Strand C: A Pie and a Pint each!…..That said, it’s not a money thing.

Given that members of AVM are in the main managers of volunteers, I wonder who is going to “develop us”.

Perhaps we should give Strand C funding to those managers who manage paid staff, as many of us still seem to be in awe of them, perhaps owing to the fact that we are often riddled with self doubt as to our professional legitimacy.

One of the key things we must do and which I have said time and time again; is that we must stop seeing others outside of the voluntary management community as being the problem, and the reason why we don’t get the professional recognition we crave.

If we need to develop in any area and make Strand C funding worth anything more than a pie and a pint per person, then we must learn to start being more self-aware, self critical, whilst at the same time become more pro-active, political, assertive, and sometimes even angry about our profession, or it/we will always be seen as being less than when compared to those who manage paid staff.

We must start this in our own backyard, for no amount of money alone will overcome an often ingrained volunteer manager attitude, where we ourselves feel it is ok that people manage volunteers as part of their role; in other words as a bolt on extra, often done on the cheap, and taking second/third/fourth place to other elements of that persons role.

Equally, we need to address the tendency we have to judge our success by the number of volunteers we “manage”.

I feel that this mindset makes us a laughing stock; in that no one person can effectively manage the numbers volunteer managers often quote; more to the point we proudly quote such numbers as part time workers, or where, and I cant tell you how much I loathe this statement “I manage volunteers as part of my role”, (one presumes whilst doing other things!)

Is it any wonder then why those who manage paid staff often think/feel we haven’t a clue viz real management; or that our role is so easy that anyone can do it as part of another role, for how many paid managers strut proudly around like Peacocks telling people how many 100’s of paid staff they manage, as a symbol of how good a manager they are?

No! what we need to be saying very clearly is that volunteer managers have come of age in their own right, we are a unique form of management with a very different skills set, and a very different way of managing people; we are afterall the people who get volunteers to come in, come rain or shine, hail and snow; to volunteer come hell and high water, and without financial incentive over and above legitimate expenses, now how many managers of paid staff could do that if they took that staff members wage away?

So NO, lets not “encourage people to recognise and accept that managing volunteers is part of their own role”

But rather lets us say volunteer management is our role, it should never be part of another role but fully recognised in its own right!, both as a discipline/profession, and in terms of remuneration comparable with those who manage paid staff.

This begins with volunteer managers valuing themselves not with insultingly small amounts of funding from Strand C/D/E/F or Z!

We need to stop bieng so fluffy and light weight, stop navel gazing, wallowing in self pity, self doubt and self deprecation, and to look in the mirror, know who we, are and say proudly to the world


4 thoughts on “Strand C: A Pie and a Pint each!…..That said, it’s not a money thing.

  1.  Totally agree with this article, management is precisely that, managing people and projects, regardless of whether it be volunteers, paid staff or which sector you’re working in.  There is a bigger issue here around the voluntary sector not being given the national credit it deserves, when compared to the private or public sector, although I have to say on a local level this is not the case.  I don’t want to be so cynical but I do fear for future 3rd sector funding regarding the economic climate.  We and hundreds/thousands of other 3rd sector organisations constantly battle to prove our worth and showcase the impact of our work.  The possible impact of a further lack of resource regarding 3rd sector projects will see volunteer management continue as a bolt on in many organisations.   

  2. Approximately 145,000 of the 171,000 charities in the UK have incomes of less than £100,000 per annum (The UK Civil Society Almanac, 2009)Who manages the volunteers for these charities? I’m not sure that many would be able to afford a paid volunteer manager, and many will be too small to have consciously considered making volunteer management a specific role for one person. However, someone will still being doing the volunteer management tasks, even if they don’t recognise this it what they are doing! And even if the organisation found someone who agreed to be a ‘designated volunteer manager’, then you can bet a pound to a penny that this person will be doing a whole raft of other stuff to support the charity!So if we fail to “encourage people to recognise and accept that managing volunteers is part of their own role” then arguably we fail to engage with 145,000 charities. Surely we have a duty to do more than ignore the contribution (both potential and realised) that these people make to volunteer management in the UK.But rather let us say volunteer management is a key part of their role, it is inevitably part of another role but should be fully recognised for what it is!, both as a discipline/profession, and in terms of recognition and responsibility comparable with those who manage paid staff.They need to stop being so unaware of the contribution they can make to their charity by enhancing how volunteers are managed, and look in the mirror, know who they are and say proudly to the world:”I AM A VOLUNTEER MANAGER!” 

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