AVM Network Day – 10th December

The second AVM Network Day is taking place on 10th December (10am-4pm) at the Holiday Inn, Coram St, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 1HT.

Entry costs £45.17 (AVM members £27.15)


Book your place online here  


Programme 

10am – Arrivals, Coffee and Informal networking

10.30am – Welcome from AVM and Structured networking

11am – Volunteer management is like a decathlon: it involves hurdles, sprints, endurance – and a willingness to throw things out! Steve Gee, Head of Volunteering and Branches, National Autistic Society

Presentation and Q&A – discussion on current volunteering developments and challenges in the UK’s leading charity for people with autism.

12.30pm Lunch – Please bring your own lunch as lunch IS NOT provided

1.15pm – “Light touch volunteer management – what does it look like and how do you do it? Wendy McGauley, Community Engagement Officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability and Clive Pankhurst, Head of Volunteering at Diabetes UK – Presentation and Q&A.

2.30pm Open Space – an opportunity for attendees to lead or request discussions on topics relevant to them, drawing on peer support to explore challenges and celebrate successes.

3.30pm Final comments and evaluation

4.00pm Close

Professional development for volunteer managers: think lateral

International Volunteer Managers (IVM) Day is the perfect opportunity for us as practitioners to reflect on our work and take stock of our professional development.

However, in some ways this is not so straightforward. The profession of volunteer management is still in the early stages of development. As a result, we lack the points of reference professionals from more established professions take for granted, such as:

  • Our area of expertise is not widely known or recognised
  • We lack a clear agreement on the scope of volunteer management as a profession
  • We’re exposed to competing practice models (e.g. are we experts, service providers or partners of volunteers and beneficiaries?)
  • Expectations in terms of continuing professional development vary widely

Where can we get our bearings as we seek to set a course through the uncharted seas of our own professional development in volunteer management?

1. Look where we’ve come from

The profession of volunteer management is in its infancy, so it’s even more important to make the most of the literature that has been written, on the professionalisation of volunteer management. Over the last 15 years or so, there have been a growing number of scholarly articles in this area.

The Right Stuff: New ways of thinking about managing volunteers” by Meta Zimmeck (2000) can help give perspective on the question of practice models from “modern management” to the “home grown” model.

Organising cultures: voluntarism and professionalism in UK charity shops” by Richard Goodall (2000) considers the meaning of “professional” in the context of volunteer management in charity shops.  Goodall argues volunteer managers could be every bit as ‘professional’ as retail managers but the nature of their expertise was not so readily recognised. An idea that still chimes with our discussion over 13 years on. Pat Gay’s “Bright Future: Developing Volunteer Management” (2001) sets out recommendations for the creation of a new professional body which are interesting to reflect on at this current stage in the development of the Association of Volunteer Managers.

Another discussion that’s useful to get in context is that of standards. “A Standards Framework for Managing Volunteers – A Report to the Voluntary Sector National Training Organisation” (2002) sets out a background to this question on what are the knowledge and skills required in volunteer management. This provided a lot of the groundwork of the National Occupational Standards for Management of Volunteers (2003).

2. Look across

Colleagues across the world have been working on strikingly similar challenges of how to develop and grow the profession of those working in volunteer management. Organisations and groups have developed different solutions – often with different emphasis – and each holds key lessons for us in the UK.

It’s inspirational to be able to read about the stories such as that of the “Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada“, an organisation with over 30 years of championing volunteer management, or the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration in the United States which has developed a popular qualification in volunteer management.

There’s also the “Australasian Association for Managers of Volunteers”, a professional network in Australasia, and “New Zealand Competencies for Managers of Volunteers”, developed by Volunteering New Zealand, a very new approach to the challenge of improving standards and training across the profession of volunteer management.

On the question of principles and values, The Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement and the Universal Declaration on the Profession (2001) made in Canada are incredibly valuable.

