Adam Janes - OAVR Membership & Engagement
I am coming up on my 4 year anniversary as a full-time manager of Volunteers. I have been with Christie Lake Kids for almost 5 years and volunteered with CLK the year before that (proof that volunteering is good for your career). I also volunteer with Volunteer Ottawa as a Workshop Facilitator and Community Speaker.
When I am not engaging people in giving their time to amazing causes I am usually being Daddy to my three kids and hanging out with them, board games, road trips and fun!
I love to learn about people and new perspectives, writing and connecting with others.
Volunteer Management - What I didn’t know
Check out one of my blogs below to learn more about me and my most recent project.
(Preaching to the Choir Edition)
I have been fortunate to join the board at OAVR last year and at about the same time I became the volunteer engagement consultant to an innovation platform called www.beyondthebakesale.ca. In 2020 we will be exploring great topics like building a volunteer program, special guests and different perspectives on the Catalyst for Change: Roadmap to a Stronger Charitable Sector and youth champions of altruism, both in podcast and blog formats!
There are lots of cliches and wisdom around knowing: 'You don't know until you try', 'the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know', 'know-thyself', 'you don't know what you got till it's gone… they paved paradise…' ok, you know I got you on that one.
I like to say, in cliche like fashion, that cliches are cliches because they are mostly true.
Within the widely unknown world of Volunteer Management, all these knowing cliches could be true. I have been working in the not for profit sector for well over a decade, but it was only in the past three years as a volunteer engagement professional that I truly understood all that goes into it (and what professionals in the field are doing to do it well). I didn’t know there was a whole Volunteer Engagement world going on!
Let me take you back to 2007... Yes, we can say back to 2007 now, it was 13 years ago. I was running two youth programs for youth aged 10-12 and 13-17. I started small, like five people small. But as I built up the program, we began having a couple of dozen youth regularly out to join us. It was becoming a lot for myself and my wife (my only volunteer at the time, five-time volunteer of the month champ btw) to handle. So we did what all growing community groups did: we started looking around for volunteers. Little did I know where this first search would take me.
You yourself may have recruited a volunteer or two (Or a thousand), or gotten a few moms and dads together for… a bake sale… Asking two or three people for help is a lot like running a mom and pop shop. There is a lot to do, but most engagement can happen ad-hoc, and there is little need for screening, training, recognition, onboarding, recruitment, evaluation, retention programs and strategies. When you only need a couple of people, a help wanted sign, and a short conversation might do the trick.
Once your program reaches 25, 50, 100 or even 1000 people, it intensifies in complexity at each level. I have heard it compared to business HR management, but without having money as a motivator (we will get back to that in another blog) but there is even more to it than that comparison. If you have been the lead in managing and motivating people you know there are lots of things to consider. You know walking the line between quality work and human consideration is a place of challenge and of opportunity.
“Walking the line between quality work and human consideration is a place of challenge and of opportunity.”
The volunteer relationship can be complex. Even early on, I realized, wow, how can I say thanks to these great people for helping with the program I was leading? How can I equip them? How can I keep them engaged for longer? How can we make an even bigger impact? How can I keep getting them to do quality work without financial compensation?
- Adam Janes
Now while polishing the finishing touches on a full-scale volunteer program, I certainly did not know what all goes into building one until I began building it. I think like many this is unexplored territory and an area that I am excited to give time to sharing about but also reflecting on what makes it work. Over the coming weeks, I hope to share with you, the good reader, the blueprints, action steps and missed-steps of building up an Innovative Volunteer Program.
That's all for now, check out the latest podcast to bring you beyond the bake sale at www.btbs.ca