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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shamelessly Self-promote Volunteer Programs

The following post is a response to the Energize October 2011 Hot Topic by Susan J. Ellis “What Leaders of Volunteers Can DO to Gain Executive Attention”.

Thank you for your hot topic Susan.  It provides valuable insight in how we can gain attention for our sector.  I would like to perhaps extend your first point to include – Shamelessly Self-promote!

In the very competitive promotions industry, "shamelessly self-promote" was the catch cry of the printing franchise of our home based printing business.  While my career may have changed, I have continued this mantra as I feel it works for any industry including the volunteer management sector.

Volunteer Management is about having well designed and managed volunteer programs, which utilize the skills, abilities, intellect, passion and time of volunteers, to address community needs or value adding to an existing service.  However, as you suggest Susan, there may be some people within an organisation or in the general public who may be unaware of the extent of the volunteer programs and the role which volunteers play within an organisation.

To capture the attention of executive within an organisation or the general public outside an organisation, there is always opportunity to shamelessly self-promote; whether it is a chat with the CEO at a morning tea, a chance meeting with an old friend, talking to other parents at a school function or speaking with attendees at a community event.

Depending on a person’s response to a casual mention of volunteer programs and the roles which volunteer’s play, determines the level of knowledge that the person has of the existing volunteer programs. 

If the mention of volunteer programs is met with disinterest then there may be a preconceived idea of the role of volunteers which the person may be identifying with.  A response of pleasant surprise may indicate that the person may not have been aware of the full extent of the existing volunteer programs or how volunteers may be engaged.  By having these conversations it may be possible to identify target markets where further promotion of existing volunteer programs may be needed.

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