Showing posts from August, 2010

More surveys on Volunteer Management? More Action?

Here’s another survey result just published in the UK on Volunteer management. Any big surprises here?


Volunteer managers 'lack training'

By By Kate Youde, Third Sector, 31 August 2010

Report by Skills - Third Sector says 42 per cent have had no training at all

More than four out of 10 people who manage volunteers have not received any training, according to a report released today.

Despite identifying much good practice in volunteer management, the study by the Institute for Volunteering Research, called Valuing Volunteer Management, concluded it is undervalued and underfunded in many charities.
The report draws on responses from more than 1,000 volunteer managers at third sector organisations in England.

It said 42 per cent of people managing volunteers have not received any training that would help them to carry out that work. In organisations with more than 50 staff the figure was 20 per cent.

The report found 86 per cent of respondents would welc…

The Anti Echo Chamber Series for Volunteer Management

One of my favorite terms I have come across recently is the term ‘Echo Chamber”

Without going into too much detail because you can Google everything these days, here are my 2 favorite definitions of “Echo Chamber” both coming from

1. echo chamber

A person who totally, obsequiously agrees with everything another person says.

“During the meeting my boss Jeremy calls on Jason, who’s a well-known management echo chamber to ask if Jason thinks the Company’s new and much stricter internet policy is a fair one. The rest of us spend the remainder of the meeting retching at the resultant tsunami of blatant ass-smooching.”

2. echo chamber

An insular communication space where everyone agrees with the information and no outside input is allowed. The broadcast is just another echo chamber for self serving interests.

There are too many echo chambers in volunteerism. There are so many echo chambers in volunteer management!

I love the term especially because I hope to exist o…

Breaking free from our Volunteer Management echo chambers!

Ok now here is a story I will reprint in full

To give us another look at people’s views on volunteering.

This will form part of my anti echo chamber series. Reproducing such articles does not mean I agree with them. However I do recognise the value of thought outside the echo chambers! It doesn’t mean its right…but we need to discuss various views even those outside our comfort zone I think.

here is the article from Alison Schrager (Allison Schrager is an economist based in New York.)

When a friend suggests they help clean up a park, Allison Schrager politely declines. "Why would I spend three hours of my time picking up trash?" As a professional, it makes more sense to donate what her time is worth ...

A friend once invited me to spend a cold winter's day picking up trash in a park. It was a community-service event organised by a charitable organisation she was involved with. I immediately told her I was not…

Volunteering and Volunteer Management Ends Hung Parliament

I remember a talk I did once on International volunteer day. It was about 5 years ago and it was in front of about 500 volunteers. There were also about 8 politicians in the crowd. My speech was about volunteering. I joked about starting the “volunteering party”. That got a few giggles. Yet when I talked about how volunteers should be supported by government through subsidized public transport I seemed to get attention from the pollies. After describing it as both good for Volunteerism and the environment I noted most of the politicians reaching for notebooks and pens and scribbling notes. At the time I thought “wow, they are really taking note of that suggestion”. Yea. Right. I may have been suggesting that all volunteers receive free haircuts for the year. Actually there’s a thought….anyway I digress.

Nothing of course came of that speech. This was a case of politicians looking interested in front of half a thousand volunteers. I only started thinking about that tonight as I watched…

The Volunteer Management Sector Tipping Point

According to Malcolm Gladwell the tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses an invisible threshold and spreads like wildfire.

How do we as a Volunteer Management Sector get our new ideas and changes to be contagious and tip?

Gladwell also talks about the 20-60-20 change principle. In explaining this I will apply it to our sector.

The 20-60-20 principle states that generally the following occurs with people in organisations who are going through the change process.

will take the new idea on board and be willing to try change

60% will sit on the fence at the beginning of the change process

20% will be cynical about change and will only come on board with the new initiative when the critical mass (I.e. the above 80%) has moved forward.

I believe we have similar figures when it comes to new ideas and thought for Volunteer Management and the Volunteerism sector as a whole. I’ve met the change champions and the supporters, have seen the “wait and se…

From "a note from the universe"

It's one trick, to manifest exactly what you want. It's another to bring about something even better. Leave the door open. How? Expect miracles. Don't attach to unimportant details. Don't insist "how" your dreams will come true. Prepare to be amazed. Feel the joy when you daydream. Take baby steps in the dark. Every single day physically do something about your dreams. And most important, saunter.

