October 19, 2021

What I’ve learned about leaders of volunteers during pandemic

Some volunteer leaders have lost their jobs.  Many are being furloughed or reassigned while their facilities are closed to the public and volunteers.  Others are working for organizations whose operations have been revamped to meet the needs of those affected by the virus.  Some are working from home, others are on the frontlines.  And, still others are seeing an influx of volunteers eager to make a difference and experience a sense of normalcy.  

 

The virus has upended life as we knew it.  And, from my perspective, the trend seems to be that there isn’t any one trend.  We’re living in what William Bridges calls the neutral zone.  We’re caught between an “ending” when the virus began and a “beginning,” the timing of which is uncertain.  It’s a time of confusion, anxiety and frustration for many.  And, ironically a time of great creativity as well. 

 

For the past six months, I’ve been looking at our changing landscape.  Searching online, attending webinars, reading blogs, following thought-leaders.  I’m sure there’s more going on behind the scenes, but here’s my short list.  Volunteer leaders are 

 

  • Engaging in online learning and weekly discussions
  • Mentoring, supporting and encouraging their peers and colleagues
  • Sharing resources, developing guides, creating new policies
  • Identifying new opportunities and supporting virtual and remote volunteers 
  • Learning how to utilize new communication tools and technologies, and  
  • Creating strategies to stay in touch with their volunteers and community partners.

 

Volunteer leaders are adapting.  They’re flexible and creative.  They’re partnering with their organizations and volunteers to find solutions to the myriad of problems created by this health crisis.  

 

I believe that when we are finally able to move about safely again, we’ll see many new volunteers and business partners who want to help solve the problems created during the pandemic.  And, based on what I’ve observed to date, I know that these leaders will be ready to meet that challenge.

 

Resource:  Pandemic Sparking New Wave of Volunteerism  https://www.thenonprofittimes.com/hr/pandemic-sparking-new-wave-of-volunteerism/

Working for the Earth

Working For The Earth - Non Profit Consulting and Training - Wendy Biro-Pollard\
I’m sure this speech is making the rounds.  May this posting  provide inspiration and hope to all of you who inspire and serve.  The text speaks for itself!

PAUL HAWKEN’S COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

 Class of 2009, University of Portland, May 3rd, 2009

“Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.”

When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” Boy, no pressure there.

But let’s begin with the startling part. Hey, Class of 2009: you are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation – but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.

This planet came with a set of operating instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Important rules like don’t poison the water, soil, or air, and don’t let the earth get overcrowded, and don’t touch the thermostat have been broken. Buckminster Fuller said that spaceship earth was so ingeniously designed that no one has a clue that we are on one, flying through the universe at a million miles per hour, with no need for seatbelts, lots of room in coach, and really good food – but all that is changing.

There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING. The earth couldn’t afford to send any recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.
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