December 1, 2013
“Outsource to Volunteers” were the words inscribed on a floating pendant at Festival for the Future, a weekend event to celebrate what’s possible, “supporting the next generation to spark & grow world-changing ideas for a better New Zealand”.
Now there’s an idea, I thought, and my mind raced away on the potential for community organisations to outsource work and even whole service delivery to volunteers. All I need to do is work up a business plan and organise a few contracts.
After all, hospitals outsource food and cleaning services to private operators; local authorities outsource waste collection services; airlines might have aircraft servicing done outside their country of origin; and we are all familiar with local businesses that outsource the manufacture of their products to way beyond our shores, along with IT services and Call Centres .
How could I make this work for volunteering? It would be a non-profit business for starters. I would recruit and train volunteers, undertake the whole professional management of volunteers, and organisations would contract with me to supply and deliver their volunteer programme. I would make sure a contract price included provision for volunteer rewards and recognition, and also allowances for travel – as well as the costs of administration and training and support and so on – and reasonable recompense for my own efforts. Volunteers do not come for free, you know.
Outsourcing will foster a strong volunteer identity, give volunteers a sense of ownership and pride in their status instead of being reminded of that professional/amateur inequality. Nor would volunteering fall into the black hole of ignorance and being ignored by management in the organisation. Outsourcing could make volunteering more visible in the community rather than being confined to particular organisations. Ultimately volunteering would become an attractive proposition to a wider range of people, and stimulate widespread recognition as well as a broader range of activities. Outsourcing will also give a manager of volunteers the freedom to apply best practice away from the curbs of restrictive organisation processes.
But would it still be ‘volunteering’? Sigh. Such flights of fancy always have fish-hooks. Worst is the inference that volunteers are just another tradable commodity, even if they do not get paid for their work. Market principles do not, should not ever, apply to volunteering. Outsourcing might also expose a shameful concession that volunteer programmes are not part of an organisation’s core business.
My ideas also cut across some of the present work of Volunteer Centres. Many organisations would never dream of letting an outsider take over ‘their’ volunteers. There could be practical objections when it comes to specialised services like emergency services, telephone help-lines and befriending programmes. Some people will protest that outsourcing changes the whole flavour and meaning of volunteering.
But think about it. Think about the words ‘outsource to volunteers’. They do not mean ‘replace paid staff with volunteers’, nor ‘let’s exploit volunteer willingness to help’, and nor do they imply ‘volunteers can do anything’. But they do encourage me to think about extending volunteer responsibilities and developing new initiatives that would add value to organisation services, or to trial new ways of operating.
My realist head is now seeing ‘outsource to volunteers’ as a simple slogan to remind us of the wealth of goodwill, of talents and experience, that volunteers bring to any organisation – and why we should place high value on their services. If we forget that then our organisations and our communities are the poorer for it.
November 24, 2013
Dear Volunteering New Zealand –
Now that the conference is over and a welcome summer break is on the horizon I hope you are reflecting with pride on what a remarkable year 2013 has been for the community and voluntary sector, and particularly for VNZ. Indeed, over the past three years progress in promoting understanding and practice in volunteering and management of volunteers has been amazing.
The Management of Volunteers Programme may have been an initial spur through engaging with individuals and organisations across the sector. It was like we had been waiting for someone to take the lead and provide the forum to plan and implement what we were looking for. Thank you for rising to the challenge, and for the resulting publications.
VNZ’s enhanced promotion and publicity throughout this year has boosted the core business of promoting and valuing volunteering. Communication technology has been exploited to showcase issues and achievements, and to publish local and global news. Attracting volunteers and interns for projects and research demonstrates to the wider community your confidence in volunteer skills and attributes to support your work programmes.
You are illustrating the practice of collaboration and partnership most visibly in sharing office space and in the partnership agreement with ANGOA, Social Development Partners and Community Research. The Collaborative Kōrero* conference this week was another step in show-casing how working together can produce outstanding outcomes.
It was a bold move to call for questions, inviting participants to shape the content, rather than people like me submitting abstracts on their pet topics. The Conference Committee did well to distil a programme that covered standard concerns (recruitment, technology, HR vs MV, and measuring impact) yet giving space and a novel approach to listen and discuss these topics in different ways. I look forward to revisiting plenary sessions on YouTube. The Kōrero continued outside the workshops, swapping stories and learning from each other. I wonder if anyone has noticed the conversations were not so much about volunteering, or civil society or fundraising and marketing – the focus was squarely on responsibilities of managing volunteers and leading volunteer programmes. As the by-line says, “great volunteer programmes do not fall out of the sky”.
