By Scott Lundell
November 5th marks International Volunteer Managers Day. It’s a day set aside to recognize and appreciate those who nurture the backbone of many organizations – their volunteers.
Volunteerism, as we’ve known it, is in decline across the globe. This is not a new trend, but it was accelerated by the pandemic. And now, many organizations are reporting that the volunteers who paused their activities during that period simply aren’t returning. What does this mean for volunteer managers?
Volunteer managers have to wear many hats in a nonprofit. They’re required to be HR professionals, party planners, evaluators, and marketers. They need to be aware of trends and issues and try to implement strategies that will enhance programs and services. They need to be accountable to the needs of the volunteers of their agency while trying to balance that with what an organization needs from their volunteers.
And they usually do it with little to no resources.
Volunteer managers have a monumental task ahead of them. As volunteerism continues to evolve and redefine itself, work needs to be done to step outside of boxes, get creative, and respond to what’s emerging. Volunteers want more flexibility, are increasingly tech savvy, and want to see the impact of their efforts. They’re becoming more diverse, looking to reduce barriers, and growing more impatient with bureaucracy and paperwork.
Yet, volunteer managers are often the unsung heroes. They spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how to bring new energy in the door while trying to ensure that those who are committed to the organization stay engaged. There is a very real dance in trying to balance those two efforts. It’s not easy. And in this time of recovery and transformation, we need to ensure volunteer managers have the resources, tools, and authority to reimagine how their organizations engage with volunteers.
So today, we celebrate these professionals who care for the precious resource of volunteerism. As their landscape shifts and changes at an increasingly rapid pace, their flexibility and dedication should be recognized and rewarded. Today is about celebrating those that care for the caregivers.
Happy International Volunteer Managers Day!
2023 IMVD THEME