A keen follower of volunteering I’ve been watching how the media. Government and society in general have been reacting to National Volunteer week 2012 in Australia.
I worry a little about the message. If the sectors greatest claim to fame is the fact that we contribute x amount of millions in unpaid labor then I think that we lose the message and the philosophy of volunteering.
I’ve seen a few speeches on volunteering this week. A few speeches from Politicians. Now folks, whether you like it or not politicians matter! And they have been referring a bit about “unpaid labor’! Now, I know I may stir some debate here but I for one do not equate volunteering to “unpaid labor” For if we do this then we devalue the concept of volunteerism to a method of getting stuff done without a cost hourly value! I put it in those terms even though I believe that effective volunteering does come with a cost. That is to say money for resourcing volunteer programs due to staffing, effective volunteer management, training, orientation, etc etc.
It annoys me that Government can say we save x amount of billions because of volunteers and don’t go on to show us how a few million can be spent resourcing effective volunteer management!
This is just my little “say” during National Volunteer week. The only way I can have this say is because I have my own blog and can say these things. A national organisation on volunteering should have a forum on encouraging feedback. I personally don’t believe we have that in Australia. If National Volunteer Week can gift us something it should be a forum where volunteers, managers of volunteers, resource centers, consultants and the peak body get together and talk about what volunteering means in 2012!
Perhaps we can aim for this in 2013!