I’ve been blogging for over 17 months now. And anyone except for the non occasional reader can tell that I have the same few points. Indeed maybe some will say that I go on about the same old thing again and again and again and again.
For that I make no apology. For I only go on and on about any matter if I think it’s an ongoing issue in our sector.
Sometimes I feel like it’s a crime to expect that volunteer management should be a well resourced and well paid occupation. And this is a major “fall down” aspect of our sector. The same I suppose could be said of many areas in community service. The old line goes like this “ if you are in any sort of community service such as volunteering, caring for the disadvantaged, a carer, counselor, social worker, youth worker, etc then you will not be paid as much and in my opinion linked to something that is valued as much as other professions.”
As much as I hate to admit it there is a connection surely between value and pay when i…
Sometimes we can get a little lost in our roles. By that I mean we can get caught up in the busyness and feel like it’s difficult to come up for air.
Very often we work in isolation. This is why it’s healthy to have networks and colleagues to support us.
But every now and then I think it is worthwhile to have a little self dialogue. I am a person who believes in self affirmations. I know its not for everyone and each to their own. But here is one I found a while ago. The author is unknown. If you do know who wrote it please let me know.
“There may be days when you get up in the morning and things aren't the way you had hoped they would be, that’s when you have to tell yourself that things will get better.
There are times when people disappoint you and let you down, but those are the times when you must remind yourself to trust your own judgments and opinions, to keep your life focused on believing in yourself and all that you are capable of.
Effective Volunteer management is about leadership
"Rely on your own strength of body and soul. Take for your star self-reliance, faith, honesty and industry. Don't take too much advice — keep at the helm and steer your own ship, and remember that the great art of commanding is to take a fair share of the work. Fire above the mark you intend to hit. Energy, invincible determination with the right motive, are the levers that move the world."
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
John Quincy Adams
"Any one can hold the helm when the sea is calm."
Effective Volunteer management is about Action
"To be a great leader and so always master of the situation, one must of necessity have been a great thinker in action. An eagle was never yet hatched from a goose's egg."
"Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall fi…
Sue Hines writes an interesting piece on International Volunteer Managers Day in her latest blog. The link to Sues Blogsite can be found on the right!
The view that there will be noise all round the world to celebrate the day is one, alas, I cannot share.
The problem, as I see it, with IVMD is that it is being smothered with niceness and tarnished with insignificance.
Years ago I had an issue with a well known speaker on volunteerism who basically stated the day was cringe worthy and had no time for volunteer managers patting themselves on the back. I disagreed vehemently then.
I am not so sure now.
My belief in the day and its purpose has not wavered. I am not too sure that people understand what the day is about. If small pockets of volunteer managers throughout the globe meet for tea and cakes and do nothing more for the sector itself then how is this “education through celebration”
I saw someone writing on the IVMD Facebook page that they were going to get a few Volunteer Manag…
Now there’s a question that may well stop you in your track. Because, let’s face it, in your busy role when was the last time you were asked that question? Have you been asked that as part of your own annual performance evaluation? Or is it a question you regularly ask yourself?
This train of thought arises from some info I’ve come across on the net. I am grateful that we live in an age where a vast amount of knowledge and information is available. In terms of volunteer management I sometimes think that we are guilty off seeking guidance or leadership from a narrow silo. That is to say that we seem to lack the courage and conviction to look outside our sector at generic leadership and management philosophy. We sometimes tend to think that Volunteer Management is so unique and different that we can’t learn from others.
Of course Volunteer management is different and unique…but I do belive we can learn from othert sectors as they can learn from …
I’ve had a recent period of mental blockage followed by self reflection. I rewrote that first line and added mental. Attempts at humour are still there.
I like to write on volunteer management issues but recently I’ve suffered writers block. I would sit in front of the keyboard and stare at the blank screen. But nothing came. “What gives” I thought. Had I run out of things to write about? Had I said all that needs to be said on Volunteer Management?
I love Volunteer Management and I enjoy writing. Here I was fusing two passions.
So during my moments of writers block I had many competing thoughts.
“What’s the purpose of it all?”
“Finish the blog and write on other things you are passionate about”
“ write that book that’s in you and bursting to get out” That’s the espionage thriller about the secret agent posing as a Volunteer Manager who thwarts the alien takeover at the White House!
And then just as I was tiring of staring at a blank screen and as my bored fingers were getting fi…
Erin Barnhart is an internationally recognized expert in domestic and international service and volunteer engagement. She has been quoted by such media sources as CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Post, The Boston Globe, Smart Money, Marie Claire, and Budget Travel and has developed and delivered effective engagement tools, trainings, and resources for volunteers, volunteer resource managers, and organizations worldwide.
An AmeriCorps*NCCC alum, Erin has an MPA in Public Policy and a Graduate Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from the University of Oregon. Following completion of her Masters Degree, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Canada to study volunteer centers (PDF) in British Columbia and the Yukon. In 2005, Erin began work on a Ph.D., studying international civic engagement at Portland State University; she expects to complete her dissertation in 2011.