I think you would be the first to admit that none of these successes have happened in isolation. They drew impetus from improved use and scope of technology, on the surge of corporate social responsibility and business volunteering, on developing working relations with government ministries, on (sadly) events like Christchurch earthquakes and the Rena oil spill, and on international connections through attending conferences and on-line networks.
At your AGM earlier this week I was surprised there were no supporting comments from the floor for the work you have done and the achievements that were noted in reports. So I have taken time and a few more words to express my appreciation. Of course there is still much to do, and I wish you well for the good ideas that will turn into projects and further successes.
Your Independent Advocate
November 17, 2013
Sometimes we can hang on to old mantras and take them for granted. ‘Thou shalt not replace paid workers with volunteers’: of course, I’ve known that for years! Put volunteers into former paid positions and you are exploiting unpaid labour, not to mention engaging the ire (or worse) of unions and other paid staff. So it’s a no-no, no question.
And then I encounter a situation that causes a rethink, a consideration of how hard and fast those principles really need to be. I have been asked if a volunteer is available to cover for an administration employee on sick leave. I ask questions about what happens when other staff go on leave, and isn’t there a pool of casual staff to call on, and why now, and don’t you know volunteers do not replace paid staff, period. I feel uncomfortable, because it’s a short term assignment, it’s helping the organisation over a difficulty, and there are volunteers well able and available to undertake the tasks.
That’s when I start searching for confirmation on this business of not replacing paid staff with volunteers. There is nothing in Codes of Ethics on management of volunteers, nor in Codes of Practice. Nowhere do I find a clause referring to job substitution. So is the ban on replacing paid staff with volunteers merely a convention?
At last I find a reference in the Government Policy on Volunteering (2002), in which the Government recognises that “volunteers should not replace paid workers”. Note the government merely recognises, and should does not signify a legal requirement. There is more in Guidelines for Appropriate Volunteer Positions, describing ‘factors which tend to make involvement of volunteers appropriate / inappropriate’. As a steer on volunteer encroachment into paid employment territory the clauses are pretty much common sense, and again not cast-iron regulation.
So I cast my search net beyond a New Zealand context and land some pretty good fish.
Susan J Ellis asks pertinent questions like “Who is making rules about what is and isn’t legitimate volunteer work—and on what grounds?” And what about the obverse to staff displacement: “When and how is it legitimate to place employees into roles traditionally held by volunteers?” We don’t think about that too often.
There’s a bunch of myths around job substitution by volunteers, says this UK article. We all know the involvement of volunteers should complement the work of paid staff, and should not be used to displace paid staff or undercut their pay and conditions of service. But when times are tough and loss of funding causes staff cuts, engaging volunteers to fill the gaps is replacing staff, not displacement.
If you still have doubts there’s a guide to avoiding job substitution, describing a process to be followed. Or take in this UK report on the health and social care sector: the authors conclude that rather than thinking of volunteering as a means for cutting costs, providers of all kinds should focus on volunteering as a means of improving quality by resourcing volunteer management appropriately. Now there’s a good steer for action!
It looks like my concerns about a volunteer covering for staff are better answered through a strategic vision and policy on volunteering. When we have constructive relations between paid staff and volunteers (and the manager of volunteers), when the volunteer programme is integrated with wider services of the organisation, and when volunteer contributions are understood and appreciated for the added value they bring – then we will have no need to follow advice that begins “Thou shalt not….”.
That’s what I call a shift in focus, turning negativity into positive direction.
November 10, 2013
The party is over. We’ve done with celebratory teas and garden parties and early morning speed-meets and day-long twittering. We’ve seen the creative videos and the loads of goodwill messages via Facebook and emails. For a few hours we connected with colleagues in relaxed and informal ways. What happens next?
Please don’t tell me you’ve hurried back to your desk and you are now in catch-up mode. Please make time to reflect on IVM Day, time to figure about the connections you made, and what you found inspiring.
Here’s my take on the Volunteer Wellington function I attended:
- The crowd was bigger than last year.
- There was a wider representation of organisations and agencies, including Board members and executives.
- The meet-and-greet phase saw people circulating, not hanging back, connecting with people they had not met previously.
- Absolutely no hesitation in the participatory exercise where the question of what inspires you about volunteers and volunteering was the topic for a four minute discussion.
