Showing posts from December, 2014

Volunteering 2015 - Time to wake up!

I've been involved with volunteering now as a volunteer and volunteer manager for almost 35 years! As the year draws to an end I like to look at the state of volunteering. This year I am not greatly comforted by what I see but there are hopeful signs. The big topic that I think that will define volunteering in 2015 will be the definition of volunteering
The definition of Volunteering
“Volunteering is an activity performed in the not for profit sector only.” This is part of the definition of volunteering by Volunteering Australia. This definition is wrong. It is an insult to thousands of volunteers in Australia who still volunteer for organizations that have been privatized such as hospitals, nursing homes etc. and it even questions publicly owned institutions like organizations owned by government. I was recently at the IAVE conference on volunteering also known as the world conference on volunteering. I participated in a great workshop on the “definition of volunteering” I believ…

Volunteer Managers: We’re still a little bit too Fluffy!

I've been to many workshops and conferences on Volunteer Management over the last 17 years. One that still stands out in my memory was a presentation by Martin J Cowling. My memory of it may not be precise but he showed a photo of what he felt many people thought of Volunteering. It was a big Teddy Bear.  Nice, fluffy, feel good and ever so cuddly. At the time it hit the target straight in the bull’s eye!
Unfortunately I think volunteering is thought of like that today. Nice, comfy, feel good emotions abound when people think of volunteering. Volunteers are the Lifeblood of society. Lovely volunteers. We couldn’t do it without your big hearts. Bleh!
Jayne Cravens, a Volunteer management consultant among many other talents has rallied against the fluffy language in which we describe volunteers and volunteering. She’s even warned us about International Volunteer Managers Day turning into something similar.
I recently read a blog on the difficulty Volunteer Managers had in firing a…

Tears for Volunteers

I've been to six funerals this year. All volunteers who were part of our team. Today I was at one of them. Tony (not his real name) volunteered for 18 months. At his initial interview he surprised me. He revealed that he had terminal cancer and that he wanted to do positive things with the rest of his life and volunteer. I later learnt that he had been a positive guy most of his life. His spirit always shone through. Always smiling. Always kind. Tony actually inspired me to do Movember last year. I raised some money for men’s cancer such as prostrate. Today I shed a tear, no; I shared a few at Tony’s service. His volunteering was mentioned in the Eulogy, pictures of him in his volunteer uniform flashed up on a screen with other memories of his life.
Afterwards I stood near a field near where the service took place. Kangaroos stood and watched me. Their Joeys were sneaking peeks at me from their pouches. Grey clouds rolled across a vast sky and a gentle breeze kept the temperature…