Here Erin has kindly taken the time to answer 10 questions of mine on Voluntee…
I recently came across a great poem by someone called Charles Osgood
“There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who'll carry out the task?
Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done,
If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognised that anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that somebody would.
But nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.
When what everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining …
I have a longing for a dialogue on leadership within our sector. Go through my blog postings and you will see this emerge. I guess I will keep coming back to it. Of course we will have to have a debate about the word “Leadership” first.:-)
Where is the Leadership Lounge in Volunteer Management? Where do you turn to for leadership ideas? Where do you turn to for a little inspiration? Leadership and inspiration are different things yes but I see them as intertwined on so many occasions.
Don’t leaders inspire?
When I see dialogue in volunteer management I still come across much of the same old dialogue Ive seen come up intermittingly over the last 14 years.
An example is some recent discussion I’ve come across on some forums. What should we call volunteers? What should we call volunteer managers? Or should that be managers of volunteers.
We seem to be addicted to questions of semantics and terminology. Meanwhile the great issues for our sector remain largely unspoken of or commented on…
Right now i'm enjoying a holiday. Smelling the roses more. Being. So Ive decided to also take a break from blogging and writing.
Happy trails to you.....
"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so."
A blog I posted to I -Volunteer today. The link to I - Volunteercan be found on my favourite links here
There have been some criticisms of England’s professional body for Volunteer managers (AVM) on I-Volunteer of late. Unwarranted in my view. And I say this as a Volunteer Manager from down under!
To me, at least your association is visual. They have a fairly current and active website with some very interesting and topical blogs. People on their website can engage in conversation. As I look now the most recent comment is a couple of hours old.
I’ve seen them active on social media. I’ve seen them consulted by the press. I’ve seen them engage with Government. I’ve seen them comment on issues of the day relating to volunteerism and volunteering. I’ve seen them demonstrate a healthy relationship with the peak body for volunteering "Volunteering England". You’ve had a national campaign to recognise Volunteer Management with AVM and you have a National Conference on Volunteer …
I began a blog on “The 20 traits of Volunteer Management in 2050.” Simply because several people look at 2020 to bring about new change.
I am not as hopeful. I started writing thus:
1.Our sector will be seen as a vital part of society
2.We will extract ourselves from the traits of volunteering
And then I stopped. And then I realised, as a Volunteer Manager for many years, that I had come upon a major issue in our field. One that is, of course, not discussed due to the general lack of curiosity in research in Volunteer Management.(Oh we have heaps of research into volunteerism...great fodder for acedemia at conferences......)
And it is this.
We have for far too long equated feelings or assumptions on Volunteering with Volunteer Management.
Let me give you an example of what I am hinting at:
Volunteering is nice. Therefore Volunteer Management is nice
Volunteering is a warm, cozy and fluffy story therefore so is Volunteer Management
Volunteering is nice but not necessary therefore…….
On my own blog site several people have responded to my 10 questions on Volunteerism and Volunteer Management. I am delighted that they did and thank them. I believe that some more will be responding soon. When they have the time I suspect! I’ve always been a champion for dialogue in our sector. I believe that its important.
I see a lot of interesting dialogue on Volunteer Management in certain quarters right now and I’ve been observing some strong views over the last few months.
On I Volunteer (which has a link on this site) there has been some fascinating conversation.
Sue Jones, a training manager in Warrington UK has an excellent post there at the moment. In it she proclaims:
“And, when I say 'raise the profile' of the profession, what I really mean is that we are simply talking more about it. Whilst at first look, this might not seem like much, it's actually really important that we keep doing this - to one another, to our managers, to our colleagues, to our friend…
Sue Kobar is the Volunteer Services & Hospice Shop Operations Manager for Nurse Maude New Zealand. She is passionate about volunteerism and believes that volunteers are an integral part of an organisation. Her motto of “don’t ask someone to do something you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself’ has served her well over the past 25 years.
1.In 20 words or less describe/define Volunteer Management
Volunteer management is the unique ability to motivate people to donate their time to be of service to others.
2.What are the 3 main differences between Volunteer Management and Human Resource Management?
Do you mean other than the huge pay discrepancy! Human Resources Management is very structured and HR staff tends to work in a black or white environment. Whereas Managers of volunteers tend to create volunteer opportunities where needed and work in all shades of grey. Both provide staffing (paid or unpaid) assistance, guidance, advice and support across an organisation.
I’ve been writing on Volunteer Management for some 15 months now. I’ve been a Volunteer Manager for 14 years. Hard to believe that after all this time I’ve only discovered on the world wide web some definitions on Volunteer Management and some tips as well!
My enlightenment comes from Idealists.org. I’m not too sure how long this piece or page for Volunteer Management has been there
Let me share some of what I have found. My commentary will be in brackets
What is Volunteer Management?