- And again people connected, learning about organisations not part of their regular network, finding shared inspiration in the experience of working with volunteers.
- At the end people lingered instead of rushing to catch the next appointment.
- They continued conversations and queued to pick up Volunteering New Zealand publications, and information about Volunteer Wellington’s new Mentoring Programme.
Now is that keen participation not inspiring? This year I am seeing greater confidence among managers of volunteers. They appear to be more comfortable in their leadership role, they have gained understanding and better competence in their practice. They are starting to reach out to others in their profession, networking and finding allies for mutual support if not formal mentoring.
And that, please note, is the first condition for engendering community development. That’s what I find inspiring about this year’s events. There’s an awareness of a community of managers of volunteers, a readiness to shout about it and to take this strength to new levels.
Because there are still miles to go. The gains I have observed are not universal. There are always new managers who need guiding and encouragement. Inside many organisations there is still a black hole when it comes to acknowledging the work of managers of volunteers and recognising the true value and contribution of a well run volunteer programme. Widespread public applause on IVM Day is not yet happening: in New Zealand the sole media statement came from the Minister for the Community Public Sector. She is “thankful that communities can benefit from the work of the skilled, dedicated, professional people who manage volunteers”, and gives an appreciative nod to the work of Volunteering New Zealand for providing support and professional development and training.
So what happens next is an open question. Let’s keep the conversations going. Let’s take the opportunity to talk up ideas and plans for more progress in the management of volunteers.
November 3, 2013
Taking a leap, despite a safety harness and all the instruction is always a risk. But look how much fun it could be, what a different perspective to be gained, and how one achievement could lead to new adventures.
Taking tips from the business world could be another version of bungy-jumping for managers of volunteers – a leap of faith beyond experience. I’m taking tips from a former corporate chief executive this week, ideas that can apply equally well to community organisations and the practice of managing volunteers. Here are some quotes from a recent newspaper interview.
“I suspect many smaller companies hit a barrier, where they can’t unlock that next phase of potential growth. They can’t get past that ‘Kiwi-ness’ and they can’t get past the founder who wants to be part of everything and can’t let go.”
Well maybe we are not all into business growth and export markets, but keeping our organisation alive and flourishing is important. So configuring a strategic plan that strengthens what we do well is important. Take a visionary look into future development for the volunteering programme, cultivate the art of the possible. That means responding to trends in volunteering, population change and social change, and being alert to shifts in political winds. We cannot rely on the same-old ways forever.
“I like to be accessible.”
This ex-CE was head of around 11,000 staff. There are no reports on how many employees got to meet him, but he built a reputation for being communicative and approachable. That’s how managers of volunteers like to see themselves. So best practice will include an open-door policy, regular communication through a variety of media, and being responsive to emails and telephone messages. Those leadership and people skills really do matter.
What is needed is a leadership mentality based on risk-taking, innovation and “disruptive change”. Too often management gives employees “permission to fail”. Too many New Zealand organisations have a fear of failure in innovation. It’s human. I always said: ‘It’s much better to get out and try new ways of serving customers and to stuff up, than to do everything right’.
There’s a challenge for organisations and managers of volunteers! Sometimes it feels like we have become so risk-averse we dare not step outside a safety zone. We hesitate at pushing boundaries, seizing opportunities and creating innovative services. We have lost the crusading zeal that established many a community organisation and community services. Do we really fear failure and stuff-ups, or is it the fear of losing funding and service delivery contracts that matters most?
‘Push for change. We need to make more mistakes, because from them we learn so much about what particular customers value’.
Of course! Making mistakes is the best teacher in managing volunteers, as in life. So be honest, acknowledge the error, apologise, and rectify. And move on.
And if you are thinking this is all too much, take courage from recent UK postings. Be an adventurous manager of volunteers. Go bungy-jumping.
And don’t forget to make November 5 Your Day!
October 27, 2013
News headlines this week have not been pretty stories. Blue Mountain country in New South Wales (Australia) has been devastated by the worst bush fires in forty-five years. The pictures of a wall of flame are succeeded by burnt-out homes and grieving residents. Acres of bush are laid waste.
The Rural Fire Service has rightly won praise and gratitude for its heroic efforts, working 12-hour shifts and staying overnight in dense bushland when required, snatching a rest when they can. Need I add that most of them are volunteers?
I don’t think I would make a good fireman. I’d have to get really fit, do hard yards at training, and wear all that clobber, and work long hours mostly at unfriendly times, cope with emotional and distraught people and be involved in those big disasters that turn up without warning. It’s a big commitment.
