charities, finding inspiration, managing volunteers, NGO, non-profit, organizations, volunteer, volunteer coordinator, volunteer management, volunteer manager, volunteering, volunteers
“It’s one of those universal truths,” Desmond sighed. “I can tell my children how brilliant and wonderful they are, but it never really sinks in until one of their teachers or coaches say it.”
It’s kinda true. When a relative says you’re great, well, they’re a relative, right? They have to say it, sorta like they have to show up at your graduation and yawn through the speeches while you endure all the cheek pinching.
But when a non-related member of society says you’re great, like a teacher or coach or crabby neighbor, then those praises really mean something. That one person who looks you in the eye at a particular moment and tells you that you have worth can change an entire lifetime of self doubt. That person might be the violin teacher, or physical therapist or volunteer or……. volunteer manager.
Every day, volunteer managers are changing the perspective of people who volunteer. Every day, we look at the value of the human being in front of us and encourage the qualities and talents we observe. It’s our jobs, but it’s so much more because oftentimes you have no idea that you have changed someone’s perspective. Oh, you might have an inkling now and then. You may be honestly praising someone when you see a spark, and as your words of encouragement travel deep into that volunteer’s soul, you see the clouds of self-doubt part for an instant. Yeah, it’s that moment that you cherish.
What we say and how we treat our volunteers, no matter how brief our encounter, has a lasting effect on them and ultimately on us. (We get to fill up our knapsack of positive energy by the cultivation of others)
Every day, a volunteer manager tells or shows:
- A struggling student that they are smart and capable.
- A shy introvert that we hear them and their opinions are valid.
- A stressed out parent that they’ve done a good job because their child is a pleasure to work with.
- A person feeling worthless that clients adore them.
- A hesitant comic that their joy is infectious.
- A disheartened creative type that their ideas are inspired.
- A mother who wonders whether she’s more than a bottle washer that she is brilliant.
- A broken-heart that love is all around.
- A grieving soul that they are surrounded by gentleness.
- A beaten down worker that their contributions are valuable.
- A lonely person that they are not alone.
- A rejected artist that their creations are appreciated.
- A dispirited job seeker that their skills are needed.
- A lost person that they don’t have to walk alone.
Volunteer managers are individuals who can and will literally change another person’s perspective. How amazing is that?
So, just remember, especially when you look at your hectic day and wonder what it all means and what you have accomplished…
… you are that person.
Sue Hine said:
Thank you Meridian for this really important reminder of the influence of leadership, and the different ways of being a leader. Great post.
Thank you Sue, in our hectic days loaded with so much to do, it’s easy to forget that we are much more than a coordinator. These moments may never show up in detailed reports, but they certainly fill us up with inspiration.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Kari Knudson said:
Thank you Meridian. I have a post-it note hanging in my office with a quote from one of my volunteers: ‘I get more out of being here than you’ll ever know.’
He as a very severe case of MS and the two days he volunteers with us are the two days he leaves the house.
Thank you Kari for sharing your story. What a lovely reminder that we can have a huge positive influence on our volunteers. And what a great idea to post those comments so that we can be reminded again and again.