoples concern with the title of Volunteer Manager when they argue that folk might think we are volunteers ourselves (as if there was anything wrong with that in the first place!)

But this argument that volunteers don’t need management? It’s still people management right? So people in other departments don’t need management? Or do they only need management when they are paid?


The semantics war is doing our profession a great disservice.

Instead of the time wasting arguments on titles amongst ourselves ( and it has been going on for years) can we grow up and concentrate on what the real issue might be whether that be advocating for volunteering, demonstrating the importance of effective volunteer management or making the world a better place!
Let’s stop “looking after volunteers” and wasting our energy on whether we are Volunteer Managers or Volunteer Program Managers because it is a semantic war that no one outside our sector give two flying fiddles about!

And neither should we!

Friday, July 16, 2010

No follow up? No Volunteer Management?

A volunteer contacts an organisation and expresses interest in volunteering with them.

They register their names or send in an application form. They never hear back from that organisation again!

In recent time I have read more about this occurrence. I am not too sure whether this is becoming more of an issue just because I read about it more though. Maybe people are highlighting it more. Or indeed maybe it is a bigger issue than we realise.

As well as being a full time manager of volunteers I also continue to volunteer in my community and I too have had a recent experience of offering my time but having the organisation “forget” that I did so!!

I often encourage managers of volunteers to do some volunteering themselves if they get the time. Apart from the myriad of good reasons for doing so it is always refreshing to see things from the “volunteer perspective”. Mind you I am not too sure a volunteer coordinator would feel entirely comfortable with me at an initial volunteer interview when they ask of my background and I tell them I have been in volunteer management for 13 years and that I like to write on the topic and my blog is based completely on volunteer management!!!

I think one aspect that we have ignored or neglected to discuss in our sector is the volunteer coordinator or manager who is struggling to keep up.

You know the drill.

An agency with lots of volunteers and the name and goodwill to take on many many more employ a volunteer coordinator. Now they can’t invest too much in this right? After all they are a not for profit organisation. Mind you they employ full time Marketing, PR, HR, Fundraising and Executive staff (and often interestingly enough title them managers!)

So the new volunteer coordinator commences working 5 days a fortnight. Their brief is to grow the program, manage existing programs, recruit, interview, orientate, train, supervise, manage, coordinate, Market the program, delegate, “be there” lead, influence, report, budget, develop a strategic plan, grow professionally, etc.etc.etc.

It’s a big job - volunteer coordination or management. It takes a lot of time. It’s a full time job. It needs resources. It requires planning. Great volunteer programs and outcomes don’t just materialize from thin air.

So while it is right to raise concerns about lack of response or slow response to volunteer enquiries lets just spare a thought for the stressed out part time coordinator who is dealing with an influx of applicants and who is expected to manage the existent volunteer team without a hitch in their part time capacity.

By not responding quickly enough or by not responding at all they are failing in effective volunteer management. We say J'accuse! But perhaps their organisations are the bigger culprits by not resourcing volunteer management in the first place???

Food for thought?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Activism in Volunteer Management

What stops a View on Volunteer Management?

Today, after responding to an email from someone I got to thinking on activism and volunteer management.

We don’t have many activists do we? Sure we have experts and consultants and trainers and writers and the likes.

But what makes an activist? And do we need activists in volunteer management?

I say that we do

I hope that I am.

ac•tiv•ist –noun

an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, esp. a political cause.

of or pertaining to activism or activists: an activist organization for environmental concern.

advocating or opposing a cause or issue vigorously, esp. a political cause: Activist opponents of the President picketed the White House.

Is Volunteer Management political though?

The reason I muse on such things right now is recent conversations Ive had with people. It got me thinking on what stops people from speaking out.

I know of people who have told me that they don’t speak on certain matters pertaining to volunteer management because “it is too political”

A voice lost because of that perception in that instance is a shame.

I was once told that I may be perceived as a “trouble maker”. By someone in the industry. My thoughts were at the time “ and your point is?”

I don’t make money from my blog. I don’t charge for my viewpoint. I see my blog as a volunteering activity actually! An opportunity for me to be an activist for what I belive to be an important cause in our society!

A few activists have a say and make an impact in our sector.

Just a few people.

So can you imagine what could be achieved if more activists were harnessed, if more people felt that the sector of volunteer management merited their ongoing commitment and if national associations for volunteer management actually did what they are supposed to do!

