September 30, 2012

Counting Down to IMV Day – November 5, 2012 (2)

Posted in Best Practice, Celebrations, Leading Volunteers, Managers Matter, Professional Development tagged , , , at 3:35 am by Sue Hine

In just five weeks’ time the International Day for Managers of Volunteers will be upon us.  Planning has started already for the day’s performances.

You can find out more on the website, including resources and articles and a great list of ideas for promoting managers of volunteers.  Or track the international buzz on the facebook page – there’s a couple of jazzy you-tube clips to view as well.

In New Zealand the day will begin as usual with a breakfast session hosted by Volunteer Wellington.  A lot of focus will then turn to the start of Volunteering Auckland’s two-day conference, Let’s Get ConnectedA highlight on the first day is the launch of Volunteering  New Zealand’s Best-practice guidelines for volunteer-involving organisations, to be broadcast per webinar.

I talked about this year’s slogan a couple of months ago: Leaders of Volunteers: Who Else Could Do That?  Now take a look at the poster and see just what an awesome person the manager of volunteers can be.

How many of these role identities will you pin to your personal mast?  Perhaps some of them need to be described in a bit more detail.

For example, the Community Organiser (known some decades ago as Professional Dissenter) and the Social Entrepreneur might be unfamiliar labels – but that’s what you do when getting people to work together in a team, or for your cause.  Right?

You may have doubts about being a visionary, but by heck you are always looking ahead and figuring the next steps in a programme, or how to engage the super-skills a volunteer is offering.  Come on – you know you are a Seer.

And when you add up all the labels on this list, there’s only one summary: Miracle Worker.

You are a Miracle Worker because

  • you create something out of nothing more than the offer of goodwill;
  • you can bind together diverse interests, personalities and cultures to work in a common cause;
  • you own a know how / can do belief in the organisation’s vision and mission; and
  • you are an achiever, despite many people lacking full understanding of volunteering and what your role entails.

Now all of this is fine and good, and we can roll over for another year.  Except don’t you just wish we could see a few more steps towards regular recognition and support for professional development?  In New Zealand the Best Practice Guidelines are a start, and watch out for the Learning and Development Pathway to come early next year.  But these are practice issues, and I am thinking more about the professional association that could speak as one voice on our behalf.

In our region that association is AAMOVthe Australasian Association for Managers of Volunteers

Professional associations for managers of volunteers have not had a good track record over past years, but do not let that put you off.  You want to get recognition, acknowledgement of your training and qualifications?  You want your expertise recognised in a halfway decent salary?  You want somebody to be able to speak out on your behalf, to be a champion of your occupation?  Support AAMOV so they can support and promote your interests.  

Because it is through collective strength that we can make achievements in

  • promoting best practice for Managers of Volunteers
  • providing pathways for professional development
  • providing opportunities for peer support
  • developing strategic relations with government, non-government organisations and the business sector.

The annual AAMOV Manager of Excellence Award offers an example of best practice, and one small step towards public recognition of the importance of good management of volunteers.

Let’s celebrate on November 5, as the poster says, the work of those “who inspire, empower and manage the spirit of volunteerism around the world”.

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