The sound of silence in Volunteer Management
***“And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence”
Martin J Cowling in his blog “The Cowling Report” asks “How do I get comments on my blog posts? I know people are reading them but I would love some comments here!” The irony here is there is no response to this blog so far. At the end of my post at least there will be one.
Sue Hine writes a great blog and is linked here.
A snippet from her blog:
“The worst indictment I have ever seen is the case of the Manager of Volunteers who ‘owns’ the volunteers. They are never ‘my’ volunteers, as I wrote in this blog months ago. Management of Volunteers is about running a service or programme for your organisation. What you do with volunteers in all the training and support and communication and relationship stuff is Leadership (another story, another time).
If you don’t get this, then you get the kind of stand-off between staff and volunteers that can lead to a (metaphoric) pistols-at-dawn shoot-out.”
I commented on this blog. But there has been nothing else.
Andy Fryar is the Founder and Director of OzVPM - a resource, consultancy and training company specializing in volunteerism - particularly as it relates to the Australasian region.
Andy is a past President of Volunteering Australia (2002 - 2004). He is also a past Board member of Volunteering South Australia (1996 - 2003), serving as Chairperson for a total of 5 years. In 1998, he was responsible for convening the working party that evolved into AAVA - the Australasian Association for Volunteer Administrators – the Australasian region’s first and only professional association for volunteer managers.
I mention the above because his is a voice that matters.
In His current Hot Topic on his site Andy writes
“In short - break your inertia and voice your opinion. If we as a volunteer management community are not speaking up on behalf of our sector as these new initiatives start to be discussed and implemented, you can certainly guarantee no-one else will speak up on our behalf ...and at the end of the day, when we all begin to cry foul, the government will simply say 'we consulted and no-one said a thing!'
So let's hear from you
•What trends have you noticed that we should be addressing?
•Do you have tips about how to get active?
•Any ideas how we encourage each other to become more active?
•What role should our peak bodies play in all of this?
•What are YOU going to do? “
There has been absolutely no response to this article as I write.
The OZVPM Newsgroup site states
“OzVPM is a moderated forum where you can ask questions, share resources and get into some healthy debate so that we might progress volunteerism in Australia, New Zealand and right throughout the broader Australasian region together!
A recent posting reported:
“QUEENSLAND'S peak volunteer organisation says the vast majority of people who registered to help clean up following the floods and cyclone Yasi backed off at the last minute.
Volunteering Queensland's submission to the Queensland Floods Commission of
Inquiry also found that 30 per cent of callers were people in distress who
needed to "chat" and weren't in a state to volunteer.
After a huge spontaneous surge in people coming forward to volunteer following the disasters, most opted out when it came to getting their hands dirty, the submission showed.”
There was very little comment from the Volunteer management community on this. Why is that? Shouldn’t we have something to contribute?
As much as I am a huge fan of The Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management I have to say I am eternally disappointed by the invitation-only Retreat graduate online community “not just 50-not just 3”
How about “Not just working – not just talking”
Apart from talking about the next retreat or a few weeks of excitement after a retreat this narrative becomes non existent and its facilitation needs to be really reviewed and examined. So there’s a challenge for the Retreat in NZ!
Let’s move on to e – volunteerism. Are the editors happy with the amount of responses to their articles even though they have revamped their site?
I regularly read this fine journal. I am disappointed by so little comment on it.
13 years ago…yes…13…Susan J Ellis wrote “My reputation for nagging people to WRITE about what they do is probably unparalleled. But too many of us are so busy "doing" that we won't make time for reflection, new learning, and sharing with others. True professionals keep themselves informed. And career ladders are built by gaining recognition through published articles.”
Have we moved on since then?
A whole article could be written on why our sector is so quiet on matters pertaining to their profession.
We’ve heard it all before
•Not my role or job
•Not interested in the politics
•Not sure what you’re talking about in the first place
•Were not a sector anyway
•It’s about volunteers not us
Jayne Cravens writes a fantastic blog.Check out the link. Many read. Few respond.
And you know what? I get the lurkers. Those who read articles and don’t respond and are volunteer coordinators or managers. Many just want to look after the world that they inhabit – their organisational needs. They may not believe that the bigger picture of sector development merits their contribution. And they get alot from those who do post.
But of all the non respondents the most who disappoint me are some of the major stakeholders in volunteerism:
•the organisations that engage volunteers
•the professional associations of volunteer managaement
•the peak bodies for volunteering
It beggars belief that there is not more of a coherent narrative between these parties on Volunteerism and Volunteer Management.
It is a constant source of disappointment to me that people, involved in these arenas are refusing or not willing to be invloved in the forums, Hot Topics or discussions that some are trying to foster for the development of our various sectors.
Board members from every association of volunteer management globally should be seen…and heard.
Peak bodies for volunteering must have members of their organisations involved in Volunteer Management forums so that they can respond to ongoing discussion.
The fact that they are not or are not seen to be is simply poor performance in this day and age.
More people must have more input and views on the whole volunteerism sector
Petty politics must be put aside. No one owns volunteering.
Volunteering demands and deserves better.
And for that to happen the relative silence needs to end.
"Fools said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you.
But my words like silent raindrops fell,
In the wells of silence"
***Source More lyrics: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/simon+and+garfunkel/#share