Kate and I were having a coffee the other day (well term of expression – she was drinking herbal tea and I had a fruit juice). Anyway, she said that she has a concern about the rising trend of organisations engaging consultants to develop a volunteering strategy. It raised questions for me – do I agree with her or not? (Bearing in mind that as a consultant this is one of the things that I do?)
There is a part of me that says of course consultants should not be brought in to an organsiation that already has paid employees with a remit and expertise in volunteering. A paid external consultant would probably make similar recommendations to the exisiting staff member(s) and while it is true that the external consultant may have more perceived credibility because they are external, isn't that one of the driving forces of AVM – to ensure that managers of volunteers have respect and credibility within their organisations?
And then I thought… there is more going on here. Why, if an organisation has money to spare to throw at a consultant, and they recognise the need for someone with the skills, knowledge and experience to develop a volunteering strategy, why don't they look at their exisiting volunteer managers and just pay them more to do the additional, more complex work??
I am not sure that I approve of people on low salaries and lower down the hierarchy in any organsiation taking on senior responsibilities without proper reward (and am certain this was not what Kate was implying). But the truth is that many organisations bring in consultants that have little or no operational experience of managing volunteers to develop strategies that may be unworkable or unfeasible, and as a community of professionals perhaps we should be saying soemthing about that.
What do you think?