Wednesday, April 25, 2012

National Volunteer Weeks and 10 possible ways to make it an Every Day event!

National Volunteer Week (NVW) is coming up soon, in May, in Australia. The week is celebrated in many other countries at various times throughout the year.

 I’m an enormous fan of NVW. It furnishes us the opportunity to promote and recognise volunteering. It also gives us the opportunity to recruit more people to volunteering through education.

 In our echo chambers we all agree that these weeks are important. But are these proceedings having a truly imperative influence on volunteerism? Are we gaining what we should be gaining i.e. society buy in into the value of volunteering and thus more participation and support from the people that govern our societies? During volunteer weeks Volunteerism does seem to garnish some attention from Government and media. How do we ensure volunteering is being supported by society and Government all year round?

Here is my top ten wish list!

 1.Volunteer programs are adequately resourced by organizations

 2.Volunteers are treated as equal members of any organisational team

 3.Volunteers have meaningful work

4.Peak bodies for volunteers and resource centre’s are supported by society, corporations and government without losing an independent voice

 5.Peak bodies for volunteers are highly accountable to those in the volunteering sector and are transparent in their actions and governance

 6.Volunteer management is taken seriously and supported and resources are made available to ensure effective and professional volunteer management

 7.Volunteering remains fluid with many flavours and colours and remains unrestricted by dogma

8.The volunteering sector adapts to emerging trends with respect and flexibility.

 9.Open and free dialogue is encouraged bringing disparate views together to encourage the growth of volunteering with no one claiming ownership of ideas and ideals

 10.Volunteering is treated with respect.

 Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? I could write a few paragraphs under each point. How much of this wish list is true in your own experience?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Volunteer Management Pillow Talk

Today is International Pillow Day. I only know because I see the story about it on ABC News online in Australia. It’s also called International Pillow Fight Day.

From the International Awareness day website:

“I couldn't believe it when I heard ... that yes, International Pillow Fight Day really will be taking place!
The Urban Playground Movement has described public spaces in our cities as 'public living rooms'. Or I suppose, in this case, it would be bedrooms!
Lots of places around the world have had great fun getting involved with pillow fight day. See some absolutely fantastic pictures of the day taking place around the world - from Amsterdam, Budapest, to New York.
The basic idea is to get every major city in the world involved in this organised event! Flashmobs like this are getting more and more common, and I think its a great way to let loose amidst our often stressful working weeks!”

On the same site I searched “International Volunteer Managers Day”
I got the result “Sorry, no matches were found containing International Volunteer Managers Day”

So I googled “International Volunteers manager day” and I got 11,900 results. Not bad!

But when I googled “International Pillow Fight day” I got 392,000 hits! Just a difference of 380,000 or so!

Obviously IVMD needs more traction. More publicity. So here’s my suggestion. On November 5 we have an international collaboration where volunteer managers engage in a massive international pillow fight. We coordinate an event where we are pictured smashing each other or ourselves with pillows through social media. When people ask us why we say that we are unashamedly stealing another idea this year because we believe that IVMD deserves more attention. And as everyone else criticizes us for being unoriginal we gain some attention for our sector and for volunteerism!

That’s the start of getting some attention on IVMD. Then we look at ways of making the day more appealing. I love IVMD and have always supported the concept. But it needs to become more social media savvy! Because that’s the world we live in now.

I’m ready to play my part with a pillow on the next IVMD. But maybe beforehand we can come up with some stunt that we can call our own!

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