Sunday, April 28, 2013

IAVE - Lets Speak up so that they might speak to us!

An opportunity for Volunteer Management to speak to IAVE

The 23rd IAVE World Volunteer Conference will be held in the Gold Coast, Australia, on September 17-20, 2014

What is the IAVE?

The International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) was founded in 1970 by a group of volunteers from around the world who saw in volunteering a means of making connections across countries and cultures. It has grown into a global network of volunteers, volunteer organisations, national representatives and volunteer centre’s, with members in over 70 countries, and in all world regions. The majority of IAVE members are in developing countries. IAVE is registered as a charity in the USA, in California, with By-Laws which set out the governing principles and procedures. IAVE has special consultative status with the UN ECOSOC Committee, and associate status with the UN Department of Public Information. It is a member of the UN Confederation of NGO’s, and has a strong working relationship with UN Volunteers, underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding.


IAVE exists to promote, strengthen and celebrate the development of volunteering worldwide. It is the only international organisation for which this is the primary aim.

Governance and Structure

IAVE is governed by an international Board, consisting of the President elected by the Board; and Vice-President elected by the whole membership; Regional Representatives elected by and from the members in each region; and a number of members appointed to bring particular skills or expertise. For reasons of cost, the Board meets once a year for two days. It appoints an Executive Committee to deal with finance and other on-going business, which meets by telephone conference six times a year. The Board also appoints other committees and working groups as necessary, including a Nominating Committee for the conduct of elections.


IAVE is still run almost entirely by volunteers. The President is also the CEO, and there is a network of volunteer national representatives in some 50 of the countries where IAVE has members, who promote IAVE in their country and act as a contact point with members. There is no permanent secretariat.

IAVE's staffed offices include a small President’s office with part-time admin support. The membership is administered through an office in the US. The information service and website are located in Taiwan, staffed by a part-time executive director and a small team of volunteers. In 2006 IAVE launched a Global Corporate Volunteer Council, and engaged a part-time consultant to administer it. We therefore currently have two part-time staff, and have contracts for part-time work with two self-employed consultants.

IAVE’s work programme

IAVE is best known for its biennial World Volunteer Conferences and affiliated Youth Volunteer Conferences. The world conferences have run in an unbroken sequence since 1970. These are major events in the world of volunteering, attracting a global audience, distinguished speakers and skilled and experienced workshop presenters. IAVE members in individual countries bid to run the conference, with the result that the conference moves around the world.

In 2001, the UN International Year of the Volunteer, the IAVE World Volunteer Conference, held in Amsterdam in January 2001, was officially recognised as the opening event of the year. The Universal Declaration on Volunteering was adopted at the Conference. IAVE members all round the world played an important part in the Year’s events in their country, and one of the closing events of the Year was an IAVE International Youth Conference held in Japan. These groundbreaking events were echoed during IYV+10 in 2011, with the IAVE World Conference in Singapore in January, and the IAVE World Youth Summit in Colombia in December.

In recent years IAVE has been responding to changes in the world of volunteering by positioning itself as a key leadership body for the development of volunteering, building a more strategic role, whilst at the same time remaining a membership organisation, connected through its membership to volunteering interests at grassroots, national and global levels.
The theme of the 2014 IAVE World Volunteer Conference is “Volunteering, Today’s Imperative”, which emphasizes the critical role that volunteering plays in responding to urgent human, social and environmental needs. Volunteering helps build strong societies and communities, and helps those who volunteer to lead healthier, more fulfilling and productive lives.

As well as focusing on the "feel good" aspects of volunteering, the theme of "Volunteering, Today's Imperative" will spotlight the more important issue of the future of volunteering. In an age where communication technology promotes global community interaction, volunteer effort is at the forefront of bringing about positive change.

All of the above is taken from their website

Why Volunteer Management (VM) needs a voice here

The website features a call for papers on the sub-themes of "Volunteering in capacity building", "Volunteering – a business and community partnership", "Reciprocity, volunteering – ancient and new" and "Volunteering in philanthropy".

There is no call for papers on Volunteer Management. However VM can be interwoven into all of the conference themes. But Volunteer Management does not appear to be a stand alone topic for this conference as of yet. This should not surprise us. Volunteer Management has never been a key topic of any national conference on Volunteering in any country that I have seen. Unless I have missed it. I will then stand corrected.


The Coordinator of this conference Margaret Bell says that this conference is an opportunity for Volunteering leaders around the world.

So who is going to represent the VM sector? Who is going to talk about our profession? Who indeed will talk about the fact that we are a profession? And maybe argue or debate that fact alone?

Who will state the case that effective Volunteer Management can lead to effective volunteering? Who will talk about the fact that strong VM can be the best advocate for volunteering?

Who will fly the flag for Volunteering Management? The answer is you, the Volunteer Manager

Because don’t expect to see a keynote speaker whose claim to fame is an experienced Volunteer Manager who is at the coal face of volunteering every day. And don’t expect to see a VM consultant who has worked for VMs and volunteers for decades.

How can Volunteer Managers engage young people for the youth conference? Again don’t expect Volunteer Managers who are on the ground doing great work with youth each day every day of the year.

Again - Who will fly the flag for Volunteering Management? The answer is you, the Volunteer Manager!

VMs reading this in Australia and New Zealand and indeed around the globe will hopefully submit papers on Volunteer Management. I certainly hope to do so.

And I hope that AAMOV touches base with IAVE and is involved with the planning of this conference. It makes sense. I wonder though if IAVE has even heard of AAMOV?

