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Volunteer Leadership in an Alternative Future by Scott Miller

“Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt … Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists … Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine the world anew. This one is no different.” – Arundhati Roy

Like a lot of activities of a free society, volunteering has been considerably diminished as a result of coronavirus. In fact, from our recent membership survey, 36% have fully suspended engagement, while a further 47% have somewhat suspended engagement. For leaders of volunteers, this has raised many issues of volunteer leadership, for example:

  • Duty of care (both to front-line volunteers and to stand down volunteers)
  • Maintaining engagement with volunteers who have been stood down
  • Requirements to re-imagine both existing and new roles as a result of coronavirus compliance

As trusted community leaders, adding our own threads to the safety net that ensures people’s resilience, leaders of volunteers are in a unique position to reframe our programs and rebuild our role in enabling people the potential to thrive in a changed environment.