Skip to main content

Keyboard Roundtable: What Does the Field Think?

Keyboard Roundtable: What Does the Field Think?

What does the field think about credentialing? In this Keyboard Roundtable, volunteer management colleagues from the UK, USA, New Zealand and Australia provide their personal and widely different perspectives on the value of a professional credential. One expert thinks credentialing can be a good thing, while another believes it is a waste of time. Yet another expert debates whether credentialing is the right thing for volunteer managers as a whole, while another questions if the field could be better at credentialing and what that means.

This special Keyboard Roundtable clearly presents some very personal opinions from people who must weigh the credentialing dilemma in their own career paths. We hope these perspectives challenge e-Volunteerism readers to share their own views and opinions, too. 

To read the full article

Tue, 12/20/2011
I believe credentialing is important. In order to be considered a profession we must establish benchmarks of proficiency and self guidance. Those of us who have gone through the process of the CVA understand that the profession itself requires responsibilities of self management and a code of ethics. When we are able to establish these behaviors and live by them in our professional lives we say to the world that Volunteer Management is more than simply aquiring skills; it also involves mentoring, advocacy and teaching. When we are able to establish benchmarks of quality as a profession we can then assist small or new organizations to reach for goals that are achievable for them. A piece of paper does not make a professional, but a process of reaching outside yourself and upward to learn why and how certainly helps.

Fri, 12/23/2011
This is a great topic. It's disheartening, however, that not more from the field are submitting comments topic. Through my state organization (Pennsylvania Society of Directors of Volunteers in Healthcare), we encourage credentialing for the CAVS (certfied administrator of volunteer services). I, for one, never want to take that CAVS exam again, but maintain the credentialing every three years through courses, workshops, conferences, mentoring, writing, etc. But the evaluation each year acknowledges what have I done to contribute to the field and the body of knowledge. I raise the bar for myself to do presentations, advocate for the field, etc. Wwhat is most gratifying is being credentialed. Internal and external stakeholders asked "what does the CAVS stand for?" When I explain to them about credentialing in the field, they say "Oh...I guess you can't just put anybody in this position to manage volunteers." There is the sense of representing the field and wanting to move it forward. The time, effort, and continuing education to do more and learn more about volunteerism is what it stands for (at least for me). With my hospital leadership, the credentialing shows that I can be on the same playing field as others in the organization. However, there are colleagues who refuse to have the credentialing. They ask "What good will it do? It won't get me any more money." I agree there are arguments to both sides. But when there is no organization to unify the thousands of volunteer administrators, to set standards like teachers, social workers or physicians, we are again at a loss and crave to be unified in some capacity. The credentialing is a start.

Tue, 12/27/2011
I feel very fortunate to have had a career for over 25 years in the field of volunteer administration. After getting a BA in Speech Communications I started my career in the non-profit world as a program manager at the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I think that the best way to raise the bar for our profession would be college level courses on volunteer management. It might be a major or minor area of study offered in human resources for non-paid personnel. I hope the next generation of volunteer administrators can be "turned on" to this awesome feild through universities offering a field of study that prepares them to be effective volunteer program managers.

Wed, 01/04/2012
Rob Jackson highlights a really interesting issue when he states: “not one of the people you might see as leaders of our field – the people who write the books we all read, speak at the major conferences we attend, and run the volunteering infrastructure bodies that affect us all - has any credential in volunteer management either. Not one. Yet they are the gurus and sages to whom we look for inspiration and wisdom.” That’s a fascinating situation, but probably brought about by the pioneering nature of the early days of volunteer management – where credentialing was neither relevant nor solicited. However, these gurus must have seen inconsistent and sub-standard practice in their field, which must have motivated them to become advocates of capturing and spreading good volunteer management practices. Their mission became one of ‘upping’ the standards and improving the volunteering experience for all volunteers. They did this with much freedom, developing and exploring what issues they felt warranted it. This was a critical stage for volunteer management – it helped to paint the landscape. Now much of the volunteer management landscape has been painted, and this freedom is now being approached with the discipline that is 'credentialing'. As in all aspects of life, the balance between freedom and discipline is key. Both are needed, and both need to acknowledge what the other has to offer, whilst recognising their own weaknesses. Here’s to the next generation of gurus, who can encourage the balancing of freedom and discipline!