Only twice in my volunteering career have I been asked to commit to a minimum length of service. One was for two years, and another for just six months. The latter, in reality, was just time to complete the basic assignment, and it took another two years before it was really done. I’ve no doubt the rationale was to ensure a return from the investment in training and support, and to send a message that this was not a fly-by-night undertaking.
Should we spell out expectations for length of volunteer service?
The stories of loyal and long-serving volunteers are legend. It is not unusual to find people who have been working for the same organisation for twenty-five or thirty years. When people resign within five years it is usually for legitimate reasons: going overseas, relocating to another town, a change of employment, having babies, or a family crisis.
We all know what keeps volunteers keeping on, so my observations suggest we are doing things right: ensure volunteers enjoy a good experience with your organisation and they will stay loyal and enthusiastic. That ‘good experience’ may vary according to organisation mission and the work of the volunteer programme.
Key indicators to maintain volunteer commitment would include:
- Philosophy and policies that integrate volunteers throughout the organisation
- Good relations with staff and senior management
- Strong relationship with the manager of volunteers
- Congruence between personal values and organisation mission and values
- Ongoing communication, in various forms
- Options for skill development
- Recognition and rewards that highlight non-monetary value of volunteer contributions
Now I start thinking about that trend noted over the past couple of years, that preference for time-limited, task-focussed volunteering. Sure, this sort of volunteering has always been available, particularly for fund-raising or events and projects, and a creative manager of volunteers knows how to find ways to engage a skilled volunteer for a few weeks or months.
I am not hearing about increases in turnover of volunteers, but if that should happen – if there is a fall-off in staying power – then prospects could be dire for volunteer programmes based around on-going services and relationships. I can’t imagine a volunteer fireman being taken on for a six month stint. Nor a volunteer for ambulance services, or civil defence. Short-term volunteering would make unviable those programmes that revolve around support relationships and befriending vulnerable people.
Or does the interest in short-term volunteering stem from the rise of practical motivations, like graduate internships, work experience, ‘obligatory’ volunteering and corporate volunteering? Is it attracting a different sort of volunteer from the stayers?
Should I be worried?
October 20, 2013
A respected colleague from a long time ago declared the one trait that is unique to humans is adaptability. Well, circus animals and science show us we do not have this ability on our own. And the whole theory of evolution is based on adapting to the changes in the environment.
These days organisational adaptations are more likely to go by the adage There are no problems, only solutions (attributed to John Lennon, but might have originated from Descartes). In business-speak we don’t talk any more of obstacles in analysing problems: we use words like ‘opportunities’ and ‘challenges’.
No-one can down-play the demands and challenges of the role of managing volunteers. There are constant stressors of time management, keeping the programme on track, maintaining volunteer loyalty and enthusiasm, and your relationships with them, dealing with the paper work, and, and…. (Fill in your own list of tensions.)
Many of us learn from experience, which can be bruising and sometimes downright harmful. But what if we went out seeking answers to the challenges we face. (See – I’m not using the word ‘problem’ any more.) What if we join with our peers to form a group so we can talk over matters of the moment, and yes, find solutions that would work for us, or for my own particular circumstances.
You can call it peer mentoring, a support group, the MV collective – but the object of sharing information and ideas will be the same. It’s a way of learning a new strategy or ideas to research and to act on. It’s a way to find “a trouble shared is a trouble halved”. It’s a way to learn about refining skills and behaviours. Most of all it is a way of learning without being taught. And even if you prefer one:one supervision or mentoring the process is the same: working through the issues to find your own solutions.
Being professional comes with a responsibility to go on learning, developing knowledge and skills. Supervision or mentoring is one way to do this, in groups or as an individual.
There’s another benefit: you will discover ‘me time’. Having time away from the workplace to reflect on what is happening is not just a brief respite from responding to demands of the job. People who listen with empathy can be refreshing and energising. Reflection is also part of the professional learning process which leads to action.
There is more! Joining with others in your network or community is a means to learn about different organisations, and to open up opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. A collegial community could be just what you need when the going gets tough and a place to report on success and achievements.
October 13, 2013
We are counting down to IVMDay now. Just three weeks to go to the big day on November 5. There are notices about events and functions turning up on Facebook, invitations coming by email, and information broadcast about awards for best practice. All of these are designed of course “to connect and inspire”, our theme for this year.