Better that than the brigade who over utilize the incessant excuses of

• I’m too busy

• I want to continue sitting on the fence….it’s far more comfortable up here

• Oh. I can’t burn bridges….I must remain a friend to everyone

• Criticism of this or that may not be astute for me politically or economically even though it deserves criticism and or critical analysis!

Speak up Volunteer Managers

Have a say here

Write a blog

Write to your association for volunteer management

Because Volunteer Managers Matter!

Volunteer management - 6 people Care?

Are our National Associations For Volunteer Management advancing our profession?

That is our current poll

It is important that when you log in here to read opinion that you leave your own - either by a comment or simply by clicking on the poll.

We need to have a say! We can’t change anything until we do!

I only say this becauseI know the amount of people who come here for a read! If you don’t want to comment then a simple click will register your vote on our current poll.

Have your say.

Because we matter!

Google alert for Volunteer Management

Google doesn’t pay me. Let me make that clear first of all! They probablyy should though. Because I use a Google blog and I want to promote their service. I use Goggle search engine and have always found it the best. I will have mentioned this before but “Google alert” is simply fantastic in my view!

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Enter the topic you wish to monitor, then click preview to see the type of results you'll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

• monitoring a developing news story
• keeping current on a competitor or industry
• getting the latest on a celebrity or event
• keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams

I use Google alert to keep up to date on volunteer management, volunteerism, and to find out if so key people or organisations are saying anything about my pet topic – Volunteer Management.

Astute organisations I believe have caught on the Google alert. Why? Because they are savvy enough to know that is important to monitor what people are saying about them or about their sector. Thus giving them a chance to respond if something contentious is raised!

Astute public relations or Marketing people know about this.

So what has this got to do with Volunteer Management?

Well let’s try this – I think that Volunteer Management is in a catch up status when it comes to Social media. After all, how many sites, blogs twitters, etc do you see solely concentrating on volunteer management? Its growing though. And it will grow further. More people will blog and more people will comment on volunteer management. Online discussions amongst volunteer managers are already happening.

If Volunteer Managers who are committed to their sector, peak bodies for volunteering, or government ministers responsible for volunteering, or national associations for volunteer management or volunteering involving organisations or academics or trainers or consultants in volunteerism or management are not keeping up to date on what people are saying on this subject matter then they are sorely missing out. Or behind the times. Or disadvantaged by lack of knowledge.

Not only is it important to know what is going on in your sector it is important to know what people are saying about you!

I have “DJ Cronin” on alert for example. Just in case someone is agreeing or disagreeing with me somewhere online! It gives me the chance to respond.
I also am interested in any new comments from a number of key people and organisations in volunteer management. So anytime that, say, someone like Jayne Cravens writes a new comment I am alerted to that fact.

Heres a test:

Points of Light


Volunteering Australia

Volunteering New Zealand

Volunteering England

Susan J Ellis

people first total soloutions

Andy Fryar

hands on network

Volunteering Queensland

Here I just mentioned a few people or organisations known to me. Now if they have a Google alert they will know within 24 hours that they have been mentioned in this blog!

They may also then be astute enough to simply reply to this blog and say “yep DJ – got my eye on the ball!”

Which is a good thing for volunteer management!

Let’s wait and see.........

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bring us to the plenary.

Volunteerism Gazette

Volunteer Manager Speaks at main plenary at National Conference

Our reporter Don J Volau reports from Asaba on a remarkable event that took place at the Asaba national Conference on volunteering

For the first time in its history the National Conference on Volunteering in the Republic of Asaba invited a Volunteer Manager to speak at its main plenary.

500 delegates heard volunteer manager Noah Rekonition bemoan the fact that his speech was a first. Reaction to the speech was mixed. One delegate who wished to remain anonymous stated that “it was full of self importance! – volunteers should get recognition , not managers!”. Others praised the speech including Cyril Underpayd who has been managing volunteers for 7 years “ I just enjoyed hearing Volunteer management mentioned!”

Organisers of the conference were unavailable for comment.

The following is an edited transcript of the speech (part 1)

Speech to National Conference – Bring us to the plenary.

Good morning

I am of course delighted to be asked to be one of the main speakers for the main plenary sessions for this National Conference on volunteering.

This moment is highly significant. Not because I, the individual, have been asked to address you today. No, it’s because a Volunteer manager has been invited to speak today.

And those of you who have been around volunteer management for some time now will understand this significance. Especially those of you with more than just a passing interest in the advancement of the volunteer management profession.