3. Look around

There’s a temptation to look inwards on IVM day and focus on volunteer management. However, it’s really important we don’t restrict our learning possibilities. There’s a huge amount we can learn from other professions and how they have developed. From health to the legal sector, from education and social work, from finance to project management – there are huge lessons for us. Our context is incredibly distinctive, however many of the issues we face aren’t. The professional association community is incredibly vibrant in the UK and there are huge opportunities if we can think laterally.

4. Look next to you

Your colleagues and peers are just there and in today’s world more contactable than ever. There are also sorts of ways in which you can network and learn about your profession by talking through the issues you face, with others going through similar challenges themselves.

Communities and networks such as: ivo.org, VMM, AVM and UKVPMs. There’ also NNVIA, AVSM, NAVSM. But it’s also worth similar professional networks beyond volunteer management through organisations such as PARN (Professional Associations Research Network).

5. Look forward

Finally, think about what we need as a profession that can help us all in our future professional development. If you’d be interested in helping AVM develop and curate online information and content on professional development of volunteer management, please get in touch.

AVM Conference 2014 – presentations and talks


Is formal volunteering finished?

The latest Community Life Survey suggests formal volunteering has fallen for the first time in a couple of years. The talk on the street is about social action, micro-volunteering, and co-production. Are we seeing a seismic shift in the way people engage in their communities which suggests that the days of mass organised volunteering are coming to an end. Or is this all just a flash in the pan and normal service will soon be resumed?

Online here

Dr Justin Davis-Smith – Executive Director of Volunteering and Development, NCVO


a) Youth Volunteering

An interactive workshop with participants being asked to consider why they want to attract young people as volunteers and how compatible this is with what young people want from volunteering.
Sophie Wellings – Freelance Trainer & Consultant


 

b) The challenges of working with Remote Volunteers – what does this mean for our practice as volunteer managers and leaders?

Nikki Squelch, Head of Volunteering Development, Alzheimer’s Society &
Helen Johnston,Technology Support Service Manager, RNIB


 

c) Professionalization of Volunteer Management – progress towards a code of practice for professionals in volunteer management

Debbie Usiskin, AVM Director &
Patrick Daniels, AVM Director

Write up online here


AVM Annual Report 2014 [download PDF]

AGM – Treasurer’s report [download PDF]


 a) Friends with Benefits: Why volunteer managers must learn to learn from others

Tiger de Souza, Head of Volunteering, NSPCC &
Helen Timbrell, Volunteering and Community Involvement Director, National Trust

Online discussion


 

b) Valuing Volunteer Management – How do you do it and what works for securing resources and top corridor buy in

Debbie Usiskin, Volunteers Transition Lead at North London Hospice
Rob Jackson, Rob Jackson Consulting


 

c) ‘Light touch’ Volunteer Management – what does it look like and how do you do it

Wendy McGauley, Community Engagement Officer, Leonard Cheshire Disability &
Clive Pankhurst, Head of Volunteering, Diabetes UK


The new alchemy: how volunteer managers turn donations of time into human gold?

nfpSynergy have just completed a 12 month project to research a whole host of aspects of volunteering. The final report includes a survey of 500 volunteer managers, a review of volunteering trends and the impact of politics and economics on volunteering. This talk covers the key elements of the report as well as looking the key issues that make volunteering thrive.
Joe Saxton – Driver of Ideas, nfpSynergy

Professionalisation of volunteer management

Professionalisation has been a key issue in volunteer management for many years.

Yet, it remains highly controversial and tends to polarise debate. As a result, many in volunteer management are wary of the topic.

Many of the arguments for and against have been rehearsed and are familiar to many of us.

Arguments for professionalisation

In the ‘for’ camp, there are arguments such as:

  • Volunteer management is more than just a job and professionalisation helps it evolve and grow further.
  • Professionalisation helps those in volunteer management to be seen as more autonomous by colleagues and the wider public.
  • Professionalisation helps practitioners in volunteer management to identify and coalesce around a set of distinct principles and values.