If you are still wondering what you could organise there’s a comprehensive list on the IMVDay website – something there to encourage everyone to action.
What I am enjoying most in the run-up to the day are the cartoons being fed into our networks. They are reminders of the little things that add up to best practice in managing a volunteer programme, in being professional in our work.
Here are some other examples of the simple things that can help connect and inspire volunteers, and staff:
- Saying Thank You – and you can embroider that a thousand ways: ‘That was a job well done’; ‘I hope you are proud of your achievement’; [to staff] ‘Good to have your support’.
- Knowing volunteers as people who lead other lives outside volunteering. So you will remember to ask about the job interview, the sick pet, the anniversary, the workplace function, the holiday.
- Getting some regular communication going – a newsletter or telephone tree, and even better via social media.
- Or meetings / in-service seminars at intervals determined by the volunteers.
- Checking out volunteer job satisfaction and interest in extending skills or experience.
- Getting feedback from staff: ‘Is this volunteer contribution working for you?’; ‘Are there ways we could extend the service’.
OK – these suggestions are likely to be part of your everyday practice. They are still simple and easy ways to maintain engagement with volunteers: that’s what connecting and inspiring is all about.
But let’s not forget the aim of IVMDay is to recognise how managers of volunteers enhance and enable the spirit of volunteerism – and to thank them, to give them the recognition they deserve. In the events listed on Facebook most are organized by ‘Volunteer Centre’ groups, and no doubt there will be speeches of appreciation, and maybe there will be a few Board Members and even Executives in attendance. I do not see as yet a national not-for-profit or community service organization acknowledging in a tangible way the achievements of the managers of volunteers in all their branches. That would be really ‘connecting and inspiring’ for the organization and their volunteer services.
Now here is a real-life ‘simple thing’ story.
About ten or twelve years ago, before IMVDay got to be part of the calendar in New Zealand, I got invited to join my Chief Executive and two Personal Assistants for lunch at a down-town café. It was Secretaries’ Day you see, a bit like IMVDay, for those people who do extraordinary things to keep an organisation going in day-to-day administration, the vital nuts-and-bolts stuff. I was invited, the CE said, because I was another person on the staff who was often unsung for my work. Well, the good food and a glass of very nice wine were duly appreciated – but what I remember best is the recognition that the work of managing volunteers is a valued and important part of the organisation’s services. And – more importantly – recognition of the non-monetary value volunteers bring to the organisation.
That’s the in-house connection and inspiration I would want for all managers of volunteers and their teams.
October 6, 2013
Ask a group of managers of volunteers what they like most about their job and nine out of ten will say “working with volunteers”. I forget what the tenth person says, because I have started thinking and wondering why and how volunteers make their manager feel so good about their work.
It’s the people thing, isn’t it? Those interpersonal relationships, the people skills. We get to know volunteers in quite intimate ways, which enhances our ability to involve them effectively, to encourage skill development, to help move them to greater performance. It’s a virtuous circle, really.
It’s also a bit soft and mushy. There has to be more than simply being on good terms with each other.
Enlightenment has come to me this week from several different sources.
- Look at the words for Volunteering New Zealand’s whakatauki for IVM Day:
Ma mua ka kete a muri, Those who lead give sight to those who follow;
Ma muri ka ora a mua. Those who follow give life to those who lead.
There’s that mutual benefit of the reciprocal relationship again, a self-reinforcing cycle. There are also imputations of ‘leadership’: leaders enable their followers; they model desired behaviour and practice. And followers affirm their belief in and support for their leaders.
So people who manage volunteer programmes are really leaders. Yes, we know that – but what are the ingredients of leadership?
2. That’s where a recent issue of NZ Listener spotlighting ‘influentials’ offers some leads.
“Today’s complexities demand new forms of leadership and influence across private, public and non-profit spheres.” Great to have the community sector included here, with examples like the Student Army efforts post-Christchurch earthquake. “This is an example of the kind of bottom-up, adaptive influence that can channel the resources and energy of ordinary people with something to contribute, and turn it into effective action that improves lives” (Brad Jackson, co-director of New Zealand Leadership Institute).
Yes, a manager can be influential in the way volunteers achieve effective action, so ‘influence’ is surely one part of a leader’s tool-kit. I am cautious about using this word, however, because ‘influence’ has connotations of that P-word that can produce hugely negative results. But when there is a common cause it is not so difficult to channel ‘the resources and energy of ordinary people’. I know how the common cause also facilitates harnessing the diversity of ages and skills and interests among volunteers.
