Five Tips for Volunteer Management from Groundhog Phil

Posted on February 6, 2012. Filed under: Good Ideas Stick, Tips for HandsOn Partners |

From the HandsOn Network Blog

Groundhog Day is celebrated on the second of February. The celebration began as a Pennsylvanian German celebration in the 18th and 19thcentury. Groundhog Day is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow. If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole. If the day is cloudy and, therefore, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club claims that Phil’s prediction is correct one-hundred percent of the time. However, spoilsport scientists say he’s no more accurate than your local weatherman: An analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that, from 1988 to 2010, there was no correlation between the groundhog’s prediction and the weather for the rest of the season.

Regardless of Phil the Groundhog’s accuracy, there are important lessons to be learned from Groundhog Day for the field of volunteer management. Read on for Phil’s lessons!

Have patience Winter can often seem endless, especially in the usually cold days of January! Every year we must exercise patience, waiting for the groundhog’s revelation, and even more so when Phil predicts six more weeks of winter! In your service and volunteer management, patience is just as important of a virtue. When you encounter red tape, when funding is at risk, or even when you just can’t seem to find a volunteer position that suits your skill set, patience is key. Let Punxsutawney Phil’s hibernation be your inspiration for peace and patience this winter!Phil

Keep an eye out for industry predictions As in any evolving industry, it is important to keep an eye out for new trends and best practices in the field of volunteer management. Just as Punxsutawney Phil prognosticates future weather conditions, movers and shakers predict nonprofit and volunteer trends for the year based on the past year. Keep an eye on blogs for this information to stay ahead of the curve; congratulations, you’re in just the right place!

Take risks When we put our collective trust in a rodent’s notice of his shadow each year to determine the season, we take quite a risk! Don’t be afraid to take risks in your field, especially as the new year is the perfect time to implement the new trends you’ve discovered.

Embrace silliness Its easy to get bogged down in the administrative burden and various minutiae of volunteer organization and begin to see it as a burden. If nothing else, Groundhog Day teaches us not to take ourselves too seriously and to embrace a little silliness. Why not send Groundhog Day cards to your volunteers? A little fun will fit into nearly any setting, and your volunteers are more likely to remember your organization fondly if you show your goofball side!


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