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Showing posts from 2015

Brisbane, Shrone, Melbourne: A 2015 Reflection

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So how was 2015 for you? Did you lead? Inspire? Volunteer?

It was certainly a big year for me. Leaving one job after 9 wonderful years. Taking up another role with the largest humanitarian organisation in the world. Moving to another city to take up that job.

Melbourne is a beautiful City but only being here 12 months I have much to discover. Some of things I love:

The Trams: They are such a great way of getting around. I always feel like a child when I get on one. It’s like I’m on a ride in a huge amusement park. Some cities let their tram systems go and that’s a pity I think.

The Weather: Ok, so Melbourne has got some crazy weather. One day I was suffering in 42 degree Celsius. Two days later there was a chilly wind blowing and 19 degrees was the top. You can get four seasons in the one day in Melbourne. But I have decided that I am very happy without the humidity. Humidity and I have never been friends. Nothing worse than getting out of a cold shower only to perspire again while dre…

The journey continues

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New city. New job. I have not blogged for a few months now. Challenging times. But I have risen above them, learnt and moved on. I do believe in the adage of one door closing and others opening. Someone once said " wherever you go, there you are". Took me awhile to get that. I've also learnt that the now is a powerful place. The only place we abide in really. More of that later. In all of my blogs it has been about sharing the things that have helped me. And do I have much sharing to do with you in future blogs.

So now I find myself in Melbourne with one of the biggest humanitarian organisations in the world. I feel it's meant to be. I've been here three days. The information overload begins. I'm intrigued by this city. I miss my family. Conflicting emotions abide. So please, I invite you to come on this journey with me. I'd like your company. I have much to share. Hanging on to wisdom and insights is selfish! I will not be selfish.

DJs back! With a bang…

Leaders of Volunteers. Stop Work!

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“Dear Boss. I need to take a day’s leave. Why? Its International Volunteer Management Stoppage Day.” No no no..It’s not a strike. In fact it’s an annual leave day but I’m taking it in conjunction with hundreds of Volunteer Managers across the globe at my own expense because we feel our sector is unseen, unrecognised, poorly compensated and quite simply it’s a day to demonstrate our frustration after years of attempts to get noticed and to gain respect. We hope that by taking this action that we can respectfully send a message that may even garner some media attention about our role in society. What was that? Oh yes – of course everything is fine in my organisation but I’m doing this in solidarity with the volunteer leaders around the world:
·Who Have little or no Executive Support
·Who are seen as second rate managers or leaders just because they lead volunteers
·Whose pay is not equivalent to other senior managers
·Whose value is “devalued” because they “just manage the Vollies”
·Who don’…

Current definition of Volunteering in Australia

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The Current definition of volunteering is outdated because it excludes large numbers of volunteers around the nation who do not fit into the current one.
I have had the privilege and honor of managing volunteer programs for the past 18 years and have done so in both not for profit and private organizations. So I believe I can speak with a certain knowledge of how volunteering works on many levels in various settings. I am passionate about volunteering and effective Volunteer Management and fear that if the definition of volunteering remains as it is that we will have too many tiers of volunteering. Of course I understand the fears too that volunteers could be “used” by privately owned organizations and not used appropriately or to save staffing costs. This is where effective Volunteer Management comes into place.
I believe that not only do we need a broader and clearer definition of volunteering but we need some type of accreditation body that can set standards for all organizations th…

Barriers to Volunteering

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Sometimes I come across signs on shop windows or ads in papers stating “Volunteers Urgently required”! It’s a dramatic statement. Sometimes I see organizations bemoan the lack of volunteers. In some countries, and probably your own, volunteering numbers are declining.
One of the best ways that I can keep up with what’s happening in the volunteering world is having a good chat at the interview with potential volunteers. You can learn so much if you are doing your interviews right. Where I work we have the orientation and information session first. Thus prospective volunteers get a chance to look at the program and learn about it while not having to commit. Then if they are interested they come to our group interviews. There are wonderful dynamics to group interviews but that’s another blog for another day.
A couple of questions I like to ask are “what is your motivation for volunteering?” and “why did you choose this organization?” .There are many important questions that you should …

Volunteering Definitions?

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Volunteering Australia is currently reviewing the definition of volunteering.