“Volunteer management is, at its core, selecting and supervising volunteers. Yet it is also much more than that. (Phew…I am so glad you added this part) Volunteer management is a key position in the leveraging of an organization’s resources, on par with fundraising/development and human resources. (Kinda, I would have said on par with any management position in your organisation)
Volunteer management is the gateway to the community, providing citizens with opportunities to become more involved in loca…
There is a bit of fun in being a blogger. Indeed, if it were devoid of fun I wouldn’t be doing it. And sometimes it has felt that way , albeit briefly. I am fascinated by who is reading what and where they are coming from. To me, the snapshot of volunteerism and those who manage volunteers can be encapsulated in the little blog that I write.
I have to give thanks to two companies that enable me to look at what is happening with my blog - Statcounter and Blogger
Statcounter is A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. StatCounter is a web traffic analysis tool. Access to basic services is free and advanced services can cost between $9 and $119 a month The company is based in Dublin.
I love their work!
Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was created by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. Generally, the blogs are hosted by Google at a sub…
I have to say I am humbled by this figure. After all this blog is just the musing of a Volunteer Manager on matters pertaining to our volunteerism sector. And its just been going for 15 months.
So I’ve nothing to gain or lose from the amount of visitors. If I had reached 400 views after the same amount of time I’d probably be posting this blog in a similar vein.
I do this blogging for a number of reasons but have to admit that I do it primarily because I enjoy writing. My passion for Volunteer Management therefore is a direct beneficiary of this enjoyment!
I continue to remain blown away that 18,300 individual people around the globe have read some of my blogs!
Its takes a lot for people to respond to postings. I realise this now. So I salute those who respond to posts. But I also salute those of you who read my musings on Volunteer Management and Volunteerism.
The Tasty Volunteer Manager: Volunteer Management Master Chef – Part One
Yep it’s been done the death in many areas but here I will attempt to cook my very own successful and effective Volunteer Management dish using ingredients I have used over the years. It’s based on personal experience. You may not like the taste and you may have different ingredients. Fair enough – After all we choose the cookbooks or chefs we feel work best for us. This has worked for me. Enjoy!
Take one person
Some of you may and will baulk at this already. Some will frown on this ingredient immediately. Many of our sector will resist the word “nice” because of perceived negative connotations in regards to volunteering. I get that. Nothing worse than an organisation thinking volunteers are “nice but not necessary” for example. And how many of you when asked your occupation get the delayed response of “that’s nice”. It sounds a little condescending but maybe it’s not such a bad thing in today’s worl…
Sue Hine in a response to one of my blogs lately stated “Why do so many of us undervalue the work we do, and thereby the work of volunteers??”
Do you make that connection? Can it be possible if we don’t value our own roles that we don’t value the role of volunteers?
Who can this question pertain to?
Surely not, Surely the one and only truism in our sector is the value we place on volunteers? If this is not the case then our management sector has no hope. No future. True?
Those that value volunteers value Volunteer Management right? Makes sense yes? Take out the value in one and you erase the value in the other. Right?
Peak bodies on volunteering?
They celebrate volunteerism thus they celebrate effective Volunteer Management right? Makes sense to me. They do this by celebrating IVMD, by having Volunteer Management people on their boards, by taking an active interest in our sector by consultation, by inviting V…
I’ve had some fantastic replies to my 10 questions on Volunteer Management. All are published here and I’ve had quite a few comments to my email as well that are unpublished as requested. Whatever one may say about the questions themselves there does seem to be a chord that is being struck! And I thank everyone who has responded thus far!
I talk about a narrative in Volunteer Management. What do I mean?
Wikipedia says – “For general purposes in semiotics and literary theory, a "narrative" is a story or part of a story. It may be spoken, written or imagined, and it will have one or more points of view representing some or all of the participants or observers. In stories told orally, there is a person telling the story, a narrator whom the audience can see and/or hear, who adds layers of meaning to the text non-verbally. The narrator also has the opportunity to monitor the audience's response to the story and modify the manner of the telling to clarify content or enhance…
Wendy Moore is a Volunteer Coordinator in Brisbane, Australia. She has a background in many fields including IT, administration, sales and marketing.
1.In 20 words or less describe/define Volunteer Management
Volunteer Management involves the creative, development of programs which utilize the skills of volunteers to meet a community need.
2.What are the 3 main differences between Volunteer Management and Human Resource Management?
Managing volunteers is different from managing paid staff because their motivation is different. Volunteer Managers need to have
•Flexibility to include into programs, volunteers with differing levels of commitment.
•Adaptability to change within a dynamic and unpredictable environment.
•Emotional energy to support and encourage volunteers.
3.Where is the current leadership evident in Volunteer Management?
There are leaders of Volunteer Management around the globe who share their knowledge and insights on websites, blogs and forums. There are others who hav…