Arguments against professionalisation

In the ‘against’ camp, there are arguments such as:

  • Professionalisation runs the risk of making volunteer management more bureaucratic.
  • There’s an irreconcilable difference between the professionalisation and volunteering.
  • There’s a danger that professionalisation would push up costs and make volunteering more expensive.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the arguments, but it helps give a picture of the issues at stake.

Why then is it so important to raise this issue of professionalisation for volunteer management when we know it can create such division?

The answer is because it gets at something fundamental that has implications for all those in volunteer management: how we organise ourselves as practitioners.

Discourse, not destination

Before going further, it’s important to recognise one thing.

Professionalisation should not be dominated by a discussion about its destination. Professionalisation sets us on a course where all sorts of outcomes are possible – the destination is just one part of the discussion.

Professionalisation is useful because it provides us with a discourse, the terms of the discussion, about how we as practitioners of volunteer management want to organise ourselves. Professionalisation provides us with a context in which we can reflect on how we organise ourselves as practitioners.

We move together

There are many challenges, but one we need to keep at the forefront in this discussion is that we move forward together. Volunteer management covers so many areas of work, so many sectors of the economy, so many disciplines and approaches. We need to ensure that professionalisation is an inclusive discussion that brings us closer together, not one that fragments our community.

We need to lead

There is also an issue of leadership. Not to lead this discussion leaves us exposed to factors such as government policy or market forces that, we know, often influence the development of professions.

Some advocate that we’d be better off making the most of our low profile. After all, the fact that we’re off the radar of decision makers or policy makers can be an advantage – in many situations, it lets us get on and do what we want. However, this strategy is not tenable if we have ambitions to greater organise ourselves.

Professionals, professions and professional bodies

So what should we do to greater organise ourselves?

First, let’s unpick the different concepts that are often jumbled up in the professionalisation debate: professionals, professions and professional bodies.

Many of us already consider ourselves to be professionals – and some of us may already be members of a recognised profession such as the law, medicine, social care, education, and so on. Some argue that the most fruitful way to proceed in professionalisation is to focus on the idea of professionalism. After all, professionalism is something that each of us can decide to do at an individual level – it’s a matter of acting and approaching our work in a professional way. However, there’s a limit to how greater professionalism can tackle our central question: how we organise ourselves as practitioners.

There are professional bodies, there are many models out there – trade unions, learned societies, regulators and many others. But until we’ve thought through how we want to organise ourselves, it’s difficult to have a clear vision of the kind of professional body we need.

Professionalisation focuses our debate on the profession we want – as once we’ve agreed some of the fundamental issues of building a profession – we can really advance on the question of how we organise ourselves.

So how do we build a profession?

I’ve adapted the following factors from the work of Dr Stan Lester “On professions and being professional” (2010).

1. Knowledge – What knowledge underpins our profession?

2. Scope of the profession – What areas are covered by our profession?

3. Practice model – What model of practice fits with our profession?

4. Entry into the profession – How do we see entry into our profession?

5. Ongoing profession development – What framework for continuing professional development do we need for our profession?

6. Ethical framework – What principles are essential to our profession?

To develop a profession for practitioners of volunteer management, we need to address:

1. Knowledge – what knowledge underpins our profession?

In the development of professions in the last century or so there are mainly two approaches to understanding and valuing professional knowledge.

Technocratic knowledge

The first developed in an industrial world is the rational and scientific technocratic model- where professional knowledge is:

  • part of a relatively slowly-evolving body of knowledge
  • largely produced through formal research from relevant academic disciplines

Professional knowledge is passed on to practitioners as curriculum developments, updating events, publications and advisory notes.

Reflective knowledge

The second is developed in a post-industrial society according to a reflective model. See Donald A. Schön, The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action, Basic Books (New York, 1983). In this approach professional knowledge is:

  • actively used and changed by practitioners as they work
  • evolves more quickly, created in the practice setting, as well as through academic research
  • varies depending on the context in which it is applied

With the reflective model, the idea of a monolithic ‘body of knowledge’ is less important than the idea of knowledgeable and knowledge-generating practitioners who are able to reflect on practice and produce knowledge from action.

