A view from Warrington and Volunteer Management Champions!
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-volunteer – (Rob J is hosting the first one on 17th August), and one of the themes will be to look at a kind of Volunteer Management manifesto – asking VMs what do you want? From support, from a national association, from each other, from the policy makers etc. I am aiming to encourage more thought and reflection about this stuff and for VMs to lead the discussion themselves with a view to feeding into the report I need to do at the end of this piece of work, but also to link with AVM here and to keep pushing these issues to the forefront.
1.In 20 words or less describe/define Volunteer Management
Balancing the needs of the organisation with the needs of the individual volunteer to create a harmonious and quality experience through effective leadership.
2.What are the 3 main differences between Volunteer Management and Human Resource Management?
The need to be continuously creative and work without a clearly defined legal framework. The basic fact that you are not dealing with paid staff, so in a sense- anything could happen.
3.Where is the current leadership evident in Volunteer Management?
I believe there are high profile examples internationally where there are individual trailblazers - writers, speakers and trainers etc who are inspirational in the way they seek to challenge and educate the VM community and volunteer involving organisations. There are also pockets of truly amazing leadership demonstrated across a wide range of organisations, usually which is unrecognised, even by those who are delivering it.
4.Finish this sentence in less than 50 words… An association in volunteer management should…
Listen, encourage, advocate, consult. Widen its reach and really understand what it means to represent those it seeks to. To ask insightful questions of itself, it's members and the policy makers of the day.
5.There have been many debates on the definition of volunteering itself. How would you define volunteering?
Giving time because you choose to, to something which provides a wider social or community benefit and which is important to you.
6.If you weren’t doing this what other profession would you have been interested in?
Dancer, actor, cake maker, milliner, stay at home mum.
7.Who do you believe has been the most inspiring volunteer in history?
I have absolutely no idea. I meet lots of inspirational people - usually they are the ones who don't realise it. Perhaps those who sometimes come back to the volunteer centre years after that initial 'match' and they tell you what they have achieved in their life as a result, how it made them feel and the impact the experience had on them and others.
8.Where do you think social media can take volunteerism and volunteer management?
If grasped positively and with a little thought as opposed to assumption, I believe it can connect the profession, both internationally and locally to develop a strong, clear, passionate voice so it can state what it wants and needs in a way that will be noticed. As a tool, it simply enhances and extends our reach to connect, to access resources and should enable individuals to feel supported and that they are part of something bigger and truly valuable.
9.Does Government get volunteering? If not why not?
Sometimes, but then they do what governments do and try and make things fit with their agenda instead of asking- what's working already? What needs to change? And, how can we help rather than hinder?
10.What would you like to achieve personally in the volunteerism world?
As a trainer and coach, I am here to support individuals to realise their potential and to support them to become the leaders in this field.