Sunday, July 10, 2011

Credentialing Volunteer Management

Susan J. Ellis in her hot topic "Needed: A Multi-level Approach to Credentialing Volunteer Management" presented a frank narrative on some of the realities of our profession.  In her article she discussed learning opportunities, currently available, which could lead to the credentialing of our profession. Susan asks readers for their feelings on certification and qualifications in volunteer management.  She also asks about the relevance to the reader of having certification for our profession. 

My response to the hot topic is as follows:

I had the opportunity last year to gain a part scholarship for a Certificate IV in Volunteer Coordination. While a death in the family meant postponing the course, I have since given it very careful consideration and have decided against doing the course for the following reasons.  The course covered basic volunteer coordination skills.  The course was structured to provide a Certificate IV for recognition of prior learning based on evidence of skills gained on the job.  While the assumption was made by the course providers that I had no qualifications, I actually have two qualifications, a Bachelor’s Degree and an Associate Diploma in related business fields.  To invest money in obtaining a lower level qualification where I would learn no new skills or advanced concepts would be a complete waste of money, time and effort.  I incorporate the knowledge gained from my current qualifications into my career and many other aspects of my life.  I believe that study pursued at a diploma or degree level broadens the mind to think beyond basic concepts and evolves creative, innovative thought processes.

I do not fit the mould.  I never have and never will.  Some say I am a free spirit or a free thinker, a label that I am happy to wear.  Generally, I do not believe in pigeon holing, labelling or stereotyping for to do so gives a one size fits all approach.  We are all different.  How we learn and the speed at which we learn is different.  Our perceptions, belief systems, attitudes, values and the way in which we think determine how we will utilize information and evolve.

I would encourage volunteer managers to gain a Diploma or Degree in Business incorporating a major in Volunteer Management.  Many business qualifications provide a broad range of skills including, human resources, accounting, group dynamics and psychology, marketing, information technology and systems, statistics and more.  I do not believe that volunteer management is currently offered as a major of a business qualification but I think that it should be.

My preference for courses for myself would be one to three day courses in leadership, strategic planning, advocacy and ethics to name just a few.  I am interested in advanced concepts which challenge and encourage intellectual discussion. I believe that to bring about certification of our profession we need to have a collective, positive, proactive, voice to make the changes necessary to make our sector a recognised and valued profession.

To read Susan J. Ellis'  hot topic and other responses, click on the title of this blog post.

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