Monday, January 3, 2011

Hopes and wishes for our sector for 2011 (Guest Post)

Wendy Moore, a Volunteer coordinator from Brisbane Australia responded to my previous blog on keeping an eye on 2011. She responded to my challenge where I asked people to let me know what they would see as real outcomes from the years. Wendy’s response was too long to fit into one reply post so I’ve reposted the whole reply here.

Thank you DJ for throwing down the gauntlet and challenging us yet again to relook at our sector. Perhaps now that many of us have had a short break over Christmas and New Year we can look at 2011 with refreshed eyes and renewed vision.

“Can you start my blog off for this year by telling me what you would see as some real outcomes for our sector in 2011 and how that might be achieved?”

This is a big question and while some in our sector are very happy to move the sector forward there are others who are quite content to stay with the status quo.

So I ask you, are we as a sector so afraid of offending people, by being outspoken, that we don’t say anything at all, lest we cause discomfort to others. Or have we had occasions where we have put forward ideas during healthy debates, only to be accused by critics, of stifling debate, when we dared to put forward an opinion just as these critics themselves had done?

While for me 2010 was fraught with personal challenges and tragedy it was also a time for growth, both professionally and personally. On a professional level I attended the Advanced Retreat for Volunteer Managers and also participated in hot topics and online forums including IBM Service Jam, a global interchange of ideas amongst 14,000 participants. I wait in eager anticipation for the publishing of the White Paper to see if it mentions anything about Volunteer Management. On a personal level I have become more confident in my abilities and strengths through meeting challenges head on.

I know that I have had a tendency to over-think things and have been in danger of producing articles that were the same old rehashed bland rhetoric. A colleague recently pointed out that rather than writing about what I thought people in the sector would want to hear, write about what I wanted to say, talk about the things that I was passionate about. This struck a chord with me and so my own challenge in 2011 is to be more outspoken on the issues that I am passionate about and to take those issues to a new level where I may be able to influence the sector as a whole.

So in answer to your question DJ, my response is as follows

Real Outcomes

Greater global awareness of the Volunteer Management sector
Education about the existence and the role of Volunteer Managers to the general community
Greater liaison with other Management groups in other fields
More professional networking opportunities within our own sector
More Leaders in Volunteer Management

How outcomes might be achieved
1.We have made a start in 2010 by participating in IBM Service Jam where volunteer managers participated in a global exchange of ideas. The White Paper will be the litmus test for the impact that volunteer managers made to the discussion. I would suggest seeking out more opportunities like this where our sector can participate in global forums.

2.“Shamelessly self promote” this was a motto in the very competitive promotions business in which I once worked. It also rings true for our sector. If we don’t promote ourselves, who is going to know, we exist? Rather than just answering”I am a volunteer manager” to the question “What job do you do?”I would suggest we use every opportunity to tell people what we really do and dispel the “how nice” response which generally follows our usual answer.

3.While volunteer management encompasses skills which are unique to managing volunteers there are other skills and ideas which are common across management in general. We as individuals could seek out opportunities to gain skills and ideas from management groups such as the Australian Institute of Management and by attendance and networking also promote our sector to managers in other fields who may have been previously unaware of our existence.

4.I would suggest that we seize opportunities to form or build upon networks, both online and face to face where we can exchange ideas and develop strategies as a group to promote our sector in a unified voice.

5.We need to empower ourselves by becoming Leaders in our field. To achieve this we need to seize any opportunity to participate in leadership forums, conferences, workshops, retreats and courses.

I leave you with a segment of the lyrics of a popular song, which I thought had particular relevance

“I get knocked down. But I get up again. You're never going to keep me down.”
Chumbawamba - I Get Knocked Down

I wish everyone a very inspiring and successful 2011.


  1. Hey thanks for the guest post DJ. It was rather a lengthy comment I must admit. Hopefully lots more inspiring stuff to come during 2011.


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