Why Choosy Nonprofit Pros Choose Volunteer Engagement

If you are a volunteer manager and really enjoy what you do, but you’re considering a job change because of low pay or lack of buy-in for your program, I encourage you to do something.

Stick around for a while.

I say this after taking another look at an infographic that Liza Dyer, CVA had posted for a Volunteer Management Thoughtful Thursday blog back in December.

Followers were asked to post to a Wall of Words about what it means to be a leader of volunteers.  Liza is a Program Coordinator in Volunteer Services for the Multnomah County Library and a frequent Twenty Hats guest blogger.

Here’s what Liza posted.

Chosen profession

You probably get right away why Liza’s motto stands out. So many of us come to our positions in a roundabout way, approaching volunteer management because we’re good with people or want to do something purpose-driven – or because it’s a pleasant job to keep until we figure out what we really want to do with our lives.

And then sometimes, through what Liza calls “a series of yesses”, we start to take our work more seriously and see volunteer management as a profession and not just a job.

What Happens When We Say Yes

When we say “I’m in!” we start to acquire the experience and the expertise we need to elevate our circumstances, raise our salaries, earn a place at the table, and ultimately come to see volunteers valued for their tremendous power to fulfill the missions of our organizations.

Liza Dyer is currently a Program Coordinator in Volunteer Services at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon. Connect with Liza on Twitter @Lizaface.

Liza Dyer is a Program Coordinator in Volunteer Services at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon. Connect with Liza on Twitter @Lizaface.

Take Liza again.  Not too long ago, the executive director of a local nonprofit reached out to Liza. The ED was thinking of folding the volunteer coordinator position into a development position because funding was tight.  Liza shared her opinion – that if anything, the position needed to be enlarged because volunteers were so central to the mission of the organization.  The ED listened, brought the issue to her board, and sure enough the volunteer manager position was approved as full time.

Liza was able to influence her ED friend because she went deeper into the field of volunteer engagement.  She took some valuable steps that paid off in creating work that she finds fulfilling.  Consider the steps she took and see if they resonate for you, too.

  • She had a mentor who championed her to pursue her CVA
  • She sought out professional development opportunities
  • She became involved in her local DOVIA
  • She created a social media presence that helped her forge relationships with thought leaders

Just recently, Liza was asked to make a presentation at a national nonprofit conference – a huge stamp of approval from an organization that values the contributions of volunteers in nonprofits.  It’s an honor that came about because Liza made a commitment to her field and reaped the benefits of full participation.

What do you choose?

Ready to expand your possibilities?

Spend a day on retreat with your fellow volunteer managers, building on leadership skills and problem-solving about your own workplace goals and challenges. Learn more or email me for details!

Tweet this post!  If you agree with my POV, feel free to share this message:

Thinking of leaving the volunteer engagement field? 1 infographic and 1 post may have you rethink, http://twentyhats.com/?p=2212

4 thoughts on “Why Choosy Nonprofit Pros Choose Volunteer Engagement

  1. Mary Ella Douglas

    Elisa, thank you for putting into words what it’s like to make the decision to stay in this wonderful profession! Bravo to Liza for advocating for the profession with her colleagues–we all benefit from that sort of advocacy, and I for one, am so happy Liza made the conscious choice to remain in volunteer administration!

    1. Elisa Kosarin Post author

      Thanks, Mary Ella. There is so much to be gained by making the conscious choice to stay in this profession, isn’t there?

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