I’ve been regularly writing articles on volunteer engagement for over ten years now and I’ve started to wonder, has it all been said now?
Here’s some context. Since starting Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd in April 2011:
- I’ve written over 200 articles on my blog
- For eight years I wrote a monthly column for Third Sector magazine
- I’ve written quarterly Points of View articles for Engage with Susan Ellis and then Erin Spink, also for eight years.
- I’ve written articles for people’s newsletters, journals and blogs at various points during the decade
- I’ve co-written three books – two versions of ‘The Complete Volunteer Management Handbook’ and the UK edition of ‘From The Top Down’
- I’ve lost count of how many comments I’ve written on news articles, blog posts and the like
Looking back at all of that writing there are almost no volunteer management topics I haven’t touched on. This is unsurprising when two of the books I’ve been involved in have the word ‘complete’ in their titles!
I’ve written practical articles with tips and tricks for getting better at working with volunteers.
I’ve shared my opinions on issues and topics related to volunteering.
I’ve passed comment on government initiates, many of which have faded almost as fast as they appeared, to be replaced by something else which I also commented on.
I’ve (hopefully) challenged, rebuked, inspired, advised and informed.
So have others. Slowly but surely more people are writing about volunteer engagement, adding their perspectives and insights to our growing library of professional knowledge.
We also have a wealth of material available to us. Twenty years of articles on Engage. The numerous books, articles and hot topics from the late, great Susan J Ellis. The blogs of Jayne Cravens. And countless more if we choose to look for them.
So what’s left for me to say?
Can I spend the next decade writing with the same frequency, producing content that adds value to the profession?
Given the comparative lack of innovation in volunteer engagement practice of the last decade (or longer if you want to be really cynical), is there anything to be said that has a realistic chance of stirring some creativity and new practice?
Am I just having an existential wobble as a writer in the world of volunteer engagement, or is this really it, the end of having anything worth committing to the page and putting out into the world on a regular basis?
These aren’t just empty questions to be cast into the world and whose echo is left to resound with no reply. I’m asking them of myself, but also of you.
I want to know what you think, not as a way to stroke this writer’s wavering ego, but as a way to hopefully inspire to me to commit afresh to my role as one of many voices seeing to move our profession forward.
What issues do you think need covering that aren’t being addressed?
What insights, advice and challenge do you think we all need?
What issues are important that leaders of volunteer engagement are being silent on?
In short, what should I write and what would you want to read?
Over to you.