Showing posts from August, 2011



Repetitive signals going to Volunteers on Mars

I’ve been writing on Volunteer Management for some 15 months now. I’ve been a Volunteer Manager for 14 years. Hard to believe that after all this time I’ve only discovered on the world wide web some definitions on Volunteer Management and some tips as well!

My enlightenment comes from I’m not too sure how long this piece or page for Volunteer Management has been there

Let me share some of what I have found. My commentary will be in brackets
What is Volunteer Management?

“Volunteer management is, at its core, selecting and supervising volunteers. Yet it is also much more than that. (Phew…I am so glad you added this part) Volunteer management is a key position in the leveraging of an organization’s resources, on par with fundraising/development and human resources. (Kinda, I would have said on par with any management position in your organisation)

Volunteer management is the gateway to the community, providing citizens with opportunities to become more involved in loca…

A blog snapshot

There is a bit of fun in being a blogger. Indeed, if it were devoid of fun I wouldn’t be doing it. And sometimes it has felt that way , albeit briefly. I am fascinated by who is reading what and where they are coming from. To me, the snapshot of volunteerism and those who manage volunteers can be encapsulated in the little blog that I write.

I have to give thanks to two companies that enable me to look at what is happening with my blog - Statcounter and Blogger

Statcounter is A free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. StatCounter is a web traffic analysis tool. Access to basic services is free and advanced services can cost between $9 and $119 a month The company is based in Dublin.

I love their work!

Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries. It was created by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. Generally, the blogs are hosted by Google at a sub…

40,000 Thanks

This blog recently passed 40,000 page views.

I have to say I am humbled by this figure. After all this blog is just the musing of a Volunteer Manager on matters pertaining to our volunteerism sector. And its just been going for 15 months.

So I’ve nothing to gain or lose from the amount of visitors. If I had reached 400 views after the same amount of time I’d probably be posting this blog in a similar vein.

I do this blogging for a number of reasons but have to admit that I do it primarily because I enjoy writing. My passion for Volunteer Management therefore is a direct beneficiary of this enjoyment!

I continue to remain blown away that 18,300 individual people around the globe have read some of my blogs!

Its takes a lot for people to respond to postings. I realise this now. So I salute those who respond to posts. But I also salute those of you who read my musings on Volunteer Management and Volunteerism.

Thanks for being part of my journey.


A Tasty Dish in Volunteer Management Part 1

The Tasty Volunteer Manager: Volunteer Management Master Chef – Part One

Yep it’s been done the death in many areas but here I will attempt to cook my very own successful and effective Volunteer Management dish using ingredients I have used over the years. It’s based on personal experience. You may not like the taste and you may have different ingredients. Fair enough – After all we choose the cookbooks or chefs we feel work best for us. This has worked for me. Enjoy!

Take one person



Some of you may and will baulk at this already. Some will frown on this ingredient immediately. Many of our sector will resist the word “nice” because of perceived negative connotations in regards to volunteering. I get that. Nothing worse than an organisation thinking volunteers are “nice but not necessary” for example. And how many of you when asked your occupation get the delayed response of “that’s nice”. It sounds a little condescending but maybe it’s not such a bad thing in today’s worl…

It makes perfect senses yes? How you see Volunteer Management is how you see Volunteers?

Do you give credence to this statement?

Sue Hine in a response to one of my blogs lately stated “Why do so many of us undervalue the work we do, and thereby the work of volunteers??”

Do you make that connection? Can it be possible if we don’t value our own roles that we don’t value the role of volunteers?

Who can this question pertain to?

Volunteer Managers?

Surely not, Surely the one and only truism in our sector is the value we place on volunteers? If this is not the case then our management sector has no hope. No future. True?


Those that value volunteers value Volunteer Management right? Makes sense yes? Take out the value in one and you erase the value in the other. Right?
Peak bodies on volunteering?

They celebrate volunteerism thus they celebrate effective Volunteer Management right? Makes sense to me. They do this by celebrating IVMD, by having Volunteer Management people on their boards, by taking an active interest in our sector by consultation, by inviting V…

Fantastic insights into Volunteer Management

I’ve had some fantastic replies to my 10 questions on Volunteer Management. All are published here and I’ve had quite a few comments to my email as well that are unpublished as requested. Whatever one may say about the questions themselves there does seem to be a chord that is being struck! And I thank everyone who has responded thus far!

I talk about a narrative in Volunteer Management. What do I mean?

Wikipedia says – “For general purposes in semiotics and literary theory, a "narrative" is a story or part of a story. It may be spoken, written or imagined, and it will have one or more points of view representing some or all of the participants or observers. In stories told orally, there is a person telling the story, a narrator whom the audience can see and/or hear, who adds layers of meaning to the text non-verbally. The narrator also has the opportunity to monitor the audience's response to the story and modify the manner of the telling to clarify content or enhance…

10 more insights

Wendy Moore is a Volunteer Coordinator in Brisbane, Australia. She has a background in many fields including IT, administration, sales and marketing.

