Sunday, July 31, 2011

Volunteer Management - The Great 10 Questions

Over the next few months I plan on doing my own questionnaire on volunteerism and the Volunteer Management sector. I plan on asking people 10 questions.

The reasoning behind this is to encourage a narrative on volunteerism and the sector of Volunteer Management.

I have already sent emails to some leaders in volunteerism around the globe

It’s time we talked!

And I will publish all answers here.

These are not questions meant for only the ”leaders” in our field or the field of volunteering but for anyone interested in volunteerism.

Let’s talk

10 questions on Volunteerism

1.In 20 words or less describe/define Volunteer Management

2.What are the 3 main differences between Volunteer Management and Human Resource Management?

3.Where is the current leadership evident in Volunteer Management?

4.Finish this sentence in less than 50 words… An association in Volunteer Management should…

5.There have been many debates on the definition of volunteering itself. How would you define volunteering?

6.If you weren’t doing this what other profession would you have been interested in?

7.Who do you believe has been the most inspiring volunteer in history?

8.Where do you think social media can take volunteerism and Volunteer Management?

9.Does Government get volunteering? If not why not?

10.What would you like to achieve personally in the volunteerism world?

Post your answers as a reply here or email me on

Sunday, July 17, 2011

STOP PRESS: Volunteerism Gazette latest Controversial article on Volunteer Management

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit - Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

July 2013
By Don J Volau
Article Copyright of Volunteerism Gazette

There has been some debate on some forums internationally on qualifications and credentialing for the Volunteer Management sector. Don J Volau, Editor at Large of Volunteerism Gazette spoke to some Volunteer Managers across the world on their views. All asked to remain anonymous. Paul from Sheffield was asked to remove his mask as this was an online piece and not audio visual.

Paul from Sheffield:

“I decided not to enter the debate. I was going to argue with some people but then I thought people might get personal and I was scared. I thought to myself – How do we define success in Volunteer Management – well after seeing recent debate and reaction I’ve come to the conclusion that the road to Volunteer Management success is under construction”

Anita Sanita, a volunteer coordinator from Banita in the republic of Salamanita stated that she had no intention of entering the debate. Speaking on complete Anonymity (Doh!) Anita told Volunteerism Gazette that “ Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt – so that is why I won’t say a thing!”

Cary O Leary from Tipperary however took a different more reactive view –“Some people say "If you can't beat them, join them". I say "If you can't beat them, beat them", because they will be expecting you to join them, so you will have the element of surprise.”

Errol Flynn Magnum Columbo, President of the International Association of Volunteer Management and also President of the Famous movie and TV star Association said that the Volunteer Management sector must simply study and gain more knowledge “ Knowledge is power, and power corrupts. So study hard and be evil.” Because after all we must ask “How Many Roads Must our sector Walk Down Before we Admit we’re lost?

The last word goes to Wendy Bottoms, author of Bubbles in a Bath and president of IVEHADIT

“Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.”

©, Don J Volau
Volunteerism Gazette
July 2013
Volunteerism Gazette “The International Journal for Volunteerism ahead of its time”

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Any ideas for this IYV+10 global project?

Recently I received an interesting email from Anna Belousova who is an UNV Programme Officer with a United Nations Development Programme. I am very impressed with what she is trying to achieve and would like to share her story here in the hope that some reader might be able to assist. Please email Anna with any ideas and share here if you like.

"My name is Anna Belousova and I am contacting you for I ran into your blog while googling for any resources on children education on volunteering.

Here in Tajikistan we've got an interesting initiative going on by the virtually established Facebook group Beautiful Tajikistan, where very active and young citiznes organise some real-time volunteer events.

Recently they picked up on the idea of collecting drawing for the IYV+10 global project "Illustrating volunteerism by and for children". They would like to contribute to the latter by organising a one-day drawing contest for local children in the framework of educational event on what's volunteering and how everyone can contribute.

Considering the age of the children 4-11 years, we are now looking for any possible training modules, manual publised or even just a games aimed at introducing the concept to children.

Do you think you could share with me the experience you might have on this? Have you ever organised educational events of this kind for children yourself? Or, perhaps, could refer me to someone who did?

Thanks ahead of time for your consideration,"

Anna Belousova (Ms.)

UNV Programme Officer

United Nations Development Programme

39, Aini Street, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 734024


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Speak now, or forever hold your peace.

“Don’t wait for your ship to come in- swim out to meet it!”

I often bemoan the lack of response from the Volunteer Management sector to issues of the day.

I have to however distinguish between the effective Volunteer Manager and those who purport to represent my sector of professional Volunteer management. I speak here with an international tongue by the way and do not single out any national body.

Firstly, let’s take the Professional Volunteer Manager. We can have a complete book on what makes a professional and an effective one at that. there one?

Here’s the crux…doesn’t a Volunteer manager have every right to say that their sole brief is to manage effectively volunteers at their organisation? This encompasses the traits of effective management of volunteers which includes providing meaningful tasks, recognition, training, orientation, evaluation, etc. etc. etc. and there are so many etceteras in the job.

At the end of the day the Volunteer Manager Position Description does not normally include

• Must be an advocate of the Volunteer Management sector
• Must be an advocate of volunteers
• Must have volunteered within the last 12 months
• Must have volunteering experience
• Must demonstrate professional development in the field

It simply is not the case. No matter how many of us wish it was so.

What I will challenge however is those who purport to represent volunteer managers or the volunteerism sector. Namely

1. Associations for Volunteer Management
2. Peak bodies for volunteering

A malaise in the Volunteer management sector is connected to both the above

Associations for Volunteer Management are so silent I could nearly bet that there might be a whole range of people out there in Volunteer Management who don’t even know that these groups exist.
I keep hearing better things are on the way. What was that about cows coming home?

What is to be done?

In black and white here’s what our associations should be doing

1. They should represent their members. Definition of “Represent”: transitive verb to act or speak on behalf of somebody or something!
2. They do this by gauging their memberships thinking and then responding to any issues of the day.
3. They respond to every volunteerism issue and -Volunteer Management issue in every possible forum.
4. They LEAD “Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination”
5. They LEAD by being involved in decision making, by consulting with government and peak bodies for volunteering.
6. They demonstrate their leadership by being consulted by Government, peak bodies and media!
7. They make decisions that the rest would like to consult on
8. They have respect
9. They have earned that respect by their actions

None of this exists internationally in the volunteer management sector! If you can prove me wrong email me or post a comment here.

Oh yes – we may have some lovely thought bubbles. We may attend a retreat or conference where we have what is akin to a lovemaking afterglow that lasts for a few days.

But nothing much is happening. “We are what we repeatedly do”

Every time Volunteer management associations are mentioned for example their media expert should be responding. That’s one of the problems with professional associations-who amongst them have a media expert?

All of the above should apply to peak organisations for volunteering. But we have to start with our own Volunteer Management sector first.
Susan Ellis in her latest Hot Topic says “We have to aim much, much higher."

I have written on the Sound of Silence in our sector before. But now I ask:

Are there enough people out there who want to go in another direction? Who want to take the sector to higher places? Shall I invite you on a journey?
Lets create the future

I would love to hear your views

click on the title of this post for a great Youtube vid on leadership quotes and the quotes I use are credited there.

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