Why the need for a “volunteering framework”?

After attending AVM’s Networking Event: Embedding a Volunteer Culture within an Organisation Sabine Pitcher reflects on her own personal experience of doing just that at City Lit. Where a volunteer framework will support the strategic direction of the college by directly linking in with some of its key objectives, including bringing people together, enriching lives, and increasing community impact.

A volunteer culture and a volunteer framework go hand in hand.

A volunteer framework puts in writing the mutual commitment, so volunteers know what is expected of them and how they will find the appropriate support, ensuring that the volunteering experience adds value both to the volunteers and the organisation.

I have been working at City Lit since 2008, where nearly 30,000 adults study with us each year, most on very short courses. We offer more than 5,000 courses in total and pride ourselves on being able to cater for a whole range of sometimes quite complex access needs. Formerly Head of Student Services, I have been looking into how we can set up a volunteering framework across the college.

We have a long tradition of involving volunteers in a handful of small areas – e.g. giving ESOL students extra support with their reading or helping out at community events. Across the college, these initiatives are often not well-known and there is little imagination for what else volunteers could be involved with. I’ve always thought that’s a shame – and a missed opportunity.

City Lit is so varied and diverse that there is a lot we can offer potential volunteers. And they could help us broaden the scope of services and initiatives we provide to our students. So I have started to talk to colleagues across the organisation about their ideas and needs, and what we would need to have in place in terms of a support structure.

It turned out to be a bit of an uphill struggle.

While the initial conversations were positive – it helped that I knew colleagues from my previous role – as usual, the devil proved to be in the detail. In an organisation like ours volunteering isn’t top of anybody’s agenda and just getting everybody I’d spoken to individually to a joint meeting was a hurdle. With no immediate need, the success of the project will depend on persistence and perseverance and finding ways to illustrate to colleagues that, yes, initially they will have to put in a bit of work, but they will get something in return. This approach works if this “something” is important enough to them and isn’t overtaken by other priorities or changes.

On the plus side, I have now done nearly all the leg work. I have done my research and spoken to people in other organisations about their volunteering experiences and structures. I have drafted a framework, discussed it with colleagues, produced templates for role descriptions and done all the other “back-office” preparation. Some colleagues might have experienced this as an impingement on the way they have handled volunteering in the past – they feel that it takes their autonomy away and doesn’t do justice to their volunteers. Others, however, saw the benefits in integrating and sharing experience and expertise. In an ideal world, they would all have been involved in all the different stages, but time is usually precious. Getting them all into a room just once was a major achievement.

A framework will eventually add transparency and also ensures that knowledge and information is shared and not held by just one person with whom it could get lost. A framework doesn’t have to be a “one size fits all” – it can still allow for flexibility. This is something which we’ve explicitly agreed, for example with regards to the extent of detail in role descriptions.

My advice? Persist and persevere…

What is a volunteering framework?

It takes time to develop a framework and gain consent from all the various stakeholders in your organisation. But once it is in place, it will make your life a lot easier, and will provide a point of reference for your volunteers as well as for everybody in your organisation. Such a framework will clarify roles and responsibilities and set expectations by addressing the following elements:

  • Rationale – what does the organisation gain? What is the value volunteers contribute?
  • Benefits of volunteering – what experience will volunteers gain? How does it benefit their development?
  • Relationships – how do volunteering roles sit within or alongside paid roles? Is there transparency and appreciation?
  • Volunteering roles – what is expected of them? What is the scope of their contribution? And how are they being recruited?
  • Training and support – who provides the induction? Who can volunteers turn to if there are any problems? What training do they have access to?
  • Reward structure – how are you celebrating volunteers? Are you taking them out / can they benefit from free courses / are their achievements being made public internally?
  • Expenses – can you ensure that reasonable expenses are being paid in a timely manner? And what would those be in your specific context?
  • Management and coordination – who is in charge of the volunteering schemes? Who coordinates the volunteers and who makes decisions?
  • Communication – volunteers might not be “active” all the time; how are they being kept informed? Are they included in staff communication?
  • Volunteer involvement – do volunteers have an opportunity to contribute to the further development of the volunteering scheme?
  • Conflicts –is there a process to deal with conflict, e.g. volunteers not adhering to boundaries, or complaining about not having been accepted for a particular role? What is the protocol for volunteers to report about bullying or mistreatment (by colleagues or by your clients)?
  • Reporting – there should be a way to regularly update others in your organisation on the work of volunteers and gather feedback. (Don’t wait until you’re asked for this information.)

