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Showing posts from January, 2011

First Class Volunteer Managers? Final comment on IAVE 2011

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So the IAVE conference is over for another year. Well done Singapore and Singapore’s National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre for holding the event. Kudos too to UBS for being a major sponsor. I am confident that there was some great dialogue re volunteering.

The event had a mixture of conference sessions, forums, and workshops. On the agenda were issues addressed by the UN Millennium Development Goals of poverty eradication, literacy, health, environmental sustainability, and other issues including, engaging the baby boomer generation, youth, religious bodies, leadership development, cross-cultural sensitivities, research into volunteer capital, risk management, episodic volunteering, large-scale events, humanitarian relief, and corporate volunteering.

I wasn’t able to attend this conference but I kept my eye on it as best I could through social media. As is my want I was keen to see what dialogue if any emerged on Volunteer Management. Ive only picked up bits and pieces. But I…

Keeping an eye out for Volunteer management at the IAVE Conference (2)

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Channelnewsasia.com reports


Mrs Tan Chee Koon, who is the Volunteer Chair of the 21st IAVE World Volunteer Conference Organising Committee, said: "It is no longer enough to look narrowly at volunteer management issues from recruitment to retention.

"We need to focus on leadership issues, strategic partnerships and emerging trends that impact volunteerism, amongst others. Volunteers are a national asset, and they should be cherished, nourished and recognised for their contributions in changing society, and therefore changing the world."

Keeping an eye out for Volunteer Management at the IAVE Conference (1)

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Mr Goh Chok Tong is a Senior Minister in Singapore. Mr Goh spoke at the opening plenary of the 21st International Association for Volunteer Effort World Volunteer Conference held at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore in front of an audience of about 1,000 people.

On volunteers in general, Mr Goh said that "continuously recruiting but not retaining volunteers is not a sustainable strategy".

He went on to say "Unfortunately, volunteer management is often neglected, and is considered secondary to serving clients. This is short-term thinking."

"We have to manage volunteers better so that they come back," Mr Goh said.

Well said Mr Goh! Long term thinking must incorporate effective and resourced volunteer management.

Jaynes Fight Club meets DJs Fright Club

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Here My reply to the latest blog from the Jayne Cravens

To see what got me going you have to check out this blog. Just click on the title of this blog here and you are there. Best to read Jaynes blog first.


Oh Jayne!! So Right so right.

I think I’ve been in the Fight club for awhile now. It would be nice to emerge from the underground. I’ve been saying this type of thing for years. Damn it, I’ve been fighting for volunteers within several organisations for years. With great results. I’ve been fighting for our teams to be seen by senior management and they are seen. I am beginning to fight for my time. Budget, resources, salary? Tick. Tick. Tick.
But my experience of the fight club has led me to discover another club. The Fright Club. You may have encountered it Jayne. Some within my own sector who deem me a trouble maker or full of hot air or “having an agenda”. Like hello? I do have an agenda…and it is set out in your fight club manifesto.

The Fright club consists of those withi…

This organisation has earned a star for excellence in Volunteer Management

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There’s been some talk from associations for Volunteer Managers on creating accreditation type programs for organisations. Accreditation is a good thing and many organizations in many industries rely on this process.

Sadly, it’s never gotten off the ground as far as volunteer management is concerned.

Wouldn’t it be great to see associations for volunteer managers adopt a system where they can say that an organisation is Association approved? And that approval will last 2 years.

Associations would develop a criteria and send a member annually to ascertain that criteria was being met…paid for of course by the organisation engaging volunteers.

What would be your criteria for an organisation to get the tick of approval from a national volunteer management association?

Some of my thoughts

•The Volunteer program receives an annual budget equitable to other programs within the organisation

•The Volunteer Manager sits in a position equitable to other management

•The organisational mission o…

The year of doing things differently

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“The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” ~Eric Hoffer

2011. Good grief. I don’t know about you but for me as a child growing up that seemed like a year of science fiction. I think as a 4 year old child in 1990 I would have had dreams of a world where……ok…there are some of you shouting…”hang on…this dude is older than 21. Alright! Alright! Allow me my fantasy.

Ok, as a child of the seventies I dreamt of space travel and meeting aliens by 2011. And here I am in the Volunteer Management sector so most dreams have been achieved.




Ok…lighten up. It’s been a heavy few weeks.

I think my blog will take a little lighter tone this year. By that I don’t mean funnier. I think the real me needs to come out in my writing. What does that mean? I think, in this stage of my evolution in my writing, there has been a little bit of worrying what some might think. There might have even been a bit of trying to please a certain audience…

A dedication to the Volunteers in Queensland - January 2011

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They never knew a smile was worth so much ‘till they saw yours
And when you reached out to them, they took hold
And with you they felt safe once again
One of many volunteer stories untold
I’ve seen the sun give birth to many mornings
But not like the miracle of today
As thousands of you braved the muck and stink
Shovels, gum boots, insect repellent spray
Heads down with ears thrown back
Mopping waters and tears that spill
No “yes we might” or “Yes we can”
But “Yes we bloody will! ”

Flood Disaster

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I haven’t blogged for awhile considering that I like to blog every week! My home city Brisbane and state Queensland in Australia has been devastated by floods. I am very lucky that the suburb where I and my family live, has escaped. The community here in Queensland are pulling together and are doing an amazing job to help their fellow citizens. The volunteering effort is huge and will grow.