2. Scope of the profession – what areas are covered by our profession?

This is fundamental – if volunteer management is to be a profession – we need to be able to define what that profession covers.

Professional bodies have used the following ways to define the scope of their profession:

  • By reference to the education and training of practitioners (the profession’s boundaries are defined by the curriculum)
  • Protected definition of what practitioners do (supplements curriculum-based approach)
  • Define profession by roles and functions undertaken by practitioners rather than by  education/ training (develop competence standards for range of occupations and job roles)
  • By descriptions of practice not functional model, but one based on capability, where essential nature of the profession is still defined in output terms – the emphasis not on functions and boundaries (what does the profession cover?) but rather on core capability (what are practitioners equipped to do?)

3. Practice model – what model of practice fits with our profession?

We need to set out our model of practice and how we structure our professional relationship to those we work with. The following three are common models:

‘Delivery system’ (delivery as expert)

Practitioner assesses a situation and delivers a solution based on their expertise. This kind of approach is perhaps typified by the traditional medical model of diagnosis and prescription.

‘Delivery system (delivery as part of a contract)

Practitioner is a producer and delivers to a consumer. Rather than putting emphasis on expertise and judgement, emphasis is on standards, quality and meeting the consumer’s needs.

‘Realisation system’

Professional working with the client or stakeholders in a more collaborative way to produce outcomes that are owned by the latter. While it still involves the use of expertise, it is closer in principle to the work of a counsellor or facilitator.

4. Entry into the profession – how do we see entry into our profession?

At AVM we’re receiving more and more enquiries from people interested in getting involved in volunteer management. As its profile grows, so does the need for some kind of pathway into the profession. The following are two example models:

Sequential development route

A typical technocratic development route consists of a university degree, possibly a post-degree professional course, and a period of supervised practice. This often creates a limited gateway through which all need to pass to enter the profession. This can be enforced through regulation which may insist on a certain level or type of qualification.

Integrated route

In the integrated route practice and theory may be developed alongside each other, either in the workplace or in a ‘practicum’ that mirrors the workplace. Greater flexibility exists as to pathways into the profession.

5. Ongoing profession development – what framework for continuing professional development do we need for our profession?

The approach to continuing professional development (CPD) in many professions is strongly influenced by the technocratic paradigm. As a result, it’s typically focused on meeting requirements through approved courses or through a minimum number of hours or points spent on approved activities.

More recently, there’s been a tendency to move away from these input measures towards a more flexible ‘learning cycle’ approach, where practitioners need to identify their development needs, act to meet them, and reflect on the results.

A more reflective approach to ongoing development sees it as evolving a growing range of abilities that follow or direct the practitioner’s practice.

6. Ethical framework – what principles are essential to our profession?

Most professions have some form of ethical code that either takes the form of a code of practice or is part of a more general set of principles that governs behaviour in the profession.

“It is because professionals face complex and unpredictable situations that they need a specialised form of knowledge; if they are to apply that knowledge, it is argued that they require the autonomy to make their own judgement. Given that they have that autonomy, it is essential that they act with responsibility – collectively they need to develop appropriate professional values.” See “The Teacher’s Reflective Practice Handbook: Becoming an Extended Professional through Capturing evidence-informed practice” (p11) By Paula Zwozdiak-Myers

According to the BACP: “Principles direct attention to important ethical responsibilities… Ethical decisions that are strongly supported by one or more of these principles without any contradiction from others may be regarded as reasonably well founded. However, practitioners will encounter circumstances in which it is impossible to reconcile all the applicable principles and choosing between principles may be required. A decision or course of action does not necessarily become unethical merely because it is contentious or other practitioners would have reached different conclusions in similar circumstances. A practitioner’s obligation is to consider all the relevant circumstances with as much care as is reasonably possible and to be appropriately accountable for decisions made.”

