HOT TOPIC – SEPTEMBER 2007
By OzVPM Director, Andy Fryar
Later this month, 50 volunteer managers from Australia , New Zealand and the USA will meet in Tasmania for the 3rd Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management.
If the last two retreat experiences are anything to go by, the three days we are together in Hobart will be a time filled with energy, enthusiasm and a real commitment to our sector. Not only will this be a time to reflect and recharge, it will also be an opportunity to create some tangible actions for the profession of volunteer management that collectively, we can all work towards.
At the very first retreat, held in Canberra in 2005, the delegates adopted the catchphrase of ‘Not just 50 / Not just three’. This identified the desire of participants that the retreat experience should never just be about the people who are lucky enough to attend (there were 50 at the first retreat) or the three days they are all together. Rather, it should be an experience which has a ripple effect within the profession right throughout Australia and New Zealand and even further abroad.
As we prepare for the third retreat, there is a sense that much has been accomplished since that time. There is an ever growing core of volunteer management professionals in our region who are committed to growing the work that we all do. AAVA, the Australasian Association for Volunteer Administrators, continues to develop and grow and become more focused on their mission. Resources available for volunteer managers, both online and physical, continue to be developed.
At the same time, reliance on volunteers to deliver critical services continues to grow, often without even a sideways glance for the needs of volunteer management practices within that spectrum. The red tape continues to get thicker, technology is getting faster and volunteers themselves more fickle about who, why and when they will give their time.
So for this month’s hot topic, I wanted to pick up the ‘Not just 50 / Not just three’ mandate and give those of you who will not be at this year’s retreat the opportunity to put your hot topics and issues on the table for us to discuss in Hobart. This is your chance to be involved, even though you can’t be there physically.
So, what are the issues you would like to have considered as a part of our Hobart deliberations?
Remember, the theme of this year’s retreat is ‘Positioning Our Profession” and our discussions will largely focus on this topic. Are there issues about the way we are (or should be) positioned that you would like to air?
Your comments may be in relation to:
- How we are positioned in response to the changing needs & availability of volunteers?
- Our self image
- Available resources and training for volunteer management
- The role of AAVA as your professional Association
- The role of Volunteer Centres
- The role of government in positioning our profession
- The direction you think we should be heading in
- Dangers and perils you think the profession should avoid
Whatever your thoughts, we would love to hear them and invite you to share them through this month’s hot topic column. We certainly promise to take them on board as we prepare for the Hobart event.