Before I go any further I want to focus very briefly on an important point. I am employed to manage volunteer programs. I call myself a volunteer manager. I will refer to volunteer management throughout this speech. I do acknowledge that some people here will have problems with this language.

I ask that we put semantics aside for now. For this speech when I say volunteer manager I am referring coordinators, managers of volunteers, administrators and directors.

I want to quickly move beyond that hurdle. That hurdle that we incidentally created ourselves within volunteerism.

But back to the significance of having a volunteer manager speak today.

For too long the voice of volunteer managers has been too quiet. For too long, the voice of volunteer management has been ignored. For too long the important role that volunteer managers play in volunteerism has been neglected.

The frightening part is that this has been generally speaking the case within volunteerism circles itself. Not just society or community in general.

Frightening? Is this too strong a word? I’ll say it again - The frightening part is that this lack of acceptance and recognition has, generally speaking, been the case within volunteerism circles itself.

It is frightening to those who see volunteer management as a profession.

As I do.

It is frightening to those who see volunteer management as a career.

As I do.

It is frightening to those who see the intrinsic link between volunteering and volunteer management.

Historically our National conferences on volunteering have focused on volunteers. They have focused on new trends in volunteering. They have focused on strategies to increase volunteering. They have talked about volunteer motivation, volunteer recognition, social capitol, building community etc. they have explored academic research in volunteering and have had main presenters and speakers from Government, the Corporate world, Community organisations, CEOs, founders of companies, academics, professors, Company directors, politicians, celebrities etc. Which is all well and good.

But until today, there has been no Volunteer manager speaking at the main plenary at a national conference about the vital role that is Volunteer management. About the profession that is Volunteer management. About the career that is Volunteer management.

But something has been happening outside of these plenary sessions. Especially in more recent times. Volunteer managers are getting together and speaking out on volunteer management. More managers are putting in papers and workshops for these conferences. More and more volunteer managers are looking at their careers as a profession!

There may be more like me out there who have attended national Conference on volunteering, maybe presented a paper or a workshop, and indeed like me may have gotten something out of the experience. But there may be some volunteer managers out there in the audience who like me have decided to count the number of times volunteer management has been mentioned at the main plenary sessions and have come away disappointed. The mentions could be counted on one hand - sometimes one finger.

I have wondered – “don’t we matter?

I have asked myself “if we can’t have our profession acknowledged within volunteerism itself what hope do we have in getting volunteer management better support and resources at the agencies wherein we work?”

I mean really – is that not a fair question?

But we do support volunteer management comes the cry from volunteerism.

To many degrees yes I will answer but Volunteer Management needs to be on the main page as well. Volunteer Management must be part of the main plenary at every conference on volunteering.

It needs to be on your agenda more.

When volunteerism consults with other sectors and government do they do so with the advice and wisdom of volunteer management incorporated in there somewhere?

It is in the interest of volunteerism that Volunteer management be supported!

It is in the interest of volunteerism that professional associations for volunteer management are given more say, a bigger voice onthe future of volunteerism!

It is in the interest of volunteerism that peak bodies give more credence to the voice that is volunteer management!

It is time that all the parts that make up volunteerism come together for the advancement of volunteering itself. It is time that we recognize each other’s important role.

We must pull together and not apart.

Volunteerism must be all inclusive.

It belongs to no one!

Volunteer managers have a lot to say. They are at the coalface after all each day. They have a lot to contribute.

Being here today, Saying this today Is significant.

As a volunteer manager. It sends a message to Volunteer managers everywhere.

And at least if you are sitting out there counting how many times volunteer management is mentioned at the plenary of a National Conference you have for the first time run out of fingers.

And that can only be a good thing.

So here we are. At long last. And what is it that Volunteer Management has to say? According to this Volunteer Manager.

It is simply this….

To be continued…………………….

Copyright Volunteerism Gazette 2010

Why Volunteer Management must respond to Volunteer Rights Inquiry In England

To me, being a professional in our sector involves keeping abreast of what is happening in the world of volunteering. Its important that we know what is happening in volunteerism globally. Why? Because something that may be happening on the other side of the world may someday have an impact on what is happening in your part of the world volunteerism wise.

