The Quest for the Volunteer Management Universal Hashtag

Your vote counts. Help us find a universal hashtag for our profession!

Universal Hashtag FramedA couple of months ago, CVA Liza Dyer cooked up an idea — and I happily went along with it: we would round up nominations for a universal hashtag – one singular hashtag that communicates what’s most essential about our profession to the rest of the world.

It all started when Liza and I were confused-at-the-same time about the vast array of hashtags currently used to tweet or promote our profession in the social media realm. Wasn’t there one tag in particular that set the standard?

That’s when Liza suggested that we ask thought leaders in our field to brainstorm and suggest possible hashtags, with the notion that the list of nominees would feature one hashtag that’s a cut above the rest.

So that’s what we did – we asked a group of influencers to nominate hashtag contenders.  We got a terrific response and came away with plenty of intriguing options  – 18 nominations in all.

Now it’s your turn.

We want you to vote and help us identify the Ultimate Universal Hashtag for the Profession of Volunteer Management.

But – it may not be so easy to choose the best hashtag because words matter.

Take a look at this list:

  • Management
  • Engagement
  • Leadership
  • Power

You will find these words embedded in the proposed hashtags, and each one says something different and extremely valid about our profession.

The question is, which one is most important?  Which word really pinpoints what’s most valuable about our role as professionals in a field that supports and elevates volunteers?

Right now I’m still undecided.  I’m leaning towards tags that include the word “power,” because I see us as stewards of a mighty force for good, namely volunteers.

I am also drawn to any hashtag with “leader” in its name – I want to remind readers that we do much more than “coordinate” volunteers: we lead programs that create a greater impact and expand possibilities for our communities.

Then again, the word “engagement” does such a great job of describing how we relate to our volunteers and how our volunteers relate to our causes.

And of course, we all recognize “volunteer management”  because it’s arguably the most common phrase used to describe this profession.

By the time I place my vote, I will have spent some quality time reflecting on all the options and deciding which words hold the most meaning.

I ask you to go through a similar process before you vote on your preferred hashtags.  In this election year, let the best hashtag win.

Check out the Universal Hashtag Nominees and select your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place choices at by Tuesday, September 6.


Tweet this Post! If you want to spread the word about the Universal Hashtag Vote, feel free to share this message:

Your vote counts! Help us find a universal hashtag for the profession of volunteer management, @THNonprofit @Lizaface


  • Elisa,

    I love this topic, and truthfully, I’ve recently (within the last 24 hours) struggled with knowing which hashtag to use as well. I did vote already. But I won’t disclose the hashtags I chose, in efforts to not inadvertently influence future votes. What I wanted to do is just add to what you’re saying about words. Words mean so much and also have an underlying meaning, sometimes giving insight to how a person views something or someone.

    For example, I recently stumbled across a slideshare that Liza created about how we don’t use volunteers, and it’s true. When I hear someone say “let’s use volunteers to do the project” I quickly (but tactfully) correct them. BUT, it gives me insight to how someone values volunteers when they say the words “use” instead of “engage.” It communicates to me, that the person using the words “use” place a lesser value or consideration to volunteerism.

    So going back to the words chosen, Management, Engagement, Leadership and Power. Each word has a very specific place for me when I think of the use in the context of Volunteer Management. I see Management as the key word for volunteer administrators. Both because it’s the most often used, but also because I think it’s the one that encompasses what to me is a system or process of “best practices.” Leadership though, to me is something not everybody can muster up or possess. Not everybody can be a good leader. Engagement, well that’s the byproduct of good Management. And Power, that’s what’s broadcast through the impact and results of the Engagement creating a ripple effect of positive change (e.g. Volunteer Power). But to me, everybody can learn the skills and processes necessary to manage a program and not necessarily need be a Leader. You can be a good Leader, be influential, and still fundamentally not understand how to Manage a program, other people or resources.

    This is something I could probably philosophically discuss all night if I let myself. So anyway, I also think words are very powerful and I’m glad you folks are taking a lead and initiative to getting this conversation going. I can’t wait to see what folks chose!

    Love the topic so much that when I get to the office tomorrow I’m going to discuss this with colleagues!


    • Jerome, I appreciate how you approached your hashtag vote with so much careful thought. And you raise some good points about the differences between managers and leaders and the need for both. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Hi Jerome! Thanks so much for voting on hashtags and checking out my slides about “using” volunteers. Seems that a lot of people don’t think about the words they say, but words do indeed hold a lot of power. Hope the conversations with your colleagues went well!

  • I voted! What a brilliant idea, (thank you Liza and Elisa). I am looking forward to a “go-to” hashtag that will contain the helpful information we need. Many thanks for spearheading this important campaign!

    • Thanks for voting, Meridian. It’s been fun to watch the campaign’s progress and see our community weigh in on that final hashtag. Can’t wait to see which one “wins.”

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