AVM loses its founder

John Ramsey speaking at AVM's launch in 2007

John Ramsey speaking at AVM’s launch in 2007

We are sad to announce that our founder, John Ramsey, passed away on Saturday 20th September following a period of illness.

Although his death was not unexpected, the loss is a profound shock to all who knew him. John was a tireless champion of volunteering and volunteer management.

Without his passion, drive and energy the Association of Volunteer Managers would not exist. A great volunteer manager himself, his gift was bringing people together from across the field to build the organisation that we are today.

He was our Chair 2005-09, and continued to be actively involved with AVM. In typical fashion, John volunteered to run a workshop at the upcoming AVM conference in October. He will be sorely missed.

Many of you will have memories to share and tributes to pay. Do please leave your comments here below or email us at info@volunteermanagers.org.uk if you prefer.

We will pass on all messages to his wife and daughter and extended family who can take comfort from the respect that he had within our community.

AVM Conference 2014 – tickets on sale now

hamilton_house_conf14

This year’s conference will take place at Hamilton House in London

Speak Up – Your voice together with AVM advancing our profession

We’re excited.  Our 2014 conference is ready to roll and we hope you will find what we’ve lined up for the day interesting, informative and very current.

SPEAK UP is the title of the conference and it will be held in London on 23rd October 2014.

So why not join volunteer managers from across the UK at this one day event and put your voice together with AVM’s to advance volunteer management as our profession?

Speakers include:

  • Dr Justin Davis-Smith (Executive Director of Volunteering and Development, NCVO) asking is formal volunteering finished
  • Joe Saxton (Driver of Ideas, nfpSynergy) talking about nfpSynergy’s latest research amongst managers of volunteers, and
  • Jamie Ward-Smith (Founder & CEO, ivo UK) showing what the new Do-It can do for us as volunteer managers

To see the full conference programme and to book your place (discount for AVM members of course).

Don’t miss out and see you there.

New survey for volunteer managers from JIVE (Justice Involving Volunteers in Europe)

Introduction to project and European research on volunteering within the Criminal Justice System (CJS)

I am leading an exciting new project in Clinks, the membership organisation for voluntary sector organisations working with offenders and their families, called Justice Involving Volunteers in Europe.

We are currently undertaking a piece of Europe-wide research on the role and value of volunteers within the sector because little has ever been commissioned, so I would like to hear your views and experiences by completing our online survey.

The project is exploring the role and value of volunteers across the European Criminal Justice System (CJS), with a particular focus on (ex) offenders, their families and victims of crime.

This research will come together in a final report to be formally launched in Germany next spring 2015.  We will disseminate the findings to policy makers and agencies across the EU in the hope to put volunteering within the sector on government agendas, and really promote its value to the sector and wider society.

How can you have your say and feed into this research?

As volunteer managers I don’t need to win you over or persuade you of the importance and the benefits of volunteering because you already know! However, what I would like is to hear your opinion and experiences of recruiting, training and managing volunteers within your organisation; it is this information which is vital to the project and will help shape in part its direction and structure, so please spare me 20 minutes of your time to complete the survey and help us inform volunteering for the future.

Further information and resources for you

Clinks will be running its ‘Working with offenders’ training course on 2nd and 3rd October 2014 – you can find out more here and submit an application.

Clinks has also published a range of free guides targeted at those who involve volunteers, or provide mentoring and befriending services to (ex) offenders, these guides are designed to support any organisation whether they are already established or just setting up. Hard copies are available on request.

The project is funded by the European Commission. Please visit our webpage for further information including newsletters and details of our other partners.

It would be great to hear some of your thoughts and views – you can email me at Robert.Price@clinks.org


Written by Robert Price – Events Co-ordinator – Clinks

Volunteer management qualifications in Wales

This post comes from Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).

