Showing posts from August, 2012

Leading to Inspire Volunteers by Glenn Searle

I am a keen student of leading to inspire others and had the wonderful opportunity to undertake research into the phenomenon, the results of which were published in a leadership journal. Recently, at the Australian Institute of Management, DJ & I had a chat about inspiration in the context of leading in the volunteer sector – hence the ‘guest’ post. As part of my research, I interviewed a leader who worked extensively with volunteers and employees. The leader had some interesting perspectives that might be of interest to you.
One of his first comments was, ‘for me, inspiring people is about helping them reach their goal and potential – to help them become what they have been created to be’. Incidentally he saw little difference between volunteer and paid workers in the context of reaching goals and potential. The ways he went about inspiring them were a little different. He proposed that people often become leaders because of their position at work and, consequently, people might…

Volunteering Australia: This is our Strawberries and Cream Moment!

I know, from the stats I record on this blog that readers come from all over the world. Indeed the US is the most popular base of readership. Thus I try to keep most blogs relevant to an international audience. And I do believe the issues and debates we have in volunteer management are most usually common international concerns. Through my networking and tweeting I have discovered that we share much. Which is great because we can share solutions and innovation as well.

I say all of this because when I speak of Volunteering Australia I don’t think readers of other nations should shut down and read another blog. Because what we say about our own industry bodies should be resonating across the globe.

Volunteering Australia had gone through major changes over the last few months.

I’ve had reason to Criticize VA in the past. Why?

• The lack of support for International Volunteer Managers Day

• My perceived view that they weren’t engaging with the Volunteer Management Sector

Also, as Pr…

Thursday Tip – #ttvolmgrs and follow Thoughtful Thursdays!

Join Volunteer Managers from across the globe every Thursday to participate in a weekly discussion and 'tweetchat', focusing specifically on the Volunteer Management issues of the day.
Follow @suevjones on to be notified of the weekly blog post or make sure you visit the blogs page there every Thursday to discover the weekly topic.
Next add your thoughts via twitter using the hash tag #ttvolmgrs and, if twitter isn't your thing - you can contribute via the comments section below the blog.

I have to admit that I have been slow off the mark in regards to twitter. It took me awhile to understand what # even meant!! But I have been observing #ttvolmgrs and the conversation can be enlightening, educational and fun too! See you there! Also a big shout out to those who are giving up their own time keeping it going!

Lets Tweet our admiration for all volunteers!

I so don’t want to be a naysayer.


It happens every four years. The Olympics come around. And again the Olympic volunteering movement has been fantastic! And I have already tweeted my admiration at the Game makers as they have been called. I think it’s been a wonderful PR exercise to give them this name.

Nothing I say in this post is against these volunteers for the Olympics. I did read in another blog that it’s easy for these people to volunteer. You are volunteering at a prestige event. You are one of 70,000 or so and there were hundreds of thousands who went for the event! You get a fancy uniform and recognition as an Olympic volunteer. Etc etc.

There is some anecdotal evidence that Olympic volunteers go on to do some other volunteering. And that is good too.

And it’s so so wonderful that there is a moment covered on international TV where volunteers are praised and applauded by a stadium of some 80 000 people and witnessed by millions on TV.

And we volunteer folk including…

DJs Thursday Tip: Communicate Inspire Communicate Inspire Communicate!

Keeping up communication with the volunteer team is essential in my opinion. Volunteers work on different days and different hours and it’s a challenge keeping them up to speed with organisational news and updates, new policies, great stories, etc. Here are some of my tips: ·Create a volunteers newsletter. Have it driven by volunteers! ·Create a volunteer email list with those volunteers who agree to be on one. ·Have a fantastic notice board where volunteers sign in ·Havea volunteer liaison committee which meets regularly with volunteer management and executive/board Keep the communication positive and inspiring. Tell the volunteering story. Share positive feedback and don’t be afraid to keep asking for volunteer feedback. Celebrate volunteering and communicate it. Keep in touch. Volunteers will appreciate it!

Telling the inspiring story of volunteering

Recently I presented at a conference on a volunteering program I manage. The presentation took out an award for innovative practice. The presentation was up against several other presentations on innovative practice in a hospital setting. It was, I noted, the only presentation on volunteers during the entire conference.

I still get nervous before presenting. It’s the same with my stage work. Sometimes I feel physically sick before walking out on stage. Once I am out there though the nerves settle. I feed off the audience. If for example I am in a stage comedy and there is no laughter after the first gag or joke and only a cough and the sound of a pin dropping then I know the night can be a struggle!

In some ways, the role of volunteer manager calls on us to be presenters. There is so much presenting we can be involved in. We present when we hold training and orientation for volunteers. We Present when we are talking to other managers about our roles. We present when we educate up a…

DJs Thursday Tip – Add volunteers to the staff orientation checklist!

Get staff educated on volunteers and volunteering from the Get Go.
If you have paid staff at your organisation how are you educating them about volunteers and volunteering? Here’s one tip. If you have regular staff orientation sessions make sure volunteering is on the agenda. Do a little presentation or workshop on volunteers at your organisation. Don’t just rattle of what volunteers do. Spend time on how their work contributes to your organisation and its people or clients. Talk on how your organisation values your volunteers (because it should right?) and how they as staff members can contribute to the ongoing recognition of volunteers.
Are you presenting on volunteers at staff orientation? If the answer is no, now is the time to act. If your next question is “why” then here are a few of my reasons
·First impressions last. Staff get to see that volunteers are important enough to be part of the orientation program ·Staff understand roles and responsibilities of volunteers ·Volunteers are…