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Showing posts from March, 2012

The ART of paying volunteers!

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Volunteers are not paid in money. But we forget sometimes that one can pay in many ways. And there are some ways that volunteers must be paid!
Pay is an interesting word. You can be ‘Paid” to do something” You can “pay” a compliment. Sometimes when one seeks revenge they seek “payback”. In space travel we have a payload!

I believe that ART is the currency we should be using to pay volunteers

ART

Acknowledgement

Respect

Thanks

In My opinion these three words are interlinked and similar in some ways but are the key ingredients in how organisations, government, society and volunteer managers could treat volunteers.

It is too easy to stand up and make a speech during a National Volunteer week event or a volunteer’s function and say that volunteers are acknowledged, respected and thanked. And leave it at that. The problem that we may have with these types of events is that they can be conduits for flowery language on volunteer recognition. Volunteers will know though. Volunteers will see t…

We must write and tell the Volunteering story

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The volunteer that turns up during the flood or the disaster is to be commended. Their stories must be written, their bravery can be rewarded though they usually seek no such award. The Flood armies, the hurricane heroes, the storm saviors. The press loves them. Its good print. Good online material - good copy and a great grab on the TV news. And it brings the word “Volunteer” to the fore! Scenes of recent disasters over the last few years in Australia and New Zealand were heart wrenching. But hope and comfort was evident by the massive volunteering effort that touched us all. That touched humanity. And made it that little bit more hopeful.

But we must make the effort to remind society that volunteering is occurring 24/7.

They are on the streets for the homeless every day. They are on telephone lines 24 hours of the day providing counseling. They are turning up for shifts at hospitals every day; they are fundraising, advocating, protesting, and changing lives and society daily.

The…

Volunteer Recognition

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Sometimes,people in Volunteer Management talk about the essential three Rs

Recruitment
Recognition
Retention

I’ve spoken about Recruitment on this blog and now I’d like to share my view on Recognition.

I once asked a colleague how they recognised their volunteers. Their response was – “usually by their uniforms and they wear a badge”

Humour is important in our field.

I digress!

The formal recognition is important. The service medals, the ceremonies during volunteer week, the lunches and the certificates.

But to me the best forms of recognition of volunteer effort are:
• Meaningful tasks!

• Preparation – well designed tasks!

• Structure – ‘I know what to do, how to do it and where!”

• Time that is never…I repeat..Never wasted!

• The organisation talks about their volunteers in social media, internal and staff newsletters, on their website and are proud to promote their volunteer teams at every opportunity!

When organisations truly value volunteering effort it shows and the volunteer …

No giving is ever wasted!

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As I grow older and perhaps wiser It dawns on me that life is short and that my dreams change. If I leave this life having made a difference then I have lived well. If my actions have inspired a colleague, If my words have comforted a friend, If my love has comforted anyone, If my ear has listened, If my hand has held, If my heart has shared, If my shoulder has been moistened by tears , then I have lived and made a difference.
I’ve awed at those whose actions have changed the world. But the realization is dawning on me that the smallest things can change an individual’s world. A smile, a compliment, an encouraging word. That one minute you took to listen. That card or email or text you sent. That “Like” you clicked on Facebook. That tweet of friendship. Never dismiss any action of giving as insignificant!

No matter how small.

Five recruitment tips for Volunteer Managers

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1.Ensure the job’s there

What does "Ensure the job's there mean?." I’ve been at too many meetings of volunteer managers where there has been a round table introduction that goes like this. – “I am Michael and I work at blabla hospice and I have 240 volunteers! “ The next manager states “I am Janice and I work at the south homeless shelter and I have 247 volunteers” (Take that Michael!).
What I am saying is that numbers of volunteers do not necessarily equate to the quality of volunteer programs. Those that don’t quite understand volunteering often equate greatness to numbers. They couldn’t be so more wrong.

Sure yes – if you need to clean a beach 100 volunteers may be better than 20. However 20 well trained and motivated volunteers may just do the job better than the 100 who have gone without training and orientation!
To cut to the chase the point I am making in regards to recruitment is that you have to have the jobs and tasks already in place before you recruit volu…

On working with Volunteers

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I know that sometimes I look for inspiring quotes to share with people. I am now realising that inspiration is all around me and I love it!