Month: December 2017

I am quite interested in the standard assumption

I am quite interested in the standard assumption that Volunteer Managers should have been volunteers themselves. Not that I necessarily think that is wrong, its just that I wonder how many other jobs have a similar requirement. For instance do we ask candidates for fundraising roles how much money they personally give to charity, or whether they have ever done a sponsored fun run (for all I know those may be standard questions, I’ve never been involved in recruitment for a fundraiser!).

I just think it adds an interesting extra dimension on to the requirements for the role. I don’t think I have ever met a Volunteer Manager who has not previously been a volunteer, and the majority seem to currently be volunteers as well, but if this is a required piece of professional development rather than a free choice, it could potentially be seen as an extra burden on an already low paid and unstable role.

On a similar topic, I have seen quite a few adverts for volunteer management positions that have suggested that previous experience of being a volunteer is AS important as previous volunteer management experience, and that does worry me. Having been a volunteer, and experienced how the way you are managed affects your work, is an extremely valuable experience, but it does not teach you all you need to know about being a volunteer manager. We would never suggest that anyone who has ever been an employee could automatically just step into an HR role, so it is illogical that we do the same with volunteering.

There are of course lots of volunteers who manage and support other volunteers, and do have the relevant experience, but there are also lots of gardening, retail, helpline, museum etc etc volunteers who do not. I wonder if we need to be clearer that being a volunteer and being a a volunteer manager (paid or unpaid) are two very different experiences.