Managing, supervising and inspiring volunteers is a key part of the work of a third sector manager; volunteers do not have to follow you as a leader, instead they choose to, so inspiring and keeping them on bard is a challenging job.

WCVA has been working with Learning to Inspire to develop a suite of qualifications in volunteer management.

Learning to Inspire will be offering two programmes of learning which can help you gain a professional qualification and recognition of your volunteer management skills, giving you a choice of studying at level 3, 5 or 7.

Conwy

  • Day 1 Tuesday 21.10.14
  • Day 2 Tuesday 18.11.14
  • Day 3 Tuesday 13.01.15
  • Day 4 Tuesday 10.2.15

Cardiff

  • Day 1 Tuesday 30.09.14
  • Day 2 Tuesday 28.10.14
  • Day 3 Tuesday 25.11.14
  • Day 4 Tuesday 20.01.15

The Art of Managing and Supervising volunteers – ILM Level 3

On this programme you will learn the tools to transform your skills as a manager or supervisor of volunteers. This will enable you to:

  • Radiate integrity and congruence by understanding your own motivations and ‘map’ of the world
  • Inspire others with your own clear vision
  • Have a greater influence through understanding the deepest needs of those around you
  • Create a culture of individual worth by learning how to communicate with respect and appreciation
  • Embrace personal transformation and learn how to manage your own state when the going gets tough

The programme is accredited through the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and offers the opportunity for learners to receive Certification as an ILM Development Award. In addition, if learners complete relevant tasks and assignments they can receive a Level 3 Qualification in The Management of Volunteers.

Costs

From £760 (up to 50% funding available for eligible third sector organisations in Wales).

To book places or for further information about the programme and funding available, please call Jo or Sandra on 0845 050 7676 or email info@learningtoinspire.co.uk
The art of leading volunteering in the organisation – Level 5 & 7

Learning to Inspire will also be developing programmes specifically for those involved in the management of volunteers in Wales, at Level 5 and at Post Graduate Level 7.

These programmes will be available in late spring/early summer 2014.

For more information please email info@learningtoinspire.co.uk or call 0845 050 7676

Increasing the value and impact of volunteer management

Please find attached the presentation and material from the workshop presented at NCVO’s Evolve event on 16 June.

  • Kristen Stephenson, Volunteer Management and Good Practice Manager, NCVO
  • Debbie Usiskin, Vice Chair, Association of Volunteer Managers
  • Rachael Bayley, Director, Association of Volunteer Managers and Head of Volunteering Development, Save the Children

 

Occupy volunteer management

Before going further with the discussion of professionalisation and volunteer management, it’s useful to recap on where we might think volunteer management fits on the scale of job, occupation and profession.

Is volunteer management my job, my occupation or my profession?

What stage are you at?

Job-Occupation-Profession (1)

It’s clear we’ll all have different answers to this question. So it’s a great place to start this discussion because how we answer it, leaves us with a useful grounding when we come to look at the issue of professionalisation of volunteer management.

If a job is an activity with an economic role usually directed toward making a living, what is an occupation? And how is that different from a profession?

What is an occupation?

Occupation - a cluster of job-related activities constituting a single economic role that is usually directed toward making a living. (The Social Organisation of Work, p.447, Randy Hodson, Teresa A. Sullivan (2007)

This is a pretty broad definition. It also ties volunteer management – the occupation – to the idea of making a living. This is problematic if we’re looking for a definition that can include those in volunteer management working on a voluntary basis. We’ll come back to this issue in more detail in a future post.

Going by this definition, a contender for the moment that volunteer management became an occupation might be when it began to be more common to see full-time volunteer management roles – or at least roles where the central focus of a part-time role was on volunteer management.

More often in the academic literature on professionalisation, the word “occupation” is defined in opposition to “profession”. For example:

“Persons engaged in an occupation are not paid for their knowledge, but only for what they produce.”

Others emphasise that what distinguishes an occupation from a job is the scope for career development. As career development opportunities within the volunteer management field have grown, so it has developed as an occupation.

