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AAMV Annual President’s Report 2017-2018

It truly is a pleasure and honor to have taken over the Presidency of the American Association for Museum Volunteers (AAMV) in May 2017. Our organization and Board has spent the last few years doing some real soul-searching about the type of organization that we want to be and how best to serve our members. Out of these meetings, discussions, and evolving practices we have reached a point where we are poised to continue our growth and more effectively serve our professional community of volunteers, volunteer managers, and any museum professional working with volunteers.

Before talking about what we’ve achieved over the last year and our plans for the coming year, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the person from whom I’ve taken over the presidency. Lois Kuter served as our President with great distinction and dedication for many years and we were lucky to have her at the helm. What Lois did for AAMV throughout the years of her presidency cannot be overstated. I am incredibly grateful for Lois’ leadership and, personally, her friendship and mentorship. I know I speak for all of our membership in thanking Lois for her services.  

So what have we been up to in the last year? Coming out of the 2017 AAM Annual Meeting with energy and momentum the Board spent the latter months of 2017 focused on two significant goals: defining our goals and objectives in a three-year Strategic Plan and revising and updating our Best Practices and Professional Standards on Volunteer Management. Both of these documents (available on our website) form the core of our work: setting best practices and also driving Board decision making.

Our Strategic Plan 2017-2020 is based around six strategic directives that will guide all of the Board’s work in the coming years.

  •  Strategic Directives #1: Professional Standards – We strive to develop, promote, and reinforce best professional standards in the field of volunteer management in museums
  • Strategic Directives #2: Forum and Exchange of Ideas – We strive to provide as many opportunities for the exchange of ideas and best professional standards as possible both in-person and digitally
  • Strategic Directives #3: Continuing Education at Local, Regional, and National Levels – We strive to provide opportunities for continuing education at the local, regional, and national levels for all those working in the volunteer management field
  • Strategic Directives #4: Advocacy – We strive to advocate for the value and importance of volunteers in museums at the local, regional, and national levels
  • Strategic Directive #5: Building membership – We wish to grow AAMV’s membership on the proviso that our professional network is only as strong as its membership
  • Strategic Directive #6: Organizational Best Practices – We strive to follow best practices as a 501(c)3 organization administratively, financially, and legally

Having clearly defined these goals, our work in the second half of the year built from these directives. Our transition to a new software platform in 2016-2017--Wild Apricot--has also created new, easier ways for us to host discussions with our members. Although this is an area where we want to continue to improve, our commitment to fostering conversations between those in the field of volunteer management remains fierce. We continue to produce content, including our podcast, newsletters, and through our new social media channels, that aim to spark conversation and thought about emerging trends in volunteer management. We also have put a lot of energy into providing opportunities for volunteer managers to meet, network, and learn from each other at the American Alliance of Museum’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix in May, 2018.

I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished this year and the upward trend of AAMV. The work of our organization is done by an all-volunteer board of dedicated and energetic professionals from around the country who share a passion for the power of museum volunteers. Ultimately what drives us all is the knowledge that our institutions cannot succeed without our volunteers, and that when our volunteer succeed our institutions do, too. I thank all of the AAMV Board for their service, energy, and passion. I’m excited about continuing this great work, leading this talented group, and all that 2018-2019 has in-store.

If you have any feedback on how AAMV can best serve you as a member or potential-member, please do not hesitate to contact me and let me know.

Richard Harker

President, American Association from Museum Volunteers


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