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The Long, Hard Road to Respect

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At some point in any meeting of volunteer managers there emerges a recurring theme:“They” don’t respect us! It is raised in tones ranging from angry shouts to bemoaned cries, and is often followed by a litany of examples of neglect, misunderstanding and abuse. To whom the “they” refers varies. Sometimes it’s staff or administration, occasionally the general public, even, from time to time, mothers who are puzzled about strange career choices.

The reality is that volunteer managers haven’t always done a good job of earning respect. In previous “Points of View” we’ve talked about ways to gain respect within our own organizations; this current discussion will focus on societal initiatives. The suggestions in this article are probably outside the reach of any single volunteer program manager, but are well within the capacity of a united profession to achieve.