July 31, 2011
Looking for the Good News
A year ago, almost to the day, I posted a glib off-the-cuff piece on a bad volunteer experience. One year later it turns out to be the ‘most-viewed’ of everything I have written, by a wide margin. A lot of people, it seems, want to know how bad the experience can get, or to commiserate with others, and they plug into a search engine to find out.
I’d love to know why the topic generates so much interest. Are people hoping to find a site where they can vent dissatisfaction? Or to find out the pitfalls of being a volunteer? Of course the anonymity of cyberspace will not give me any answers: I can only speculate.
At the time, back then a year ago, writing up the impact of a bad experience was a way to turn a spotlight on the importance of good practice in the management of volunteers. That’s the focus, the driver for keeping this blogger keeping on. That’s the driver that has sustained the Management of Volunteers Project over the past eighteen months. When you get good management and leadership of volunteers you get great volunteer service. The flow-on effect to the quality of service delivery in all spheres of public, private and community interests is enormous – for individual volunteers and their communities, and for the programmes and the organisations the volunteers support.
So it is enormously gratifying to learn the Volunteering New Zealand Board is working to include the work of the Project as core VNZ business. As Claire Teal reports, the Project has evolved to building ‘the critical infrastructure of volunteering in New Zealand’, and VNZ is in the pole position to undertake that building.
In another year’s time I would like to think we have swung the search queries from negative to affirmative – maybe even a fan-base generated to report on really good volunteer experiences. That will tell me there is wide acceptance and application of best practice principles in management of volunteers. And a greater acknowledgement and appreciation of managers of volunteers
and what they contribute to their organisations.