Get ready, get set, and go . . . thank your Volunteer Managers! International Volunteer Managers Day happens this Saturday, November 5th.
Because this is the first time that I will be celebrating IVMDay, I visited their website at http://volunteermanagersday.org/ to learn more. IVMDay started as an idea of American Nan Hawthorn, a Seattle based volunteer management leader, who brought together a committee of key volunteer leaders including Susan Ellis, Steve McCurley, and Marlene Wilson. Today, the promotion of IVMDay is still being driven by a small committee with volunteers from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. However, IVMDay has also gathered supporters from fifteen additional countries across the world.
In a world where November 5th is also“Love your Red Hair Day” and “Gunpowder Day” (click here for more national days), the question is why do Volunteer Managers (VMs) need a day of celebration?
Well, I found some answers to this question in the mission / statement of values for IVMDay:
“[Volunteer Managers] practice the art of the possible.”
“Volunteer Managers change lives”
“Well-led volunteers become . . . a force no amount of money could buy.”
The theme for #IVMDay16 “Volunteer Management. One Job. Many Hats.” also gave insights into the importance of recognizing VMs. This theme was chosen because of the following reasons:
- It was fun (and all VMs know that fun is essential for effective volunteer programs!),
- It reflected a VM’s multi-dimensional skill base (hrcouncil.ca lists 11+ different competencies for VMs), and
- It represented the role that volunteer leadership plays across many areas of our society (A VM job search on monster.ca revealed positions in business, healthcare, recreation, education, and food).
Overall, I feel that IVMDay is a fantastic idea and that VMs are wonderful people to celebrate! But, there are two points that I would recommend for consideration in the future:
- While many VMs, such as me, are paid staff, I think it is important for this celebration to include the countless number of managers of volunteers who are unpaid. Every community has a large number of organizations that run solely on the power of volunteers and the volunteer leaders of those organizations also manage volunteers.
- Because volunteerism and types of volunteers are changing, I feel that successful “Volunteer Managers” are actually “Volunteer Engagers”. In a society where access to information just takes a quick Google search and the amount of information available is overwhelming, volunteers are seeking opportunities for “engagement” not “management”. Do you want further support? Just browse the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement updated in 2012 by Volunteer Canada and you will find that the word “engagement” is found just as often as “management”.
Volunteer Prince George is a proud supporter of International Volunteer Manager’s Day and has been a member of the IVMDay International Support Group for several years. Celebrate with us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VolunteerPG and wish someone you know a “Happy International Volunteer Managers Day” on November 5th!
Volunteer Prince George