Volunteer Management: Perhaps our greatest weakness is not realising our own power.
Power. – “The ability, strength, and capacity to do something - control and influence over other people and their actions” – The Encarta Dictionary.
Lord Acton wrote that power corrupts and I bet you never viewed Volunteer Management as a position of power. Power and Volunteer Management don’t seem to belong in the same sentence – don’t seem to be a natural fit. And good grief why would I be pitting them together when after all other word combinations seems to sit uncomfortably in our profession.
Career aspiration and Volunteer Management
Education pathway and Volunteer Management
Financial security and Volunteer Management
Consultancy and Volunteer Management
The above 4 are surely a blog for another day. If you have doubts on what I am saying or difficulty understanding just look at the combinations again and change Volunteer Management into Human Resource Management.
So basically there are positions or philosophical places or contemplations where Volunteer Management is a no go area in my view or an uncomfortable and unwelcome guest because some of us have tried to bring a few of these ideals together.
Take power and Volunteer Management. What power do you wield as a Volunteer Manager or Coordinator within your agency, your community and world?
Have you ever even contemplated this question?
If we follow assumed constraints this may seem like a silly question. Ken Blanchard author of the One Minute Manager wrote that “An assumed constraint is a belief you have , based on past experience, that limits your current and future experience.”
Looking at this statement - I believe that as a sector we don’t believe we have any power at all.
We are not consulted as a profession on a national or international level; if you think so – where I ask you? Please point out and I will publish here. There may be some positive things happening globally but nothing groundbreaking – Again, if you think so – where I ask you? Please point out and I will publish here.
When was the last time you ever saw an association for Volunteer Management exhibit or exercise power? Where? Anywhere in the globe?
Where is the evidence of our ability to act and speak with strength, our capacity to do something and control and influence other people?
Where are the voices then who challenge our consumed constraints? I hear individuals but not a collective organised voice.
I’ve always believed that in order to have a successful Volunteer Management sector we need to have a critical mass of successful Volunteer Managers driving the sector forward.
If the majority of us feel we don’t get what we deserve, or we are under recognized and under resourced or that nothing ever changes within our own organisations then how can we expect any advancement for our sector?
If we, as Volunteer Managers and Coordinators feel powerless at our workplaces then how can we expect our sector to influence anybody or anything?
Effective Volunteer Managers bring to organizations:
Knowledge of an amazing movement that Susan J Ellis calls People Raising (As opposed to Fundraising)
An enormous array of talent and skill given freely
A diversity of background, age, nationality, thought, belief, skills, and motivation
Priceless, yes Price less community buy in
And you, yes, you reading this, manage or coordinate this.
You cultivate the most amazing experiences and influence the lives of so many. Volunteers look to you if you are an effective leader. Other look to you for volunteering solutions. The community seeks you out for gateways to involvement. Society relies on your efforts for building.
You don’t acknowledge your power. It is time you did. And when you do…Lead others to the same belief. And lead some real collective action.
“The only way in which anyone can lead you is to restore to you the belief in your own guidance” – Henry Miller