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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

"Rainbow Connection" and Genocide

A song that reminds us of our humanity.
None of you reading really wants war. 
I am a Volunteer Manager shouting that there is Genocide happening in Gaza. 
I am a lone voice in the sector that promotes volunteering for good.
Our profession has been silent.
I know the killings of civilians in October 2023 was against Humanitarian Law.
I also know that the war did not begin on October 7th 
So, to put on the record: I condemn the Genocide in Palestine. 
I am ashamed of the silence. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

If we say there is something for everyone in volunteering – do we really mean it?



With everything going on around the world right now it can be easy to lose touch with our humanity. If our world leaders are failing to bring peace to our world or take the climate emergency seriously it can be easy to become cynical. We all know that if we spent the trillions on addressing climate change, cost of living crisis, homelessness and poverty instead of on endless wars then we would give hope to our civilisation? But we can do more than hope. We, the people, can demand. Ah yes – but you vote for us they tell you. But I don’t think we ever voted to go to war? I don’t think we voted to not take meaningful action on climate. But we do. We elect the same people and vote for the same parties. Not all of us – I give you that but enough of us. It is 90 seconds to midnight and so many on our planet do not even know what that means. It is worth visiting and having a read on this site Doomsday Clock - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (

So what can we do to stay in touch with our humanity? It has to start with you.

We can be kind to ourselves. Do the things that help our own mental health and others. If you are reading this, I hope that deep down you can feel that kindness within yourself for you. Leading volunteers, whatever your title is, plays a significant role in bettering our society in multifaceted ways. I value you for that. I feel value for you if the costs of living crisis are impacting you and volunteers.

Change starts with you and volunteers will change this world. They already have. Don’t think that we can’t sort our problems. We can. But it may not be with the leaders of yesterday and today. It will take a new kind of authentic, mindful and compassionate leadership.

And yes – there can be anger. For we are human. I know my privilege by writing this while sitting on stolen land. And I know that many people can’t volunteer because of costs, having to work so many hours just to make ends meet or can’t because they don’t even have the freedom to do so.

When I’ve worked with volunteer youth advisory groups I keep asking where the young unemployed guy is. Where’s the girl who didn’t get to go to college or any higher education after school? Where’s the young person that left school early or the young homeless person?

If we say there is something for everyone in volunteering – do we really mean it?


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Lie We Believe - Alan Watts on the Illusion of Problems

Volunteer Friendly Spaces in Kind Workplaces


Every person wants to work in a place where they are happy. Many workers stay with organisations based on their happiness and wellbeing at work. This might sound simple enough. But to be happy in life you must remember that you spend much of your life at work for an organisation or person. There have been many shifts in the way people think about work especially since the pandemic struck the world.

I would posit that many people had a shift in how they think. The arrival of COVID, the lockdowns, and major wars that are unfolding bringing us closer to 12 on the Doomsday clock have given rise to people reflecting on what is really important in their lives. This reflection often comes after a shock to the system, and I think this is happening now more than ever.

The Global community is now at our fingertips. And despite all the bad news there is still an arising of kindness and compassion. Thus, people now at work want to be in a place that reflects kindness. Rarely though do you see an ad for a position that says “Come and work in a kind environment.”

Getting the job done is a perquisite. In a kind and caring environment getting the job done leads to ongoing job satisfaction, team spirit and successes celebrated. It never plays a blame game when a mistake is made. Mistakes are lessons to be learnt from. The greatest minds made many mistakes on their journeys. Work comradery, collaboration, authentic leadership and the freedom to question and raise innovative ideas lead to creating psychologically safe spaces to work in. While knowing the positive impact you are making, leads to a safe, kind and welcoming workplace. The old brigade may still say “They are paid to do the job – none of this fuzzy kindness stuff!”

But it does. Show me the person who doesn’t want to work in a safe and kind organisation? Show me those who want to be led by the old brigade?

Peter Drucker stated, “Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer.”

On reflecting on this quote Dan Rockwell had to say this on his insightful Blog – Leadership Freak

“If employees were volunteers' leaders they would:

1.       Focus more on people with passion and less on people with talent

2.       Seek agreement on expectations and deliverables

3.       Ask permission to hold people accountable

4.       Express gratitude sincerely

5.       Address tough conversations kindly

6.       Focus on aligning organisational and individual values

7.       Build relationships

8.       Listen

9.       Include

10.   Respect “

I raise these points as I feel that many people have reflected on their time. I’ve had the lived experience of losing those very close to me and also staring face to face with my own mortality through serious illness and accident in a fifteen-month period. This has definitely sharpened my own deep reflection on the importance of time, ensuring that my time is utilised in a way that helps myself and others.  The simple act of helping others can make you feel good to! You are never wasting time by helping others. You are never wasting time in a job that you love, in a role you are passionate about and where you feel empowered, encouraged and guided by those around you.

And I posit that the organisations that live by Drucker’s words have higher staff engagement and wellbeing and lower attrition rates to boot!

In the volunteer world these traits are magnified. This is the world where people give their time, freely, for the common good. The recruitment, retention and recognition tools of volunteer managers need to be highly tuned, through our consistent best practices and blending with emerging trends on the volunteering landscape.

At yet while volunteers are gifting their time, they expect that their time is never wasted, that every minute and hour is making and impact and that they know it. They might tell you they do not do it for the “Thanks” but any volunteer manager worth their salt will know that the gift of their time is a donation that should be cherished and recognised.

Before even recruiting for volunteers, we need to ensure that they are coming into a friendly, open and kind space. Organisations with low staff morale and engagement will struggle to find, let alone keep volunteers. This is why the entire lifecycle of employees, and their satisfaction is crucial to the entire volunteer engagement!  We rarely look at it this way!

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The simple act of kindness.

How we learn from our children! This post was inspired by an act of my daughter. When her mum arrived at work today she found this...