I would also strongly recommend that you include your unions in the debate – they can support the integration of volunteers into your staff team, and they will appreciate reassurance that no paid work is being replaced. They can also help to ensure that you have appropriately identified the benefits to the volunteers.

Don’t feel afraid to seek legal advice if ever you are in any doubt – your organisation will have a contact.

Last but not least… your volunteering framework needs a budget.

How to you get all that established?

This assumes that either you don’t yet have a volunteering scheme or there’s a need to make changes.

In many instances, the contributions volunteers make are vital for the organisation to deliver its services. There is no benefit in downplaying the gain to the organisation. On the contrary, you need to be able to prove what this gain is – your senior team might appreciate if you can express this in monetary terms. This can include funding you wouldn’t otherwise be able to attract; elements of your service for which there is no other funding available; service users you would potentially lose as a consequence; outcomes for your service users that would either improve through volunteers or deteriorate without them. And don’t forget to highlight how the work of your volunteers sits within your organisation’s strategy and goals. (If it doesn’t, this might be a debate worth initiating.)

In order to ensure that processes and procedures are adhered to, my recommendation will be to involve HR – e.g. in the initial stages of recruitment and delivering a central induction. As an organisation, we would want all our volunteers to be ambassadors of City Lit and to understand our culture and values. A dedicated volunteer manager would then work across the different departments. Depending on the scope, there might be several (part-time) volunteer managers, and different approaches might be pursued for different areas of volunteer engagement. However, I will suggest a central point of contact who stays in touch with volunteering organisations (networking is vital), disseminates information, updates documents, ensures that volunteers feel engaged etc. There’s only one thing worse than having no framework/documentation – and that’s to have outdated ones.

We are in the lucky situation to have a student counselling service. The lead counsellor will provide an additional point of call for volunteers, in addition to colleagues and managers in the various departments. This could take the form of moderated peer-support or individual mentoring where this is suitable and appropriate.

Our strategy and processes are still only in draft form, but feedback from colleagues has, so far, been positive. The challenge is to get colleagues to commit to the next steps. These include drafting role descriptions, agreeing on responsibilities and suggesting recruitment periods and are all things that can’t be decided centrally. Once the framework is completed, I foresee a section on our website “Volunteering at City Lit”. (At present, there are three separate sections and they aren’t easy to find.)

I would like to thank the AVM and the wider network for their support and inspiration. I will take my personal experience into my new job and will certainly continue to promote their work

Sabine will now be leaving City Lit and will hand over her responsibilities to the student experience team. But for anybody who has questions or would just like to stay in touch, they have a dedicated email address – volunteering@citylit.ac.uk – which everybody in the team can access. Sabine can also be found on LinkedIn.

AVM Network Day – Embedding a volunteer culture within an organisation

Our latest networking day on embedding a volunteer culture within an organisation was held in London on Friday 8th July and brought together 38 participants from organisations all over the UK. It was a great day for networking and sharing new ideas and best practice.

Rachel Tapp, from The London Borough of Havering Council discussed how getting
a clear volunteering strategy in place in the short term was essential in generating a pro volunteering culture within her organisation in the long-term. In Rachel’s presentation she gives clear practical steps that other organisations can follow to achieve this.

In contrast Kate Adams and Liz Cyro discussed how they used internal communications to shape their volunteer culture at Mencap. They decided to move away from a lengthy written strategy in favour of volunteering principles that focused on mutual benefit for both the organisation and their volunteers. Their key aim being to create “One Mencap” where volunteers and staff feel included in their mission and are all pulling in the same direction. Moreover they encourage all staff to be volunteer managers and to take responsibility for volunteers in their orbit; this approach has ensured that there is an understanding of volunteering woven throughout the organisation.

Finally Adrienne Thompson and Cassandra Kamara from Arthritis Care shared their journey towards becoming truly volunteer led. They started by carrying out extensive baseline scoping of their volunteering body to ascertain where the problems were and how they could fix them. Both Adrienne and Cassandra will agree this has been a lengthy process and whilst it’s not over yet by fostering a culture of continues reflection and learning already they have begun to see positive changes.

Many thanks to all our speakers, for those of you who attended and to Jewish Care who very kindly provided the meeting space. For those of you who couldn’t make it we hope you will join us at our next event but in the meantime follow the below links to access the presentations.

