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Should Volunteer Administration Be a "Profession"?

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Why did we choose "Should Volunteer Administration Be a 'Profession'?" as our inaugural topic for "Points of View?" Quite simply, it is because the jury is still out on whether or not it is a profession. This is not a debate over the need for professional skills and attitudes. We have written reams of material urging the acquisition of both. Rather, we are considering the validity of formalizing our work into something recognized by others as not simply a highly-skilled job, but instead as a "profession." Note, too, that someone can make a career out of volunteer administration, whether or not it is considered a "profession." 

Yes...Susan Ellis

Let's start by discarding the issue of pay as irrelevant. While it is true that the practice of any profession most often allows members to earn a living (and usually, but not always, a better wage than someone outside of a profession), being on the payroll is not, in itself, a criterion for recognition as a profession. It is possible to work in the field of volunteer administration both as a paid employee and as a volunteer. This scenario is not different from that of doctors or architects who choose to volunteer their services to causes that matter to them. The expertise of those in the medical and design fields are not questioned when no paycheck is evident. 
 

No...Steve McCurley

The first AVA business meeting I ever attended (roughly 25 years ago) featured a rousing argument over whether membership in AVA should be restricted to "paid" managers of volunteers. Those speaking in favor of this proposition cited the need to demonstrate the "professional" nature of the field, something that would lead to increased respect and greater pay. 
 
I was so baffled that it took five years of coaxing to get me to go back to my second meeting.