Take episodic volunteering as a case in point. When was this trend first spotted and in what country. 10 years ago I had not heard of this. Today it has the biggest impact on where I work and in how I manage my volunteer program. I don’t have the hard evidence at hand to say where the trend first emerged but if it was say Australia, then professional volunteer managers in the USA would or should have taken notice and the reverse applies. Whether it was Switzerland, Singapore or New Zealand, such happenings should be noted and studied and prepared for before becoming a trend in our global village.

I have been watching for quite some time the lead up to a volunteer rights enquiry in England. Ive been fascinated by the need for such an event to take place. I remember a few years back there was talk of forming a union for volunteers in Australia!

Instead of editorializing too much on the interim report in England I feel it is important for volunteer management to take a close look at this and come to their own conclusions on what is a very complex issue.

I have read the interim report and what stares me in the face is the fact that there is a real and urgent need to have good volunteer management in place to address many of the issues. I feel the report doesn’t highlight this strongly enough. Read the report yourself and you may agree with me that it presents an ideal opportunity for our sector to argue the case for effective and good volunteer management and management with strong ethics as well as an advocacy role for volunteers.

I am sorry, but volunteer management to me should no longer be “Sheila from accounts looking after the vollies” or a two day a week position “looking after 300 lovely volunteers”.

So if volunteer management is scrutinized in this report I ask is it Effective Volunteer management.

Is it professional volunteer management?

Is it best practice volunteer management?

I look forward to the full report due out before year’s end. I commend Volunteer England for their groundbreaking efforts.

Because this is something that needs to be studied by every volunteer manager, consultant, trainer and professional association around the globe. What can our sector learn from this? What strategies can we implement to prepare for or indeed prevent such an occurrence in our own nations? Or because of precedence do we need similar inquiry’s worldwide?

As a profession we need to have an ear to the ground. We need to have a global eye.

The flap of a butterfly's wings in Central Park could ultimately cause an earthquake in China. So say the proponents of chaos theory, who use 'the butterfly effect' to describe how simple and apparently straightforward processes can combine and set in motion a chain of events with far-reaching and unpredictable consequences.

Whether or not you concur with chaos theory I would wager a bet that the ripples of this enquiry will flow globally.

It’s important that Volunteer Management articulate a response. I assume and hope that the Association of Volunteer Management in the UK speedily comes up with some response and reaction. It would be a forward looking move if other associations around the globe could comment and develop position statements on this.

Failure to do so will demonstrate inertia. Simple as that. The reason why we need to talk out are demonstrated in the following article published by Third Sector Online in the UK

It is my view that they have sensationalized the story a little and cherry picked by placing volunteer management at the heart of the ‘shocking story”

Interim results of Volunteer Rights Inquiry reveal 'shocking stories'

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector Online, 8 July 2010

'Numerous' volunteers have reported grievances, including verbal abuse and sexual harassment The standard of volunteer management in charities is low, according to an interim report by the Volunteer Rights Inquiry, the panel set up by Volunteering England to examine the treatment of volunteers.

The report, published yesterday, says that during three evidence-gathering sessions and as part of an online consultation, "numerous" volunteers had reported verbal abuse and sexual harassment.

It says people giving evidence recounted "shocking stories of bad management, poor governance, bullying and improper behaviour" and cites intimidation and sexual harassment as examples.

"Despite the preponderance of codes of practice and guides on managing volunteers, standards remained low, especially in the voluntary sector," the report says.

"Clearly, organisations need to become better at preventing and resolving problems internally."

The report also raises the idea of a volunteer complaints commissioner or a volunteering ombudsman whose role would be to settle disputes.
"Overwhelmingly, volunteers expressed the need for an independent means of obtaining redress when things go wrong," the report says. "Deep commitment to the cause constrains volunteers from wanting to engage in whistleblowing or make external complaints."

A Volunteering England spokeswoman stressed that the organisation was not advocating the establishment of a complaints commissioner, but said it was outlining it as one possible solution.

She said the inquiry would publish more detailed recommendations in November.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Are our National Associations For Volunteer Management advancing our profession?

Are they?

Are they speaking out on your behalf?

Are they visual?

Are they heard?

Are you a member?

If you are not a member is there a reason?

Do you believe they are doing what they should be doing?

What should they be doing?

please comment here

Please engage in a discussion on a very important matter.

Because Volunteer Management Matters....

Or simply respond to the poll on the right hand column

Are we being heard?

Introducing New Zealand's first blog on Management of Volunteers!

I am so happy to plug a new blog for volunteer management in New Zealand.