1 – Rachel Tapp – Havering Council – Building an Effective Volunteer Programme from the Ground Up.

2 – Kate Adams & Liz Cyro – Embedding a Volunteer Culture within Royal Mencap Society

3 – Adrienne Thompson & Cassandra Kamara – Arthritis Care – Creating a Culture of Volunteering

Bookings Now Open for AVM Conference 2016

welcome to avmThe conference team have been busy, the venue is booked, keynote speakers are in place and the Volunteer Management event of the year, and highlight of the AVM calendar, is ready to go.

Bookings for this year’s AVM annual conference are now open.  You can book your place here.

This year we are offering a small number of member tickets at last year’s conference price so book early to enjoy all of this year’s conference benefits at last year’s price – what could be better.

Key note speakers this year are:
• Karl Wilding, Director of Public Policy and Volunteering at NCVO
• Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of Girlguiding
• Joe Saxton, Driver of Ideas at nfpSynergy and its founder

Workshops this year include:
• Volunteers and the Law
• Future Trends and Issues in Volunteer Management
• Measuring Volunteer Impact
• Volunteering and Digital Media

It’s an exciting conference programme and we look forward to seeing you there.

Volunteer led organisations

In the final part of our “Embedding a Volunteer Culture” blog series, Lynn explores what it means for an organisation to be ‘volunteer led’. 

Is being ‘volunteer led’ essential to a pro volunteering culture? What do we mean by ‘volunteer led’?

Most charities are quite literally volunteer led, since responsibility lies with the Board of Trustees, which is usually unpaid.

But does it mean something more, such as being wholly volunteer run, or acknowledging the low staff/high volunteer ratio, or volunteers being involved in setting vision, strategy, policy and how volunteers are engaged – perhaps as representatives of the charity’s beneficiary group or customer base?

Given the importance of a ‘one team’ approach to a pro volunteering culture, how do staff feel about being part of an organisation that is ‘volunteer’ led? Moreover, how do volunteers feel about that? In the same way that it might not be useful to talk about volunteer ‘programmes’, it marks out volunteers as being different/separate. Lots of grass root community activity is volunteer led and can be a good thing, but in an organisation that employs both paid and unpaid staff, should we be talking about it being volunteer led?

Several volunteers I have worked with have expressed anxiety at the prominence of volunteers in their organisations, concerned that staff will feel disempowered. This is sometimes married with feelings that volunteers shouldn’t have a say about strategic issues – that being outside of their proper domain and, very often, their interest. And staff can feel left out when there is a focus on volunteering development – ‘what about us?’.

I’ve worked in organisations where induction, reward and recognition is better for volunteers than it is for staff. Volunteers can also be treated differently to staff, manifested in double standards – inappropriate volunteer behaviour is not dealt with for fear of upsetting a much needed team – risking the credibility of staff. We do need to make volunteers feel valued – Volunteers’ Week is a great initiative as is giving thanks/feedback regularly – but if volunteers genuinely get value from their involvement and are thanked for that, is there also a need to mark them out as particularly special (more special than staff) because they give their time for free?

Still, given that most charities have more unpaid than paid staff, it of course makes sense that volunteers have a strong voice, or at least the opportunity should be there for those who want it. Having Trustees who understand and champion volunteering is also vital – don’t assume that Trustees, as volunteers themselves, will understand volunteering. In terms of voice, there is often a gap between that senior body of volunteers and those in other roles – very often few opportunities to drive/contribute strategically, or playing key roles.

Senior managers and other staff often pay lip service to volunteering, not understanding it and its power. This ignorance can lead to suspicion of volunteer motivations (often related to job security), and misconceptions around a lack of professionalism and reliability can lead to a lack of trust and reluctance to relinquish control.

Volunteering has never had such a high profile, but some organisations still state that volunteers can’t do the same jobs as paid workers, though in practise this is rarely the case. It is difficult to see how  gardeners, researchers and retail volunteers aren’t doing the same job as their paid counterparts.

Perhaps it’s something to do with paid staff taking overall responsibility for the organisation and quality of the work, but this attitude, coupled with a lack of understanding of why people volunteer, also leads to missed opportunities to ask volunteers to do things that some consider inappropriate in other ways. As Canal & River Trust colleagues will testify, whilst engineers and surveyors are keen to share their skills and time, some of us actually do just want to pick up litter or scrub graffiti off bridges.

