We have to stop the misconception that volunteers are possessions, and until we throw them out, they will keep coming back up to the moment they wear out or die. Instead, let’s speak of volunteers as temporary from the start. They are with us for the time that benefits us and them, not forever or until we dump them. Let’s speak about the privilege to have them for one event, one week, one season or one year. Never forever.
Experiential learning teaches us to apply knowledge from doing. It forces us to experiment until we get things right.
Let those tucked away regrets motivate you to be constructive so they don’t turn into full-on guilt. Regrets can either keep us paralyzed by guilt or they can motivate us to grow by making us constructive.
I’ve had volunteers who stole, volunteers who pushed an agenda, volunteers who wanted to take over and volunteers who were just mean. I’ve also had volunteers who messed up royally because they did something nice, but so misplaced that it caused real harm.
To reframe volunteer engagement and impact, we first need listeners who become supporters who then become advocates for our vision. Our reputation needs to reflect our self-identity as leaders of volunteers.
As a leader of volunteers, you know you possess all sorts of wonderful traits, but how do you exhibit them at work? Or, could it be that (as I’ve experienced more times than I care to admit) what seems obvious to you is not obvious at all?
Being zombified means through stressors, you’ve lost your vitality, your human essence. You’ve lost you.
When you hear a volunteer laughingly repeat, “I know, we’re all valuable in making this change work,” you’re on the right track.
It takes emotional time and energy to be an empathetic listener. Are we being emotionally drained or are we benefiting from empathetic listening?
Unlike HR folks, who contend with active staff, volunteer managers are tethered to every volunteer, whether they are actively volunteering or they’re rotating in the periphery.