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Practicing What We Preach

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The next time you have a few volunteer program managers together, here’s an interesting exercise question:  “How many of you have volunteers working side-by-side with you to do what’s needed for successful volunteer engagement – beyond helping with clerical work?”  When we ask this in workshops we run, it always amazes (and dismays) us how few hands go up.

The rationales we present to other paid staff for why they should create assignments for volunteers apply equally to us as volunteer program managers. So why do we resist sharing our work with volunteers?  We’d be more effective in bringing dubious staff around if we walked the talk as role models, intentionally demonstrating how to partner with volunteers. After all, if we don’t trust volunteers with important tasks that matter to us, why should other staff take the risk? These are just a few of the questions that authors Susan J. Ellis and Steve McCurley explore in this quarter's Points of View.