February 6, 2011

Getting to GO!

Posted in Management of Volunteers Project at 2:30 am by Sue Hine

In our globalised networks we’ve been talking for a long time about the importance of good management for volunteers.  Screeds have been written about the what and the why.  We have debated and argued at conferences and in on-line newsgroups for yonks.  Sometimes a plaintive voice asks Why Not Do Something?  And we keep on talking.

Enough!  Here in New Zealand our small team on the Volunteering NZ Managers of Volunteers Project has got to the action phase.  There’s a little bit of stage fright, and it’s a bit scary to look at the steep mountain ahead of us, but we’ve also got a lot of grit.

If you have read the Volunteering NZ Update for January you will know we have secured a 6-month paid internship for Claire Teal, the Project’s co-leader, and you will know more about specific objectives for the project that will run till the end of 2012. 

The project is turning into a really neat bit of community development.  It ticks the boxes of

  • Active involvement, and a sharing of skills and knowledge
  • A collective process to achieve agreed goals
  • Empowerment (in the recognition and valuing of management of volunteers)
  • Challenges for change

To make the plan work properly, as any activist knows, we have to spread the word and create networks.   We have to be open and flexible; we need to involve a wide range of organisations; we need to build a broad-based understanding of our mission and a vision we can all share.  Communication all over the place gets high priority, and we’ll need a lot of coordination for action.  Maybe there will be disagreements about strategy and approach, but debate leads to incorporation of new ideas to achieve our ends.  There is never a one-way concrete path. 

Members of the Project Team are not driving for their own ends.  They mean to act as catalysts, facilitating as far as possible the ideas and initiatives that others dream of.  Our vision is simple: Managers/Leaders of Volunteers are valued, well-resourced, competent professionals.

In three short weeks of creating a new and active network the response has been enthusiastic and enlightening.  As though people have been waiting to be roused.

This time a ripple, next time a wave(Stephen Sondheim, from the song Everybody Says Don’t)

Why are we doing this?  Good question, simple answer: for volunteering and for those who volunteer – they deserve no less than best quality management.

To join the network, contact Claire Teal at projects@volunteeringnz.org.nz, or phone (04) 384 3636.

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