Go find it at

Sue Hine has contributed to this humble blog. And now Sue has started her own.

I do feel this is the way to go for Volunteer Managers in their contribution to the sector. Speaking with an independent voice! We need more VMs in More countries getting together speaking out on Volunteer management.

I will be watching Sue’s blog with interest and jumping in when I agree and disagree with her viewpoint!!!!

Sue is doing some great work for the sector in New Zealand. Her blog can only add value to our profession. For her drive and initiative Sue gets a VM Champion Award!!!!

More from the site

"It's all about engaging with people who work with volunteers, about supporting and encouraging their work, as well as dealing with the challenges.

Sue Hine is the author, a back-room person with long experience in volunteering which has taught her what is really important in managing volunteers.

She was Manager of Volunteer Services at Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington for 6 years until 2007. She is now co-leader of the Volunteering NZ group charged with promoting the recognition and professional development of managers of volunteers (see for reports and updates).

Among other things Sue is a tutor for New Zealand's on-line training programme for managers of volunteers via"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Volunteer Management Viral?: Let's support a Volunter Manager

Here's a challenge. Can you help me? Can we make a simple YouTube video on an award for volunteer management go viral?? Tina? I don’t know her from Adam ok? But this simple YouTube entry inspired me. Here is a fab VM in action and also an award worth supporting!

I am using this You Tube as a trial. When I first checked it had 60 viewers.

It deserves 1,000s

So here is why I lay the challenge

Let’s test how much Volunteer Management is in tune with Social Media?
Let’s see if we have power in spreading a message?
Pass this on to every volunteer manager, coordinator, trainer etc you know
Let us show how much we know! And in the meantime let’s spread a good message in Volunteer management!

I issued this challenge last night and the site got 10 more hits. It hit 70

I want to see a thousand

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Volunteer Management – Saying the stuff that others won’t!

Recently I read some government minister somewhere in some nation talk up volunteer managers along the lines of - they are not in it for the money - That the pay packet wasn’t the motivator - that it wasn’t the key motivator for those in volunteer management or words to that effect. Volunteer managers were in effect superheroes.

As a volunteer manager I cringe when I hear officials or CEOs or ministers or public servants give such speeches about volunteers! Not to mind Volunteer Managers!

The speech that says you are all so nice and wonderful people. The speech that focuses on how much a do gooder you are but not on what you truly bring to society and not on how volunteerism is such a dynamic movement in our societies. The what I call the “political pat on the head speech”
Not all speeches are like this granted.

When government anywhere has volunteer management in its sights then progress is being made for our sector.

“See the glass half full” “at least volunteer management is being mentioned” “baby steps are better than no steps”
While I understand these sentiments I can’t condone them.

No one will have challenged the minister for his statements. I could nearly bet on that. No one will have said “well excuse me minister but I love my job and also want to be paid a decent wage because I have a young family and a mortgage”. No one will have told the minister that while we understand why you have called volunteer managers “superheroes” many don’t consider themselves so. What if they consider themselves professionals doing a job and facilitating real and positive change in society? What if, parity of pay and respect in management was more important to some? What if recognition of the sector was more important than the pat on the head?
I am always pushing for proper recognition of the Volunteer management sector from agencies who utilize volunteers, the community at large and government.

We never hear pollies calling HR managers “superheroes”

Or Marketing Managers

Or Nurse managers

To me, the pollie did so based on the assumption that not all volunteer managers were paid and that even if they were paid that it was so noble a profession because they managed an unpaid workforce. Language is important. I get that. Recognition is important. I get that too.

But I think volunteer management cannot progress on baby steps any longer.

When I read the recent press release where the government minister was talking about volunteer managers I too was glad volunteer management was mentioned. Nevertheless some of the language used concerned me. I shared my unease on the language used with another colleague. While he agreed, to a point, with what I said, he said the most important point was the fact that Government was talking about volunteer management.

I, on the other hand can’t agree when people aren’t pointing out to the minister that certain language does nothing to advance volunteer management. I don’t get it when no one points out to the government what volunteer management is really about?

You know what?

I was reticent about posting these comments. People will come on this blog and attack what I say.

But this is a personal blog on volunteer management and I can’t mind my language.

You can disagree but do so by writing an alternative viewpoint. Don’t challenge the person – challenge the view! Let’s try that eh?

Mature debate will advance the sector of Volunteer management!!!

Government praise of “superheroes” won’t!

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