Quantity vs. Quality: The Age Old Debate in Relation to Volunteerism

Posted by: in Central East

I was at the Vitalize conference in Edmonton last week and wow was it motivating. Not only did I make some great new networks but I was reminded of the importance of my job as a Regional Capacity Coordinator. Although it is great to be validated it also reminded me that I can always work more efficiently and effectively to do a better job.

One of the most motivating sessions was a debate that questioned volunteerism in Alberta. Karen Lynch, the Executive Director of Volunteer Alberta and the MC for a debate during the final day of Vitalize, really made me (and I am sure everyone else at the conference) wonder whether or not the nonprofit/voluntary sector in Alberta has enough volunteers. Specifically, the debate questioned if we have enough volunteers or if existing volunteers need to be engaged and utilized more efficiently?

An awesome debate that involved 3 mature and experienced individuals opposed by 3 young and strong minded individuals; ensued. The debate became quite heated as the younger folks insisted that until every person in Alberta wants to be engaged or is engaged in volunteerism we will not have enough volunteers. On the mature side of the debate, there were several counter arguments.  For example, it was pointed out that the number of volunteers is always growing but most volunteers do not use their expertise in their volunteer roles resulting in useful skills being under-utilized. There were many other counter arguments on both sides but I was the most surprised when the audience was given the chance to share their stand. By far the group agreed that we need more volunteers. I was particularly surprised because I believed that quality and efficiency is more important.

I stand by my opinion that the 19,000 nonprofit/voluntary organizations (NPVS) in Alberta do have enough volunteers. There are enough bodies – they are just simply not utilized as best as they could be.  The reason I feel passionately about this is because KnowledgeConnector and my role works to help create more efficient leaders. We are not looking at getting more leaders but rather, looking at what they can do to be the leaders they were meant to by supporting them with learning to more effectively work with their volunteers.

A debate like this one most definitely has strong arguments on both sides but I ask you to challenge me. Feel free call, email or post a comment!

I would love to set up a workshop in your community to identify your organization’s learning strengths and gaps and connect you with opportunities to more effectively meet your mission with the movers and shakers that you know you work with.

Victoria Poschadel | P: 780.945.6134 | E:

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3 Comments on “Quantity vs. Quality: The Age Old Debate in Relation to Volunteerism”

  • Amanda June 22nd, 2011 12:00 AM

    I agree with you Victoria, there are enough volunteers!! Curious what other think?

  • Victoria June 22nd, 2011 1:48 AM

    Me too! Thoughts and/or ideas to the contrary are welcome!

  • Yvonne at June 22nd, 2011 7:02 PM

    Thank You for your summary comments! Much appreciated as I attended CAVR instead.

Rural Alberta Development Fund Volunteer Alberta
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