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

Volunteer Management involves the creative, development of programs which utilize the skills of volunteers to meet a community need.

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

Managing volunteers is different from managing paid staff because their motivation is different. Volunteer Managers need to have
•Flexibility to include into programs, volunteers with differing levels of commitment.
•Adaptability to change within a dynamic and unpredictable environment.
•Emotional energy to support and encourage volunteers.

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

There are leaders of Volunteer Management around the globe who share their knowledge and insights on websites, blogs and forums. There are others who hav…

10 answers from Sue Hine.

Sue Hine, from New Zealand has been been engaged with community organisations for more than 40 years, as a trainer, facilitator and clinical supervisor, and a volunteer in all sorts of roles. Sue is an independent advocate and also a member of the Managing Volunteers Development Project, sponsored by Volunteering NZ.

Sue informs me that she has been reading too much political philosophy this year, but manages to keep in touch with management of volunteers through tutoring and mentoring individuals and groups.

Now over to Sue!

Each question deserves a full-blown research thesis. I am very reluctant to confine 'management of volunteers' into neat sound-bytes or 50-word statements. We deserve more, and we need to do more than achieve a once-over-lightly item on the news agenda. I understand your motivation to get a narrative on volunteering and management of volunteers going, but I am not confident your methodology will achieve your intentions.

In my irregular following of int…

A view from Warrington and Volunteer Management Champions!

Hi DJ,

I have responded to your 10 questions as below, and am also encouraging my Volunteer Management Champions (VMC) group to respond individually – it might take a week or two though as lots of people are on leave currently here!

Liked this piece a lot and it really got me thinking, so well done for asking such insightful questions. The idea behind the VMC work is to encourage some new and different voices from the field of VM, in order to add to the existing leaders, writers and speakers out there such as yourself. I do believe that the more VMs that contribute to the debates – especially those who are really doing it, because it’s a long time since I managed volunteers directly and my role as a trainer and coach is as an enabler – the more we can raise the profile of the role and really make a noise about the important stuff.

We are running a series of webinars to link with this work and as part of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 which you may have seen advertised via i…

The dialogue continues on the 10 questions – thanks Lynn!

Lynne Dalton is the CEO of the Centre of Volunteering in New South Wales Australia

Lynne has over 25 years experience in the community sector. Most recently Lynne worked with the NSW Department of Family Services and Community Services on capacity building projects. Between 1983 and 1995 Lynne was the Director of the Community Action Network Ltd, a non-profit organisation providing community services in areas such as Children, Family Support, Volunteering, Youth Services, Disability Services, and Multi-Cultural Services. Lynne holds a degree in Social Science and was previously a Board member of The Centre for eight years.

Here are Lynnes responses to my "great 10 questions" on volunteerism.

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

Volunteer Management is the overt acknowledgement of the intrinsic value of volunteers to an organisation.

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

•Recognising and therefore co…

John Ramsey Continues the narrative on the "10 great questions"

John Ramsey is a Volunteer Manager and has served as the Chair of the Association of Volunteer Managers, Head of Volunteering at Citizens Advice , Chief Executive at Student Volunteering England and Head of Information at Student Volunteering England.

Here is his reponse to the "10 great questions"

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

Getting the best out of volunteers for our beneficiaries, our organisation, our community and our volunteers

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

Legally – at least in England. Volunteers have no definition within employment legislation therefore there has been plenty of case-law about how you separate volunteers from employees.

Culturally – Volunteer Management requires a different mind-set to paid staff management. It is easy to be a lazy or incompetent manager of paid staff as people need jobs. A lazy or incompetent Volunteer Manager will quickly find they have …

More Response to "The Great 10 Questions"

"Rob Jackson is one of the leading authorities on volunteering in the world. His standing is based on an impressive mix of the practical and strategic. For much of his career he has been involved at the coalface of volunteer management." - Dr Justin Davis Smith, Chief Executive,Volunteering England

In April 2011 Rob left Volunteering England and founded Rob Jackson Consulting.Rob has written, spoken and trained on volunteer programme management internationally for nearly twenty years.

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

Volunteer leadership and management is about engaging and inspiring people to bring about change.

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

HR management, in my experience, is largely about compliance, making sure managers and staff follow set policies & process. It is about ensuring a paid workforce is managed by the rules, reducing the risk and liability to an employer of being…

First Response to “The Great 10 Questions” – Martin J Cowling

A big thank you to Martin J Cowling CEO at People First Total Solutions for being the first to respond to my “great 10 questions” in Volunteer Management.

Martin is a Leading Consultant on People issues in the Community and Non Profit Sectors. Blogger, consultant, trainer and world traveler Martin has a passion for people, volunteerism and Volunteer Management.

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

Volunteer management is the process of engaging members of the community in achieving a common mission.

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

Volunteer Management needs to incorporate good HR practices along with community development and what I call an entrepreneurial view of the world. The error in imposing a solely HR model on volunteer management is that the fundamental relationship between employees and employer is legally, morally and socially different to that of a volunteer and an agency. However failing …