What has inspired me to write this blog? IAVE2014 just started following me on Twitter. I have followed back. I have also just liked their Facebook page. IAVE seems to me to be a wonderful organisation. I am looking forward to attending their conference here in Australia. As a sector we have wonderful opportunities to engage with IAVE through Social Media. We need to show IAVE that we can do so if we are to be taken seriously as a sector. To be recognised as a sector takes work! So:

• Follow IAVE2014 on Twitter

• Like IAVE2014 on Facebook

• Submit a paper on Volunteer Management

• Blog about your thoughts on IAVE and Volunteer Management

• Ask AAMOV how they are engaging with IAVE

• Share this BLOG

Here’s to a wonderful IAVE conference on the Gold Coast Australia in 2014. And here’s to Volunteer Management getting its rightful place on its agenda!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Guest Blogger Aileen Pablo asks "why volunteer?"

“Service to a just cause rewards the worker with more real happiness and satisfaction than any other venture of life.” - Carrie Chapman Catt, American Women's Rights Activist

People often tout the altruistic nature of volunteering. It’s because we care for our fellow man. Because we believe in the societal benefits that occur when everyone lifts up those around them.

Forget that. You can be as selfish as you want and still get a lot out of volunteering!

Obviously I’m being a bit facetious, because no one who gives up their time to help others should ever be labeled selfish, but it is absolutely true that oftentimes the people volunteering feel like they are getting as much out of it – if not more – than those they are supposedly helping. Why? Here are some of the most common reasons I’ve heard.

Knowledge. Volunteering can teach you things about the world that you didn’t even know you didn’t know, whether the experience happens on another continent or right in your backyard. You might discover something about a particular group of people that makes you rethink the previous views that you held, or learn how the ostensibly “helpful” systems we have in place are actually keeping certain problems from getting better. And I can’t tell you how many people say they feel like the experience of volunteering taught them a lot of things about themselves – good and bad – and showed them how to be better.

Skills. When you volunteer, you might come away from the experience knowing how to do just about anything – it really just depends on the kind of volunteer work you’re doing. Builders for Habitat for Humanity learn a number of skills related to house-building, including carpentry and teamwork, but those who volunteer in other departments might learn transferable skills in administration, marketing, leadership, and more. Chances are, if you can think of a skill you might need in the workforce, it’s something that you might be expected to do somewhere as a volunteer.

Experience. Knowledge and skills are great, but what’s especially powerful about volunteer work is that, depending on the kind of activities you were engaged in, many employers look at almost as another type of job experience. Cooking in a soup kitchen for a year is great experience for someone looking to make meals in the food industry, especially if you can add to it some formal training in the classroom. In fact, this kind of experience can be incredibly important in times like this where jobs are scarce and it’s difficult to get an entry level position to get the work experience you need.

Joy. How can you beat the smiles of an entire village in Africa after you dig a well that will provide them with drinkable water for the next three generations? Or the tears of happiness shed by a family after you fix their home that was ravaged by a storm? Or the look of relief on the face of a mother as you hand her Christmas gifts so that she doesn’t have to tell her children that they won’t be getting anything that year?

Wait, aren’t those “selfless” things? Not if we’re talking about how they make you feel. It’s great that the people you’re helping are happy, but their feelings can’t help but give you a sense of pride, accomplishment and, yes, joy as you marvel at what you did and how great of a person you are – and that’s not me being facetious!

Perspective.No one has an easy life, but if you ever start feeling like the world is out to get you and sabotage your success or happiness, I recommend volunteering. Nothing puts things in perspective quite like seeing families dig through dumpsters together or be thankful that they have a roof over their heads even though they live in a shantytown in Brazil where each family’s “house” is little more than a metal box. Most volunteers end up heading for home happier than when they arrive if for no other reason than they are thankful for all that they now realize they have.

About the Author:

Aileen Pablo is part of the team behind Open Colleges one of Australia’s leading providers of Open Learning and When not working, Aileen blogs about education and career.She is often invited as a speaker in Personality Development Seminars in the Philippines.If you are interested in featuring her works in your blog, you can find her on Google+.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

National Volunteer WEAK!

National Volunteer Weeks come and go around the globe around this time of year. Particularly in the States, Canada, Ireland, England, Australia and New Zealand.

It’s a week to celebrate and promote volunteering…

To me it seems to be an occasion where we celebrate “our lovely volunteers” and employ the language of paternalism and fluffiness.

Volunteering is not lovely. It is real and important. For Volunteer Managers, this is a week where we promote the service our organisations volunteers provide.

If it is a week where time and thought is given to volunteering and volunteers are simply forgotten about for the rest of the year then it will have served no purpose at all. Great organisations value and recognise volunteering all year round. Great organisations resource Volunteer Management and recognise the vital link between effective Volunteer Management and effective Volunteer Programs.

An effective and articulate Volunteer Management profession recognizes the opportunity to promote its sector during national Volunteers Week. It knows Volunteering is getting attention and seeks to harness that interest in a way that can educates organisations and policy makers on effective Volunteer Management.

Peak bodies for volunteering while recognising and welcoming the media attention that the week brings to the cause of volunteering should be advocating for all stakeholders in volunteering. The Volunteer. The Volunteer Manager. The organisations that effectively engage volunteering effort. Government policies on Volunteering. Their own Mission and philosophy on Volunteerism. Consultants and trainers in Volunteerism.

Jayne Cravens did a great service for International Volunteer Managers day when she stated years ago that she would never support the day if it became a “Pat the Volunteer Manager on the back day” or there were pins and mugs about the day!

I believe we need to say the same thing about National Volunteer Weeks. They are in danger of becoming weeks about Pins and certificates. They are in danger of becoming “pats on the heads of lovely volunteers. “That’s all well and good but unless that is matched by some serious Government and organisational support for volunteering along the resources line and along the recognition line that volunteering matters 24/7 every day of the year and is making a real difference to our society then Volunteers Weeks becomes Volunteers Weak!

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