Election Thoughts (3) Volunteer Management and Politics

One of the few policies in regards with anything to do with volunteering came from one of the political parties in the last week of campaigning.

From an article by Probono Australia

“Volunteering Australia says any plan to set up a volunteer scheme to allow university students to offset some of their HECS debt needs much more work.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced that the coalition would initiate a pilot scheme if elected to Government, in response to a question during the Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane held last night.
Abbott told the audience that students who volunteered would receive $10 per hour, which would come off their tertiary study HECS debt.

The Labor Government also flagged a similar scheme in January 2010 based on an idea from the 2020 Summit.

Today the Liberal Party released more details about the scheme saying it will encourage the development of Australia’s next generation of community volunteers with a $7 million pilot volunteering program to b…

Election Thoughts (2)

I didn’t see much policy from any side to do with volunteerism during this election campaign here in Australia. I watched closely the UK election and felt that volunteerism was a bigger agenda item and that the volunteerism sector was more engaged in the political process.

Election Thoughts (1)

Australians have just voted in their general election and it looks like we will have a hung parliament and that whoever forms Government will rely on a few independents.

Voting in Australia is compulsory. Just out of interest I wonder what Volunteer Managers or those with an interest in volunteerism think of this.

Should voting be voluntary? In every nation? Take our poll

Check this out!

"So many people -- media and corporate people in particular -- like to talk about volunteers in the most flowery language possible: volunteers as selfless and hard-working and nice and sweet and huggable. Gosh golly, don't you love them?!?

I'm not fond of using fuzzy language to talk about volunteers, because I find it degrading and disrespectful. It devalues volunteers and their role in organizations."

Not my words but Jayne Cravens. Please see the link on my page to Jaynes site.

3 words come to my mind when I read Jaynes stuff!


Formal Recognition of Volunteer Management?

Its only 78 days left until International Volunteer Managers Day (IVMD). I mention this because I recently sent out and invitation to other volunteer managers in our state of Queensland to attend an International Volunteer Managers lunch being organised by a network of Volunteer coordinators and Managers. We’ve been doing this for a number of years now, taking the initiative to at least get together to mark the event.

About 4 years ago I wrote the following as President of the Australasian Association of Volunteer Administrators (AAVA).

“In some quarters I have come across a reluctance to support recent initiatives such as the Volunteer Administrators award of Excellence being run by the Australasian Association of Volunteer Administrators (AAVA) and the International Volunteer Managers DAY (IVMD) which is held on November 5th.

The reasons for the reluctance in support for these initiatives vary but include

We don’t like patting each other on the back
Most volunteer managers are v…

The Nonexistent Volunteer Management Party releases policy!



Today the NEVM party leader Noah Rekonition launched his party’s campaign in waga waga. Here is an edited extract from his speech

“My fellow stralians, mums and dads, aussie battlers and hard working folk, the Nonexistent Volunteer Management Party is the party for you to vote for in this election. 5.4 million stralians volunteer. We dont know how many people are employed in the volunteer management field. We will say a half a million for the fun of it because no one is listening to this announcement anyway. And no press will take up this story for we are just the NEVM. We are such an unique party that you won’t even find us on the ballot paper. Just think of us though and you register a vote for us.
Moving forward we are fair dinkum. We are LIBERAL in our management, we manage voluntary LABOR! Our movement is NATIONAL! When we look at the resources, respect and recognition we see given to other management sectors we are GREEN with envy. T…

"The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: "I did not have time." Franklin Field

Quotes that can apply to Volunteer Management!

"Every one of us, unconsciously, works out a personal philosophy of life, by which we are guided, inspired, and corrected, as time goes on. It is this philosophy by which we measure out our days, and by which we advertise to all about us the man, or woman, that we are. . . . It takes but a brief time to scent the life philosophy of anyone. It is defined in the conversation, in the look of the eye, and in the general mien of the person. It has no hiding place. It's like the perfume of the flower, unseen, but known almost instantly. It is the possession of the successful, and the happy. And it can be greatly embellished by the absorption of ideas and experiences of the useful of this earth." George Matthew Adams

So why do I love Volunteer Management?

