November 10, 2013

What Do We Do Now?

Posted in Celebrations, Good news stories, Leading Volunteers tagged , , at 3:20 am by Sue Hine

IVMADAYLOGOThe 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.


  1. Helga said,

    The next opportunity will be at Volunteering New Zealand’s conference Collaborative Korero. Looking forward to the conversations that will inspire and challenge us.


    • Sue Hine said,

      Absolutely Helga – the conference will be a great event.


      • Vanisa Dhiru said,

        Hope people thought there was space for us to korero on this topic?


  2. It certainly feels like movement in the right direction and that is great news. As long as there are advocates and voices such as yours, Sue, we will be in great shape. Thanks!


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