While career development within volunteer management is possible, it remains a field where the turnover of people involved remains relatively high.

By asking whether volunteer management is an occupation, we can start to see more clearly whether the foundation exists to develop a profession. Much of the criteria we might want to use to assess how far down the route of professionalisation volunteer management is, can also be used to assess how mature it is as an occupation.

Table six prof occ categories

This graphic is supposed to give an illustration of the spectrum covered by the range from job, occupation and profession, in order to help frame the discussion on professionalisation of volunteer management.

Employers fail to recognise their employees’ occupation

In the early stages, where a job may develop into an occupation, employers who create and support those jobs are incredibly influential in the process. Arguably, as occupations professionalise, the balance of influence shifts between the individual professionals and the organisations who employ them.

As a result, key stakeholders in the early development of volunteer management are the employers of volunteer managers. Changing perceptions of employers of volunteer managers may be one of the most single influential factors in the development of volunteer management as an occupation.

Yet in many cases looking at job descriptions advertised, it’s common for employers still to see volunteer management as a function, rather than as a rounded occupation. If an occupation is a “cluster of job-related activities”, employers can tend to see volunteer management as just one specific activity and miss the bigger picture.

Lack of funding for volunteer management or lack of understanding of the return on investment, may make employers reluctant to go beyond seeing volunteer management as a function and develop full-time volunteer management roles which are fully integrated in their organisation.

This situation may be due to a number of factors such as a lack of research, evidence and public awareness of the value of volunteer management. This can lead to a kind of chicken and egg scenario in the step towards becoming an occupation, where employers don’t design roles that reflect volunteer management as an occupation, which in turn reinforces employers’ perception that volunteer management is not an occupation.

The result is that volunteer management may often be something people are employed to do as part of a wider job description.

In some organisations, volunteer management may not even be seen as a primary part of the work of many of those who manage volunteers, merely as a secondary consequence of other aspects of the role. For example, fundraisers who have manage volunteer fundraisers, operational staff recruited to run services that support their service user through the engagement of volunteers, etc.

There could be a number of reasons for employers to act in this way (with all the consequences it has for the development of volunteer management as an occupation):

  • lack of recognised pathways into volunteer management
  • lack of understanding of how to evaluate volunteer management skills and experience
  • lack of understanding of the scope of volunteer management, etc.

This brings us back to these criteria for professionalisation. They can give us a sense not just of the professionalisation of volunteer management, but also how developed it is as an occupation.

A key mile stone for the development of volunteer management as an occupation has to be the introduction of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for the Management of Volunteers (PDF) in 2003 and their revision in 2008.

In 2003, a key challenge was the link between standards for individuals (NOS), with the development of standards for organisations (Investing in Volunteers). In 2008, the revision of the NOS included the challenge of linking these standards with accredited qualifications and learning in volunteer management.

For the first time, those in volunteer management were involved in agreeing a collective response to the questions of identifying the scope, performance standards, experience, personal qualities, knowledge and skills that form part of the emerging occupation in volunteer management.

The NOS framed the work of the occupation of volunteer management as covering:

  • A. Develop and evaluate strategies and policies that support volunteering
  • B. Promote volunteering
  • C. Recruit place and induct volunteers
  • D. Manage and develop volunteers
  • E. Manage yourself, your relationships and your responsibilities
  • F. Provide management support for volunteering programmes

It is also suggested a list of those in an organisation who may have an interest in the standards of this occupation:

  • Chief executive
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Project manager
  • Volunteering manager
  • Director of resources
  • Information and advice officer
  • Volunteer leader
  • HR personnel
  • Voluntary services manager
  • Trustee

We’ll revisit some of the stumbling blocks that volunteer management has had, and continues to have, in its development as an occupation.

In summary, before we begin the debate on volunteer management and professionalisation, we need to recognise the diverse range of viewpoints we have based on where we feel we are on the scale of job, occupation and profession; where we’ve come from and where we’re interested in going.