Friday, January 28, 2011

First Class Volunteer Managers? Final comment on IAVE 2011

So the IAVE conference is over for another year. Well done Singapore and Singapore’s National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre for holding the event. Kudos too to UBS for being a major sponsor. I am confident that there was some great dialogue re volunteering.

The event had a mixture of conference sessions, forums, and workshops. On the agenda were issues addressed by the UN Millennium Development Goals of poverty eradication, literacy, health, environmental sustainability, and other issues including, engaging the baby boomer generation, youth, religious bodies, leadership development, cross-cultural sensitivities, research into volunteer capital, risk management, episodic volunteering, large-scale events, humanitarian relief, and corporate volunteering.

I wasn’t able to attend this conference but I kept my eye on it as best I could through social media. As is my want I was keen to see what dialogue if any emerged on Volunteer Management. Ive only picked up bits and pieces. But I’ve seen that in previous years the IAVE website has published details of workshops and keynotes so I’ll be keeping watch on what was said re Volunteer Management.

I do think they could have done better in communicating to those who didn’t make the conference via social media. Was there a Facebook page for the event? If so I missed it. Was there twitter updates? The National Conference in Australia did a great job for their most recent conference in keeping people updated on what was happening at the conference via Facebook and Twitter and through online news media organisations such as Pro Bono Australia. So if you werent there you felt part of the conference via social media.

I hope that the organizers for the Dublin event take note and decide to give more instant updates to the global audience who are interested but who can’t be there.

But back to the conference in Singapore. I, and other professionals in Volunteer Management would have been delighted to see that one strand of the conference concentrated on our profession. As the website stated

Track 5: Strategic Issues in Volunteer Management

Working with volunteers requires proper skills and professional training. With trained volunteer programme managers, we can see a greater impact through organised volunteering programmers. This forum will discuss strategic issues related to volunteer management and retention.


oChallenges in Volunteer Management
oGlobalization: Making it work

oMotivation, Retention and Service Satisfaction
oPolicy to Playground: Emerging Challenges of Volunteer Managers
oVolunteer Performance and Measuring Performance to meet expectations
oStrategic volunteer management: discover the steps in engaging today’s talent
oUnderstanding the role of life events in decisions to volunteer & The Psychology of Volunteering
oProfessionalizing the career of a First Class Volunteer Manager

Great stuff. And praise be where praise is due. I have often bemoaned the fact that Volunteer Management can be ignored when conferences on volunteering are held.

But now we need to examine what was presented in this Track 5 and what was said. So stay tuned as I try to source that important information. I am particularly interested in “Professionalizing the career of a First Class Volunteer Manager” AND “Policy to Playground: Emerging Challenges of Volunteer Managers"

So watch this space.

I am really interested to hear from the handful of Australians who attended this conference. Please share folks your experiences and insights and learning.

As a footnote I must add a comment that I received from another Volunteer Manager when I was talking excitedly about the fact that Volunteer Management was being talked about at this conference.

“Fair enough” they said ‘but I am a bit sick of all the talk – what exactly are the actions to advance and improve the profession?”. Brought me back down to earth a bit .

We want action not talk right?

But unless we are involved in the dialogue at a higher level then we have little hope of meaningful action I say.

First class Volunteer managers eh? Gosh – I can’t wait to read about that……………..


  1. Hi DJ

    I was lucky enough to be one of those who attended, with some trepidation, as I had never felt that my previous IAVE excursions (Canada '98 and India '01) had done VM any justice at all.

    Well I have to say that in the decade since my last attendance, the BIGGEST by far change that I noted was that volunteer management AND the need for Volunteer Infrastructure was being mentioned by almost every speaker I heard. IAVE folk, Ministers and other keynotes. You simply could not miss it.

    I agree there is a big difference between talk and action - but ten years ago there was not even the talk

    The VM stream was generally good. As with all conferences, there were some hits and some misses, but for the most part there were hits.

    I was certainly bouyed by what I saw in Singapore and look forward to Dublin!

  2. Thank you Andy for sharing some of your experiences of the conference with us.

    I would also like to point out to readers that Andy will be featured in e-volunteerism in March with a focus on the conference.

    As the journal states "Andy Fryar presents an audio interview from the conference with Laurence Lien, CEO of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre in Singapore. Fryar also provides a photographic montage of some of the conference highlights and also shares his own thoughts on the conference."


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