June 23, 2009

NCVS Blog - Tuesday 7PM

Just leaving a "listening session" hosted by the leadership of the Corporation of National & Community Service. It has been a long and full day of great workshops and really good networking. I even got my copy of The Charismatic Organization signed by the authors. Over all, it's been a pretty banner day. However, something has been nagging at me and I'm hoping that I can better explain it as the week goes on...

All of this focus on service and volunteerism is fantastic, but it seems as though there is a lack of understanding regarding the systems needed to support a volunteer program and the myriad other back office details related to the pursuit of service delivery.

I was in workshops with titles like, "Service as a Solution: Service and the Road to Recovery," "The New Volunteer Workforce," and "Developing the Next Generation of Leaders," but conversations surrounding the actual support of volunteers from an organizational standpoint seems to be lacking.

Maybe it's because everyone has it figured out, but I doubt that. I fear that it is because people, even those with years of experience in the sector, desperately want consequence-free help with fulfilling their mission. That probably sounds really harsh, but I believe that in large part it's true. Volunteers take time, energy, and resources to recruit, train, manage, and retain - yet, so far the focus these last two days have been on the individual volunteer...

I would love to hear your thoughts - and be sure that mine will become more coherent as the conference unfolds.

"It is wiser to find out than to suppose."
Mark Twain

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