The reason we are using credentialing

The reason we are using credentialing is because the journal is an international one and some of the terms we may commonly use in the UK (notably qualifications) carry different connotations elsewhere in the world.

For example, I was talking with someone this week about qualifications volunteers need to have to do a role. I was actually talking about what qualified them for the role (skills, abilities, competencies, experience etc.) but they assumed I meant academic qualifications.

Credentials appear to be a more universally understood term. However, if anyone can come up with a better alternative that works across borders I’m happy to propose it.

I’m still with Anne on this – the usual UK term used to be “formal qualifications” or “accredited qualifications” didn’t it? Whilst I’m perfectly comfortable that all languages are constantly evolving, I also feel strongly about plain English and have a gut reaction to particularly ugly new words…

Anyway, more importantly, whilst I totally accept that qualifications are one way to increase the status of the volunteer manager’s role, I suspect most of us in those roles would never have got into the profession if we’d had to have formal qualifications specifically in that role before starting.

On a separate note, I have the feeling that it may be as much about qualities as skills when you bring the term “good” into a management role. Know that may sound too fluffy for some, but I think in reality that is how good people are actually chosen for the job, or succeed at it, as much as for skills and experience. And its probably the downfall of bad managers?!

I also wonder if a large number of good or successful volunteer managers can be defined by their ability to manage an incredibly diverse team. I doubt that there are many commercial or statutory roles where a large percentage of the workforce have additional needs, or where such a large focus (often 50%, or sometimes worryingly 80%) of their time is invested in their staff’s development support. Although this clearly varies depending on the type of charity and volunteer role, a very high percentage are surely older, younger, survivors of trauma, addictions or health issues, long-term unemployed, etc etc than a typical commercial or statutory workforce? The flexibility, motivational style, emotional and practical supportiveness of a good volunteer manager seem to me defining qualities – not sure how easily these would be “credentialable”?