Is it the association with people who don’t walk into the office on Monday morning with a Monday morning face? Or the Friday volunteers who refreshingly don’t answer “I’m great it’s Friday!” when you ask them how they are at the end of the week.

For me it’s about the people. The different faces and characters you see each day. If you are not a “people person” you are not in volunteer management.

Is it, while walking the floor and seeing volunteers in action who don’t notice you watching?

I don’t know about you but they still inspire me. They touch that place deep inside that only a magnificent sunset or ridiculously high snow capped mountain can. You know the feeling. The wow factor. What is it about people who make an effort to change people’s lives or make a difference who are not motivated purely by money?

Is it the camaraderie and humour? Maybe it’s just in the places I have worked but volunteers I encounter have a wicked sense of humour. Or maybe they are reflecting mine! They…



Interview with Samaku President

By Don J Volau

3 months ago Volunteerism Gazette reported on a famous election victory (see blog archive – May)

“Samaku is an island west of North Arabia. Pop” 4 million, Samaku has gone unnoticed in world history generally due to its people’s penchant for peace. Samaku however should get some recognition from the volunteerism world as it has just elected a president whose full time job is volunteer manager.

According to its last census Samaku has 2 million volunteers. A figure large enough to inspire a volunteer manager to form his own political party 2 years ago. That risk yesterday paid off when Andy Cowling was inaugurated Samaku’s 4th President since the island state gained independence from Oldthink.”

3 months later our reporter Don J Volau secured this interview with President Cowling

Don J Volau (DV): Mr. President thank you for taking the time to do this interview

President Cowl…

Response to this blogger from National Australia Bank!

A little while ago I wrote an open letter to National Australia Bank and posted it on this site. In it I commended nab and their commitment to volunteerism. Please see my earlier blog on the matter. I am delighted that nab have responded to my blog. I will follow up on their response with some suggestions on how they can support volunteer management and I will keep you informed.

Again, I have to commend nab for their commitment to volunteering and their willingness to also have a look at volunteer management!

Here is their response to my initial blog – would love your views from a volunteer managers perspective!

Dear Mr Cronin,

Firstly thanks for your feedback - following our recent survey done during National Volunteer Week we thought it was a good time to raise awareness of the need for volunteers, especially given numbers of people volunteering are on the decline. We are particularly championing the corporates' role in helping supply a pipeline of engaged, well briefed, suitab…

Its “only” Volunteer Management and you are “just” a Volunteer Manager or Coordinator!

Haven’t been blogging for awhile. I’ve been really busy to tell you the truth. Most of, if not all, of my blogging is done in the evening. After work. After the kids have been played with and put to bed! After the quality family time.

It’s been a particularly busy time for my own volunteer management role in the last few weeks. Believe me when I say it’s always busy but the last few weeks particularly so. I’m not complaining. I have wonderful staff in terms of coordination and a wonderful team in terms of volunteers. And sometimes when you come home from a busy day in volunteer management the last thing you want to do is write a wee blog on a volunteer management issue!

After over 4 months I’ve been reflecting on the blog. It’s Raison d'être. I track the number of visits to the site not with the intention of popularity but with the deep interest within me on what topics interest volunteer managers.

To be brutally honest (and I have a tendency towards that here!) I sometimes thi…

Volunteer Management Jokes

In an earlier post I argued “When there are legitimate jokes about Volunteer Management we know we have entered the mainstream” We need some sector comedy relief at times. Here are a few jokes that I have made up or adapted to make you laugh or groan. Send your volunteer management jokes to this site.

Knock knock
Who’s there?
A Volunteer manager
A Volunteer Manager who?

Reaching the end of a job interview, the human resources person asked the Volunteer Management applicant “And what starting salary are you looking for?"

The Volunteer Management applicant said, "In the neighborhood of $95,000 a year”

The interviewer said, "Well, what would you say to equal pay in comparison to all of our managers, a package of five weeks' vacation, genuine recognition of your role, a company policy that values volunteering, financial support for your membership of your Volunteer Management Association, and a party for all staff on International Volunteer Managers Day?

The …