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

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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

Add

Niceness

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 world.

Someone said once that nice guys finish last. Perhaps that’s why there are so few men in Volunteer Management! I say that with a wink a nudge. After all to counter this Addison Walker said “It's not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game even starts.”

In this day and age is niceness an attribute that is valued at the workplace? It should be in Volunteer Management.

“Oh what do you mean by nice” people will say. Of course.

I have to spell it out because some people will say I can be a great professional…but I don’t have to be nice.

Not in our profession I say.

Nice is made up of a few ingredients. This is handy for our MasterChef – having one ingredient made up of many

Nice consists of :
Courtesy
Empathy
Gentleness
Compassion
Friendliness
Patience
Tolerance

There you have it. My definition of Nice. My first ingredient. If it’s not in our dish then I believe the dish will end up with a foul taste! And I have heard of this taste anecdotally!

Our next ingredient will be advanced communication skills

Come back here for the next blog to see how that tastes!

Here’s a preview

“Advanced can be a word loosely used these days. However the communication skills of a Volunteer Manager need to be highly developed in my opinion in order to deal with a wide range of stakeholders critical to the success of any effective Volunteer program. It’s amazing the amount of people we need to be dealing and communicating with effectively – often far more than any other management profession. If we don’t include this ingredient – our dish is in serious trouble!”

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