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Sunday, June 3, 2012

GROW! 21 Modules for Volunteer Management Training

Over the last 12 months there has been some discussion on accreditation for the Volunteer Management sector and on the professionalization of Volunteer Management. In layman’s terms much of the discussion has been around what qualification people should have for entry into the field. Right now there is none. Despite our chatter within our echo chambers this remains the same. From my view I don’t feel much has been achieved as a result of some of the initiatives in VM circles as I don’t feel there was a great response to any online or website based forums or sites on the issue. One wonders where the lethargy stems from? But the reality remains that Volunteer Managers come from a variety of life experiences and I still see adds for the job that have the words “experience leading volunteers would be an advantage” as an afterthought. Not to mention the fact the “Mary from Finance” is still a popular choice to lead volunteers (see earlier post on Mary from Finance)


What is lacking beyond the social media chatter is the firm action of having effective and experienced Volunteer Managers across the globe collaborate on what a certificate/diploma/degree should look like.

I have done so many courses and workshops over the years that have served me so well in Volunteer Management. This combined with practical experience has given me the ability to lead with confidence, passion and belief in my own journey.

I believe that as a sector we need to lead in determining what type of education or course needs to be created to bring forth our future leaders of volunteers. We have a choice. We can sit back and accept what others decree is best for us or we can contribute to the discussion on what such training or education looks like. The latter is most important.

Peak bodies for volunteering may eventually come undone when they ignore the voice of those working at the coalface. It’s such an important voice.

So to start the ball rolling here are my thoughts on the skills I believe need to be inducted into any Volunteer Management course! And please, when and if you have the time, add yours!



1. Management and coordination

2. Conflict resolution

3. Recruitment

4. Interviewing

5. Marketing/media/PR

6. Event Management

7. Retention

8. Recognition

9. Task planning

10. Time management

11. Reflective Counselling

12. Listening

13. Empathy

14. Leadership

15. Grief counselling

16. Financial Management

17. Business development

18. Legal frameworks

19. Workplace diversity

20. Health and safety

21. Public speaking









7 comments:

  1. Great list, DJ. How about adding:
    1. Strategic planning
    2. Advocacy and persuation (for in-house proposals)
    3. Creativity and vision

    The last one is critical as it speaks to the essential element that makes volunteer management different from other forms of human resources work. We are asked to dream -- to see the potential in a problem and its solution -- to look for the best (and sometimes unexpected) resources/people to get involved.

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  2. Amazing list DJ! Strategic planning?

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  3. Wow Martin and Susan! Two people in two different places in the globe came up with "Strategic planning"! Great minds think alike! Let me remind readers that even though the posting times are different I get to vet the comments before they are published so both would have been unaware of each other’s comments!

    Strategic planning of course is a great addition though I wonder if that could have fallen under business Development.

    “Advocacy and persuasion” is a fantastic one Susan. In fact when I saw it I gave a Homer Simpson ‘D’oh!” because it is something I do all the time! Sometimes we might need to step back from our own roles to see the things we do well? Then again I wonder if it can be incorporated under number 5 “Marketing Media and PR”? And as any effective Marketing Manager would tell you their role also includes creativity and vision surely?

    Thank you Susan and Martin for giving some of your time in responding to this post. I hope that more people can add to the list. Who knows where it could lead to? After all I think that thoughts can become things!

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  4. Formidable DJ! My addition is related to Organisations. I am thinking of Organisation Development (a profession in itself), Organisation Change, Organisation Psychology (a fascinating course of study). And now your next step is to persuade a tertiary institution to take on your good ideas.

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  5. Great post DJ. I too have found that the combination of courses, workshops and seminars attended over the years, along with work experience, have provided me with a good skills set to confidently lead, encourage, engage and hopefully inspire others. Here are some other skills to add to your list from an operational perspective.

    • Customer Service
    • Written Communications eg., Report Writing, Speech Writing, Presentations
    • Running Meetings
    • Multitasking
    • Group Dynamics and Communication
    • Change Management
    • Networking
    • Team Building
    • Ethics
    • Succession Planning

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  6. Great list and comments so far!

    These may be ´sub-categories´of topics already mentioned, but I would possibly add the following:

    1. Volunteer policy development & enforcement
    2. Awareness (being able to ´read´ volunteers=
    3. Goal setting
    4. Assertiveness
    5. Delegation skills

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  7. I believe that as a sector we need to lead in determining what type of education or course needs to be created to bring forth our future leaders of volunteers. We have a choice. We can sit back and accept what others decree is best for us or we can contribute to the discussion on what such training or education event management looks like.

    ReplyDelete