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"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." ~William James

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A belief , a theory and an action in Volunteer Management


THE BELIEF

Robert Oxton Bolton once said that “A belief is not merely an idea that the mind possesses. It is an idea that possesses the mind.” You know how when some quotes just bounce off you without effect and some deeply resonate within your very being? The latter are rare occurrences but seem to be becoming more active in my life. Bolton’s quote truly resonates with me.

Here are my beliefs:

Volunteerism is an inspirational and powerful global movement

Leaders of volunteers have powerful and inspirational roles in society

As a sector we do not sell this message or worse – we do not believe it to be true.

THE THEORY

My belief has led me to develop a theory and it is this:

The level of support and recognition given to volunteer management is directly proportional to the level of support and recognition given to volunteers.


This can apply on many levels – Organisations, Community, Government and can even be applied to the volunteerism sector itself. To be sure, having to include the latter is indicative of where volunteer management sits as well as the current relationship between key players within volunteerism – clearly we should all be singing from the same page but we are not!

I believe that this theory has the power to challenge. I have seen volunteering itself receive so much lip service over the years in so many quarters.

“Volunteers are so important to us”

“We would not survive without volunteers”

“Where would we be without you”

And we hear these sentiments every now and then especially at times like a national week of volunteering or in the aftermath of an event that involved spontaneous volunteering on a grand scale or as part of a government initiative to increase volunteering dramatically.

My theory simply says – if you are serious about volunteering – you are serious about volunteer management and serious about supporting both. Because they are extensively linked.

THE ACTION

"Leadership is not magnetic personality--that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not 'making friends and influencing people'--that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations." So said Peter F Drucker.

As an individual Volunteer manager this is what I do in relation to the sector I work within:

• Challenge the status quo
• Engage in critical thinking
• Challenge inertia and complacency
• Encourage debate and dialogue
• Encourage the emergence of leadership

I describe all of the above to demonstrate what I do as an individual. What I do as a volunteer manager is immensely rewarding. I love my job.
I believe I have had my successes.I hope to have more!

But I also believe that our sector is in dire need of a thought process that says “how do we go from success to significance”? I did a recent blog on the amazing speaker John Wood who spoke on such matters.

I am hoping that people who are successful in their roles of volunteer manager can step forward and be leaders in our sector.

Because we need leadership.

Your beliefs and theory’s are what we need at this time.

We need your actions.

Don’t be afraid to step up.

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