There is a huge literature on leadership, including masses of research, though not a lot spills into the volunteer management domain. Contemporary thinking appears to be less concerned with individual personality profiles: it’s the ability to take the initiative and responsibility for the purpose of the cause that matters. So the role of the leader is to ensure common interests, shared goals and collective commitment: these drivers have been forever the means for development of community organisations. There is also a shift from individual accountability to mutual accountability, a change from ‘I know best’ to ‘we know how’, says Chris Johnson, Auckland leadership consultant. Leadership becomes Teamwork, as the America’s Cup racing in San Francisco has demonstrated – by both Team New Zealand and Oracle. The role of each team member is integrated into a seamless collaboration.
Yes again: these points will be familiar to managers of volunteers.
However, on the employment front research shows that only about 20% of the average workforce is ‘highly engaged’ – that is, motivated and committed to the organisation’s purpose (according to Johnson). That would never happen in a volunteer programme: if volunteers are not highly engaged they will be walking elsewhere. And there we have a very big distinction between paid staff and volunteers.
Today’s leaders have to trust the people who work for them (Johnson). Again, this is nothing new to managers of volunteers. Trust is probably the biggest attribute in their tool-box, contributing to their positive relationships with volunteers. We know that too, don’t we?
3. Here is affirmation for managers of volunteers, coming from an unexpected quarter:
Volunteering – A Great Way To Learn Real Executive Leadership
Young corporate managers are urged to do volunteer work early in their careers, because the type of leadership at the top is akin to being a leader of volunteers. It is not about carrots and sticks but about persuasion and getting people to grasp and follow your vision. [Emphasis added]
The article acknowledges the challenging environment for managers in volunteer organisations. It refers to ‘permission leadership’, in which managers have to earn the trust and respect of people they are supervising.
Here’s the virtuous circle again. Relationships do matter: leadership (and management) is all about people skills.
So what? I hear people thinking, if not saying. We’ve always known the importance of ‘people skills’, and by extension the precepts of leadership.
I am thinking aloud, you understand, unravelling the obvious, just a little. What is still an open question is the detail in ‘people skills’ and how we get to learn them. Where can I find some answers?
September 29, 2013
In just four weeks International Volunteer Managers Day will be all happening. Volunteer Wellington will kick off the day with their usual fun-filled breakfast event, and Volunteering New Zealand is into the act already with their promotional material.
The international theme of Connecting and Inspiring is illustrated in this banner and whakatauki. Here is the inspiration to practice the art of the possible.
Why should we have a special international day? Take a look at what the International Committee says:
We celebrate the profession of volunteer leadership because:
1. Volunteer Managers have the skills and knowledge to help people be part of the solution in meeting community needs. Even in cynical times, they practice the art of the possible.
2. Volunteer Managers change lives — both the lives of volunteers themselves and of those served by well-led volunteers. It is a life-changing profession. Volunteer managers provide the leadership and direction that allows people to build a good and just society and to mend the social fabric. Without professional leadership, people’s time, talents and efforts could be wasted.
3. A well-run volunteer program shows the community, including potential donors, that the organization is not afraid of public scrutiny and involvement and endeavors to make the most efficient use of monetary assets.
4. Well-led volunteers become an advocacy and public relations force for an agency or program — a force no amount of money could buy.
What can you do to celebrate your profession? It’s pretty hard to pat yourself on the back: somehow the shoulder joint won’t oblige properly. Much nicer if other people would come along and do it for you, showing how they respect and value the work you do. But take a leaf out of an activist’s book and do some creative promotion. Here are some ideas:
- Be not-so-subtle by taking copies of this post (or somesuch) to distribute round your organisation so they get to diary this celebration.
- Get volunteers on your side to do some trumpeting.
- Invite a staff member to give a few hours to shadowing your daily routine, so they can learn more of your work and the skills required in the job.
- Put up a message on Facebook, or even a video.
- Call up your network of colleagues to collaborate on some event planning.
- Connect with community radio and newspapers to get an interview. Or at least send them a press release.
- On the day, e-mail a jaunty message round the organisation: Do you know what today is, and why it is important?
- It’s not too late to enter the AAMoV Volunteer Manager Award for Excellence. Be quick: closing date is now October 11. Besides the individual award there is also a new team award to recognise a team or group of volunteer managers who have worked together on a programme or special project.
Go, Managers of Volunteers!