The Queensland Government has launched an appeal to help fellow Queenslanders affected by the recent floods. Many communities have been devastated. Some families have lost everything. You can help make a difference by donating to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal.

At this time, the Queensland Government is inviting financial donations only. Unfortunately this appeal cannot accept donations of goods or services.

Donate online

Make a donation to the Premier’s Disaster relief appeal using a secure payment form.

Donate by phone

0600 – 2300 7 days on 1800 219 028

Donate by internet banking

The a…

How is Volunteer Management valued in your nation?

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For me it’s simple. Volunteer Management is valued when VMs are given the resources to manage and coordinate volunteer programs. VMs are recognized for their skills by being paid the wages professional managers deserve. VMs are recognised when the community, government, volunteer peak bodies and the private sector see the VM sector as real and professional. And they demonstrate this by consulting with the VM sector on matters of policy and on major decisions that will effect volunteering.

Here’s a question to ponder. What are the signs to watch for that demonstrate to you that Volunteer Management is beginning to be respected in your nation? How can you answer the following?

Do you have a strong professional association? Is it influential? Does it help shape national policy? Does it advocate on behalf of you? Does it have a voice that is heard by Government and is therefore frequently consulted? Is it in the public eye? Is it visual? Is it constantly commenting on all matters volunte…

The perception of volunteering and our role in maintaining or changing that.

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Once a month I stand before a room of new employees. My mission: to talk about a volunteering service and volunteering in general. Before I commence I ask them to close their eyes and in their minds picture a hospital volunteer. Every time (and I’ve done this now for a few years) I get the same general consensus. The same description. And it is this - an elderly lady in a pink pinafore. I then explain that we have valuable volunteers in a certain age bracket (what’s old anyway these day? I think the word itself is outdated and meaningless) and then I go on to explain the diverse nature of volunteering in terms of age and demographics. They are often amazed. “Young “people volunteer? Who knew? And no pink pinafore?? Thank heavens for small mercies.

I talk a great deal about echo chambers in my blogs. We talk amongst ourselves about new and emerging trends in volunteering. We marvel at the kaleidoscope of colour that is volunteering. We love the diversity of volunteering. But I still w…

IT’S ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER!.....yea but……..

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2011 marks the European year of volunteering.

I’ve been checking out the official website. I’m still searching the site for any mention or articles on the management of volunteers. I found one titled “The Value of Volunteer Management” but I didn’t think it really explored that.

Now some will say “It’s not about Volunteer Management it’s about volunteering”. If so, they miss my point and it is this.
Wherever volunteering is discussed Volunteer management needs to be on the agenda. It exists. Its important and in many organisations it’s the difference between an effective volunteer program and one that is disorganized and unappealing.

I don’t have to spell out here the importance of effective volunteer management. In our echo chambers we are aware of this. But we so need to escape our echo chambers and talk to people who make important decisions on volunteering about volunteer management.

Why are we content to be left behind or let out of the volunteering narrative?

Thanks Mammy

Well here’s something that you wouldn’t expect on my blog. And it’s something that I thought about briefly and knew immediately that I must do.

My mother just got online before Christmas. This wonderful woman who raised eight kids in tough times learnt all about computers from scratch. Because there never was a computer in our household. I have been away from Ireland for 15 years and have only returned twice. Once due to sad circumstances. Here’s to you Esther. I miss you.

So I wanted to indulge in some personal stuff here dear reader. And I know that you will allow me this one brief post to escape from the volunteer management theme.

Because I would not be where I am today without the support, guidance and love from the best mammy I know.

In Ireland we call our mums “mammy”.

My mammy let me know recently how proud she was of this blog and what I do.

This is my simple way of reaching across the thousands of miles publically and giving my mammy a big hug and saying thank you…for bei…

Hopes and wishes for our sector for 2011 (Guest Post)

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Wendy Moore, a Volunteer coordinator from Brisbane Australia responded to my previous blog on keeping an eye on 2011. She responded to my challenge where I asked people to let me know what they would see as real outcomes from the years. Wendy’s response was too long to fit into one reply post so I’ve reposted the whole reply here.


Thank you DJ for throwing down the gauntlet and challenging us yet again to relook at our sector. Perhaps now that many of us have had a short break over Christmas and New Year we can look at 2011 with refreshed eyes and renewed vision.

“Can you start my blog off for this year by telling me what you would see as some real outcomes for our sector in 2011 and how that might be achieved?”

This is a big question and while some in our sector are very happy to move the sector forward there are others who are quite content to stay with the status quo.

So I ask you, are we as a sector so afraid of offending people, by being outspoken, that we don’t say anything at …

Keeping an Eye on Volunteer Management in 2011

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Its 2011 and here is my first blog of the year. Happy New Year to those of you who’s New Year commences on January 1st.

For the Volunteer management sector I hope it’s a great one. I plan to keep an eye on happenings throughout the year and offer my own slant on things as well as engage in dialogue and debate about matters with people within the sector and with you the blog reader. Here’s some of the things I will be watching in no particular order

•Conferences: IAVE conference in Singapore this year – I will keep you up to date with what’s going on there

•New Zealand’s National conference on volunteering – it looks like a great line up of speakers and workshops, interesting topics and a good focus on leadership and volunteer management.

•The Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management will be held outside Australia for the first time ever. This year New Zealand will be hosting. No details yet realised by organizers. I hope to be there and report back, in fact live via daily blog

•It’…