Genevieve’s favorite spot is a little nook in back of the conference room where she sometimes sits to contemplate her job.
“I’m the sole volunteer coordinator here and often I have other duties in marketing when they need extra hands. I feel so connected to our volunteers and want them to succeed, but often I feel almost out-of-place in staff meetings. I feel like an outsider sometimes. Once in a while I meet another volunteer coordinator and I get this rush of camaraderie that is overwhelming, because, you know, I think, here’s someone who understands me, my challenges and my passion!”
Because our profession is just a bit different from any other, we can often feel isolated and think that only other volunteer managers understand our challenges.
When I started managing volunteers back in the 90’s, the internet was fledgling at best and heck I had to practically beat my kids to get at our one computer with a 33MHz processor, and 8 MBs of RAM. (Ok, I didn’t beat my kids, but yes, we had the upgrade to 8MBs of RAM-I thought we were so cool).
Peer group meetings were one of the only ways to connect with other volunteer coordinators and learn about new programs and current theories on volunteer management. National conferences were the best way to hear about the exciting new trends in volunteering, but often monies were not available to pay the fees to attend.
As the internet grew, and the ease of searching for information increased, finding helpful advice became a daily way of connecting for me. I became a research junkie, and it helped shaped the way I approached volunteer management. It gave me confidence when I was on the right track and cautioned me when I went off the rails.
Today, no volunteer coordinator has to be an island. Volunteer experts abound and are graciously willing to share their experiences and vast knowledge with us. And the internet has created ways to share information with each other. As I continued to feed the research junkie within me, I decided to create a pinterest board and more recently a flipboard to post the articles that speak to volunteer management. Sometimes an article is about leadership or time management or stress relief and work/life balance, but hopefully they all give us knowledge, inspiration and an impetus to succeed.
Please feel free to use these boards to read the experts and discover new ways of recruiting and managing volunteers. And always remember, we are not islands, we are a community.