On her blog page "Abundant Contibutioon" Adrienne Picone writes: " VA’s commitment to reviewing the definition of volunteering is being project managed by Volunteering Tasmania in partnership with all of the volunteering State and Territory Peaks and is both timely and reassuring. It may be that after we have the review that the end result will be similar or even the same as what we have now."

Who is in the Volunteering Family and who is out?

The following is an article I wrote for a Volunteering England Newsletter a few years back. I have edited it slightly and am reposting here to stimulate discussion


As manager of a volunteer service in the largest private hospital in Australia this current hot topic obviously holds a great interest to me. At the same time I have viewed it objectively.

I have a huge passion for volunteerism. I have been a volunteer for many years as well as managing vol…

Page Views Hit 1/4 of a Million!

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Wow! When I started out on this little Blog I never in my widest dreams expected so  many page views!So thanks to all of you that have visited and read my posts whether you have agreed or disagreed!  Thanks for participating and sharing and thanks for your commitment to Volunteering and Volunteer Management!

If you want to touch the past, touch a rock.  If you want to touch the present, touch a flower.  If you want to touch the future, touch a life.  ~Author Unknown

10 quick tips for busy CEOs with Volunteers in their organizations

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The life of any CEO is a busy one. If you are reading this then you have taken some time out to think about the volunteers in your organization. If you have mostly volunteers in your organization then you probably champion their effort a lot. If you have many paid staff and volunteers hopefully you champion both! Here are some quick tips for you to ponder.
Resourceyour program: Do you have Volunteering Services as  a Department in its own right with a budget. If not, consider it. Volunteering doesn't just happen. Effective programs are never for free.The Volunteer Manager: Have you got a Volunteer Coordinator who is the only person managing your organizations volunteers? Then they need to be your Volunteer Manager or Manager of Volunteers or Director or whatever title that suits most. They are not just coordinating. Is your HR boss the HR Coordinator? Hire Expertise: If you want to hire someone to manage your Finance team or Marketing team then you will look for a professional in …

What I learnt from shooting volunteers!

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Ok. So maybe the title got you in. But it’s kind of true. Last year I came up with an idea for National Volunteer Week. Well actually I came up with the idea a few months beforehand after seeing a similar YouTube video and I decided to apply it to Volunteers. The concept was that I would video some volunteers and ask them about volunteering. In fact I would ask them just one question and wondered what might happen. What occurred went beyond my wildest expectations.
But first I asked myself how this plan could work. I have no filming experience. I also thought the project might be too expensive if it were to look right. But thoughts become things according to Mike Dooley so I thought the good ones. Lo and behold a volunteer joined my team who happened to own his own production company. I’ve always believed that if you have a vision and can dream the end result that all you need to succeed is the will and determination. Sometimes things just fall into place when you follow this path. …

My Michael My Nemesis!

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Here’s a little tale for you. A little deviation from the normal blog. Long long ago in a galaxy far away, yours truly here was an actor in Killarney, Ireland. I worked for a Theatre group called Bricriu. I loved it. Had a passion for acting. Still do. We did improv and short one acts in pubs, did serious drama and pantomime in theatres. Imagine waking up each day and going off to a job you truly love and getting paid to do so! Now, granted the pay wasn’t that good but nevertheless we were paid. I had so many memorable experiences. We went on the road travelling around Kerry. We did a play by John B Keane in his own pub in Listowel. John B was a famous playwright who has since passed away. One of his plays, starring Tom Berenger was turned into a mega Hollywood movie called “The Field”. That night John B watched me perform in his play and was kind enough to come up to me and praise my performance afterwards. Funnily enough a few years earlier I was sitting in a pub in County Clare wh…

Your thoughts on Volunteering or Volunteer Management!

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Happy New Year to all who read this blog around the world. One of my many resolutions is to get to know more people globally that are involved in Volunteerism and Volunteer Management. I’d like to start that process by inviting you to write about your experience. Maybe you have never written before? Maybe you have an inspiring story to tell? Maybe you would like to kick start a debate? Maybe you want to share stories about volunteers in your organizations or a story about your volunteering? Maybe you want to share an inspiring poem you wrote?
Why not share your writing on a blog that has had close on 250,000 page views with the most popular blogs receiving between 25,000 to close on 29,000 reads?
I am happy to volunteer my time to help you review and edit or just hear your suggestions first and help you turn it into an inspiring blog post. Nothing will be published until you are entirely satisfied. It doesn’t matter what experience you have or if you’ve never written before. Becaus…