August 5, 2012

Counting down to IMV Day – November 5, 2012

Posted in Celebrations, Leading Volunteers, Managers Matter tagged , , , at 3:20 am by Sue Hine

The clock has started ticking.  Three months from today we will be rejoicing and celebrating International Volunteer Managers’ Day, or as we say in New Zealand, IMV Day.  ‘Managers of Volunteers’ speaks to us in New Zealand more loudly than being a Volunteer Manager, specially when we read the slogan for this year, and the taglines.

Leaders of Volunteers: Who Else Could Do That?

  •  Leading teams of both paid and unpaid staff? Who else could do that?
  • 100 people, 100 motivations, 100 job descriptions… Who else could do that?
  • $0 budget for a priceless resource? Who else could do that?

I confess I asked myself Who Else would Want to Do That?

But the introduction and promotion of Leadership is timely.  We are not ‘just’ managers – the pen pushers and the strategists and organisers for running a volunteer programme – we are leaders of prime importance in delivering services over a whole range of interests.  We are leaders in our communities, creating opportunities for volunteers, ensuring they have a good experience – not to mention the training and the support, the supervision and the celebrations and appreciation events that volunteers can enjoy.  Who else could do all that, indeed!

So while people might be ground down in multi-tasking, coping with the numbers, whole-of-organisation coverage, and performing to super-hero(ine) status, November 5 every year is the time to draw breath, to accept the accolades, and to recognise that leadership of volunteers is a unique occupation.  Long may you reign!

The IVMA website tells me 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 endeavours 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.

Amen to all that I say.

The thing is – and I have bleated about this before – managers of volunteers should not have to wait for an annual event.  Respect and recognition for what they achieve should happen every day – because as former Prime Minister Helen Clark acknowledged in 2008: Without volunteers New Zealand stops!

When we no longer promote a special day for managers of volunteers I will know their time has come.  And I will no longer have to join ARD Fairburn’s lament for the

“weary dolphins trapped in honey-coloured cobwebs / murmuring to the revolution Will you be long.”



  1. Thanks Sue, you are so spot on! Volunteer managers are not looking so much for thanks as for respect; respect for not only our volunteers, but us us as well.


    • Sue Hine said,

      Here’s another thought: I wonder how many organisations include ‘respect’ on their proclaimed list of values? Which then begs questions of integrity and authenticity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: