Over the last few months, the Association of Volunteer Managers has been consulting with its members on the case for a code of practice and the role that having one might play. When discussing a code of practice, it’s natural to go straight to a practical discussion about how a code, framed in this... [more]
Today’s Thoughtful Thursday comes from a blog previously published on the Volunteer Scotland website. It’s a topic that I've discussed with fellow volunteer managers a few times in recent years, but have never quite got to the bottom of it. So if it’s something you've discussed previously or have... [more]
We have a new blog out, a guest post from Mel White looking at "Mandated volunteering - a two country perspective" http://buff.ly/1tTcER3
Great blog and definitely food for thought!
I have been doing a lot of reading on volunteer management recently, and there’s one author in particular that has captivated me and challenged my views – Wally Harbert. It was Wally’s book Baby boomers and the big society that inspired me to write this week’s Thoughtful Thursday blog. It got me thi... [more]
The following extract is taken from a piece provided by Jonathan Swift, who at the time of writing was working with Manchester Deaf Centre… I’d like to begin by sharing with you something that happened to me recently. Below is a fairly-accurate, direct transcript of events. It’s worth pointing out t... [more]
So inevitably my blog this week is about the big social media meme from last month. You’d need to have slept through August not to know what I’m talking about. For some reason it captured the world wide web’s collective imagination in a big way. Of course I’m talking about the campaign to rescue... [more]
I have an unexpected free morning today, the first Thursday in ages, so am relishing having some time to enjoy my #ttvolmgrs
Loving this topic and motivations is a topic I've been discussing with colleagues from volunteer-involving groups for some time. We have some groups who only want a certain type of volunteer as they perceive they are the motivated to volunteer for the ‘right’ reasons eg white, female, over 50. This is the type of volunteer they’ve had in the past, but with many orgs struggling to recruit volunteers they need to engage a broader range of age groups and skill sets. Their attitude is probably why they are struggling to get volunteers in some cases. It sounds appalling in this day and age that diversity seems to be theory rather than practice for many orgs, but sadly this is often the case, and some orgs perceive that only certain people are the ‘right’ volunteer and have the ‘right’ motivations!
I think any motivation to contribute as a volunteer is valid, if they want to give their time it should be appreciated. Apart from coercion from certain nameless organisations, who threaten people into volunteering, but that’s another blog discussion! What they will get out of the volunteering experience will differ depending on that motivation, but as long as both the volunteer and the organisation benefit, does it matter? Everyone is different, but everyone has something to offer.
The challenge as volunteer managers is trying to spot what the motivators are and develop them. If someone only wants to volunteer to get the right skills to get into work, is that any less ‘noble’ than volunteering because they want to give their time to a charity who supported a friend or relative? Trying to spot motivators is a piece of cake with some volunteers, whereas others will need ferretting out by various means – a conversation, observation, comments from clients they are supporting etc. This is another one of the many skills in the volunteer manager’s repertoire!
Channelling the motivations is easier once you know what’s motivating them. If someone is volunteering to enhance their social life, they need to be provided with opportunities to socialise, as this will motivate them to continue volunteering. For other volunteers looking for a change of career path, they need to have regular challenges and planned targets. Again it’s up to us as volunteer managers to meet their needs and adapt what they are doing where possible to help them achieve their goals.