managing volunteers, new volunteer manager, NGO, non-profit, organizations, part time volunteer manager, volunteer, volunteer coordinator, volunteer management, volunteer manager, volunteering, volunteers
I was so excited (after paying an online $78 service fee) to book a one hour session with the famous astrologer, Crystal Ball-Starrzowie in her uptown “basement of timeless possibilities.” I could not wait to learn all that is in store for volunteer managers for 2017 and so I took a bus into town, finally stumbling over two garbage cans and upon “Starrzowie’s Astrological Emporium” tucked in between a laundromat and convenience store. Crystal Ball-Starrzowie met me at the door and immediately shushed me, putting her purple cat fingernail over my lips, then she led me down past the ping-pong table to her “mystic room.” The patchouli incense burned my eyes, but I knew I had to do this for you, so I sucked it up, literally, and in between mopping the tears from my painful eyes, I wrote down her breathy predictions for volunteer managers for the coming year.
Here they are:
January 20 to February 18
Jupiter, that giant gaseous seeker planet moves into your global ninth house, indicating you will take an epic pilgrimage this year, which means you will most likely rent a family sized van and carpool a group of volunteers to a self-help seminar, where, after 15 minutes you will lose them in the crowd just as the presenter shouts, “Grab hands of the person next to you!” You will end up frantically enlisting security to help you find your missing volunteers, who have all wandered next door to the competing seminar, “Take No Prisoners, Grab What You Want Out of Life.” As you approach, the volunteers wave their seminar lists of ‘stand up rights’ and forcefully demand that they now be provided with organic snacks while volunteering and that they will pick the route on the drive home which involves stopping at the local Pottery Barn for a clearance sale.
On a more positive note, a couple of lunar eclipses enhance your self-authorizing nature and spur a long-awaited change which means you will finally raise your hand in a staff meeting and say, “while it may seem like it is easy to ‘just get volunteers to do that’, I’d love to help as best as I can. Meanwhile, may I present at next quarter’s meeting on the nuances of managing volunteers so as to give everyone a perspective on volunteer engagement?” And then you will follow through with an awesome presentation on the changing world of volunteerism. (You freakin’ rock star!)
February 19 to March 20
Saturn, the sage planet has been messing around in your success-driven 10th house and you will make some lifestyle changes, meaning that after much thought, you will decide to switch to an unlisted phone number, then you will reconsider and make that number public when you miss all the volunteers calling you at all hours, then in a fit of what most of us deem insanity, you will invite volunteers to your house for a home-made vegan dinner (which consists of canned corn and frozen zucchini because both are out of season at the farmer’s market) and a round table discussion on ‘zany ways to make volunteering more appealing’. Several volunteers choke on the clumpy corn and you meet some really nice paramedics who calm you with a shot of tranquilizers.
On a positive note, while you are considering planning a volunteer recruitment square dance, spiritual Neptune drifts through your sign, sparking real creativity. Instead, you design an open retreat for all volunteers from your community, focusing on the spiritual aspect of helping others and from this humble gathering, you not only gain new help, you forge a group relationship with other volunteer managers in your area. This group will provide much welcomed support for one another. (You creative genius!)
March 21 to April 19
Five, count them, five crazy planets influence you this March which indicates epic, grassroots advocacy, meaning you will have an epiphany one night and will picket your own organization, cajoling three volunteers to join you in carrying signs that call for the ethical treatment of volunteers. When the local TV news station shows up, having been tipped off by a staff member who is still mad you didn’t get a volunteer to run an errand for her three years ago, you run in a zigzag pattern, just like you saw on CSI into a nearby parking lot where you and two volunteers hide behind parked cars. (the third volunteer hides behind a tree making bird sounds because she just had knee surgery and can’t run.) Luckily, your executive director is not overly angry, but sits you down and challenges you to put all that leadership energy to better use.
On a more positive note, since this is the year powerful partnerships emerge for Aries, you will seek out and partner with a local corporation to combine team building with meaningful corporate volunteering, which garners a positive write-up in the local newspaper and makes your executive director very happy she didn’t fire you. (You amazing activist you!)
April 20 to May 20
Jupiter, Mr. Humongous Adventure will shake up your sixth house of routine and responsibilities, meaning you will create a giant mandala on the floor around your desk where you will place buckets representing tasks to be done, such as read email, assign volunteers, plan events, etc. Each morning you will throw handfuls of shredded documents into the air and whichever bucket gets the most scraps of paper is the task you will complete. Other staff will steer clear of your area until they can no longer bear the sound of your mantra chanting “volunteers are people too, volunteers are one with the mission,” and administration will make you remove the fire hazard burning candles.
On the other, positive hand, because your persistent nature abounds this year, you will finally convince your executive director to free up some funds to send you and several volunteers to educational training opportunities which leads to new successful and innovative projects, a few of which are piloted by those same, capable and motivated volunteers who attended the educational sessions with you. (You raging bull, you!)
May 21 to June 20
Crazy Jupiter is in retrograde from February through June giving you a chance to experiment with your already amazing style. You dye your hair purple, go completely boho and wear white t-shirts on which you have volunteers draw pictures and write their favorite quotes, uplifting messages and thoughts. You wear these “canvases of inspiration” to all meetings and events until your town’s mayor who officiates a major fund-raiser points out that on the back of your shirt is scribbled, “kick me in an inspirational place.” You then visit your local thrift store for new to you clothes, because you had given all yours away.
However, in a positive vein, the planet of surprises, Uranus influences your friendships which means, creative Gemini, that you will forge a friendship with a video maker who helps you to create a series of volunteer training videos that are informative and engaging and aids you in attracting more well-rounded volunteers. (You star, you!)
June 21 to July 22
Mars, that red planet named after the god of war, can create aggression and impulsive behavior and he makes an appearance in your house this year. Tired of being playfully called the ‘caretaker’ because you always pick up the slack to ensure that volunteers have what they need at events and assignments, you’ve finally had enough of doing other people’s jobs and you go on strike. You refuse to make another volunteer assignment until your volunteer manifesto is read over the intercom. Fearing for your mental health, HR schedules an appointment with a psychologist who happens to be the brother-in-law of a senior manager. He thoroughly agrees with you, having tried to volunteer at your organization years before you got there. Having been treated as ‘just a volunteer,’ he understands your frustration and releases you immediately, commenting that you are saner than his own family.
In the positive meantime, pesky Saturn, the sage comes into your sixth house of structure and you wisely focus on putting volunteer procedures and job descriptions into place. Your intelligent policies and procedures attract the attention of the Quality assurance folks and they enlist you to head up a task force to rewrite organization policies. (You smarty pants, you!)
Ok, enough, I have to decipher the rest of my hasty scribbling, because at this point I was wiping my eyes with my paper which smeared a lot of the notes, but I will post the rest of Ms. Ball-Starrzowie’s earth shattering predictions next week.
Happy Positive Year!