Why Don't Job Banks Include Volunteer Management as a Profession? (Applying My September Hot Topic to Real-Life Situations)
As I was composing this month’s Hot Topic about asking “Why?” to put things into context and enable forward progress, I received an e-mail from Hillary Roberts of Blankie Depot (she’s one of the most consistent and savvy responders to my Hot Topic). She wanted to tell me that Bridgestar’s nonprofit job bank has “no reference to volunteer resource management or the word volunteer anywhere within the parameters of a job search. Even ‘volunteer coordinator’ is missing.” She suggested that this might be a great idea for an online discussion: “How do volunteer resource managers job hunt and why haven't job banks included our profession?”
I agree that it would be very interesting to examine how our colleagues hunt for jobs in our field, but who is responsible for the omission in the job banks? Bridgestar and CareerBuilder.com seem to have nothing under the key words “volunteer management,” though Monster.com does. Why no consistency? Is the real problem that employers do not post job openings with a title such as “volunteer resources manager” or “volunteer program coordinator”? Perhaps job banks have the same problem that we have ourselves in identifying how to classify where volunteer resources “fits”: In general management? Membership development? Human resources?
So this is a good situation in which to practice my Hot Topic advice. Sometimes, on behalf of our profession, we need to go public in asking “why?” Every one of us can send a message to the source of any omission such as this – or inappropriate reference to volunteers in a news story or whatever – and simply challenge the rationale. Get the source to explain why the situation exists or the comment was said. Or at least put them on notice that someone is paying attention and can identify thoughtless or uninformed actions.
In the meantime, it would be helpful to the rest of our field if each of you could share how you found your current position as a leader of volunteers or volunteer engagement. Was it thrust upon your already busy workload? Did you discover it in an online job listing? If so, which one?
P.S. Energize has been posting volunteer management job opportunities to our Web site for 15 years (at no charge to employers). We are happy to spread the word about openings and internships specifically related to leading volunteers!
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