November 27, 2020

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/

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