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Showing posts from October, 2011

Where are the Fireworks on International Volunteer Managers Day?

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Sue Hines writes an interesting piece on International Volunteer Managers Day in her latest blog. The link to Sues Blogsite can be found on the right!

The view that there will be noise all round the world to celebrate the day is one, alas, I cannot share.

The problem, as I see it, with IVMD is that it is being smothered with niceness and tarnished with insignificance.

Years ago I had an issue with a well known speaker on volunteerism who basically stated the day was cringe worthy and had no time for volunteer managers patting themselves on the back. I disagreed vehemently then.

I am not so sure now.

My belief in the day and its purpose has not wavered. I am not too sure that people understand what the day is about. If small pockets of volunteer managers throughout the globe meet for tea and cakes and do nothing more for the sector itself then how is this “education through celebration”

I saw someone writing on the IVMD Facebook page that they were going to get a few Volunteer Manag…

How happy and fulfilled are you in Volunteer Management?

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How happy and fulfilled are you at work?

Now there’s a question that may well stop you in your track. Because, let’s face it, in your busy role when was the last time you were asked that question? Have you been asked that as part of your own annual performance evaluation? Or is it a question you regularly ask yourself?
This train of thought arises from some info I’ve come across on the net. I am grateful that we live in an age where a vast amount of knowledge and information is available. In terms of volunteer management I sometimes think that we are guilty off seeking guidance or leadership from a narrow silo. That is to say that we seem to lack the courage and conviction to look outside our sector at generic leadership and management philosophy. We sometimes tend to think that Volunteer Management is so unique and different that we can’t learn from others.

Of course Volunteer management is different and unique…but I do belive we can learn from othert sectors as they can learn from …

Be who you must be

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I’ve had a recent period of mental blockage followed by self reflection. I rewrote that first line and added mental. Attempts at humour are still there.



I like to write on volunteer management issues but recently I’ve suffered writers block. I would sit in front of the keyboard and stare at the blank screen. But nothing came. “What gives” I thought. Had I run out of things to write about? Had I said all that needs to be said on Volunteer Management?



I love Volunteer Management and I enjoy writing. Here I was fusing two passions.

So during my moments of writers block I had many competing thoughts.



“What’s the purpose of it all?”



“Finish the blog and write on other things you are passionate about”



“ write that book that’s in you and bursting to get out” That’s the espionage thriller about the secret agent posing as a Volunteer Manager who thwarts the alien takeover at the White House!



And then just as I was tiring of staring at a blank screen and as my bored fingers were getting fi…

Erin Barnhart: "true facilitators of democratic action"

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Erin Barnhart is an internationally recognized expert in domestic and international service and volunteer engagement. She has been quoted by such media sources as CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, New York Post, The Boston Globe, Smart Money, Marie Claire, and Budget Travel and has developed and delivered effective engagement tools, trainings, and resources for volunteers, volunteer resource managers, and organizations worldwide.

An AmeriCorps*NCCC alum, Erin has an MPA in Public Policy and a Graduate Certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from the University of Oregon. Following completion of her Masters Degree, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Canada to study volunteer centers (PDF) in British Columbia and the Yukon. In 2005, Erin began work on a Ph.D., studying international civic engagement at Portland State University; she expects to complete her dissertation in 2011.

Here Erin has kindly taken the time to answer 10 questions of mine on Voluntee…

Somebody, nobody and Anybody in Volunteer Management

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I recently came across a great poem by someone called Charles Osgood

“There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who'll carry out the task?

Anybody could have told you that everybody knew
That this was something somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability.
But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.

It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done,
If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since everybody recognised that anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that somebody would.

But nobody told anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.

When what everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining …

"A very different philosophy of management is arising. We are moving beyond strategy to purpose; beyond structure to process, and beyond systems to people.... Asshole management is not inevitable."

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Sumantra Ghoshal, humanist management thinker, writer and academic, 1948-2004, who believed that management should be, above all else, a force for good!