People will still volunteer, even if the volunteering culture isn’t great, because they are passionate and committed. But in these changing times of increased competition for people’s free time that probably won’t last for long.

This guest blog is by Lynn Blackadder, a coach and consultant with 22 years’ experience of helping organisations involve volunteers. Lynn blogs in a personal capacity.
lynn@lynnblackadder.com , @lynnblackadder )

 

Investing in volunteering

In contrast to Lynn Blackadder’s last post in our “Embedding a Volunteer Culture” blog series, today she discusses how to best involve and create a framework for volunteers when an organisation (and its culture) is already up and running. 

If you can’t start from scratch and build volunteering in with the bricks, you need to invest time and money to affect culture change.

An organisation that has been thinking differently about volunteering for some time is the National Trust – an organisation set up by volunteers, governed by an elected, unpaid Council and Board of Trustees.

The Trust has a clear volunteering vision that aims to involve volunteers from all walks of life in all roles and at every level – shaping the Trust’s work, not just delivering it. Trust staff and volunteers are working hard to encourage their places to take a ‘one team’ approach, avoiding a culture of ‘us and them’. Two properties I have worked with – Polesden Lacey and Nymans – have achieved this by:

  • Recruiting volunteers to supervisory/coordination roles
  • Staff and volunteers designing and delivering together core induction and other training sessions. New staff and volunteers are inducted together, setting expectations and embodying the culture from the outset
  • Creating a forum or sounding board – representatives from all teams working together to take stock, give feedback and influence what happens
  • Celebrating success and rewarding achievement together
  • Creating policies that apply to all – everyone signs up to the Trust’s values and behaviours and are treated equally.

The Trust invests heavily in volunteering development to ensure that people running its places feel confident and capable of providing an excellent experience. Fully embedding a devolved volunteer management structure has been key to that. With such high numbers of volunteers at many Trust places, responsibility for the volunteering experience has become part of many roles as opposed to one.

This is essential to sustaining a pro-volunteering culture, as is raising awareness through induction and training of why people volunteer and how to get the best out of working relationships – whether or not people are directly supervising volunteers.

In any organisation I might run, I would never put someone in charge of people – paid or unpaid – without people management experience. Yet so many organisations do, and this is often a major factor affecting the volunteer experience and culture. Inexperienced people managers are expected to get results from a very diverse range of people, some of whom have, quite rightly, very high expectations of management – generally, but often based on substantial previous professional experience.

Creating one set of communications for all is also key: newsletters, daily briefings and consultations that everyone receives regardless of role. And people feel valued when we demonstrate that we listen to them: a strong team will accept (indeed seek out) open and honest conversation and feedback. Explanations as to why ideas and suggestions are/are not taken up is also vital.

This guest blog is by Lynn Blackadder, a coach and consultant with 22 years’ experience of helping organisations involve volunteers.
lynn@lynnblackadder.com , @lynnblackadder )

On 8 July, we will be hearing from Kate Adams, Head of Volunteering, and Liz Cyro, Head of Internal Communications, at Royal Mencap Society. They will be talking about Mencap’s volunteer culture, their agreed principles of volunteering, and how internal communications have been an essential partner in developing their people messaging.

To book your space on AVM’s “Embedding Volunteer Culture within an Organisation” Networking Day click here.

Thoughts from AVM’s new chair

As newly elected chair of AVM, Debbie Usiskin lays out her thoughts on the way forward.

Some of you may already be aware that I was elected Chair of AVM earlier this year. I was one of the founding Directors, gathering together volunteer managers from all sectors to talk about what we would want from a professional association, forming the first board and then launching the organisation..

I have been the Vice Chair since we inaugurated working closely with each of my predecessors to lead us to where we are today. I am pleased to be taking the Chair-ship at this exciting time. Membership is growing to such an extent that we have engaged professional assistance to administer to members. Our events are growing in popularity to such an extent that we have engaged a professional event co-ordinator to put on more and better events – in all parts of the country.

And, at the same time we are in discussion with an increasing range of training providers in relation to skills development for volunteer managers, and in dialogue with academic institutions who are researching many issues around volunteer engagement.

There are opportunities for you as a member to get involved with all of these things – host a networking event, present a piece of work that you have done to your peers, take part in research or represent us at meetings with training providers, for example.

This is OUR association and will grow in the direction that WE take it so please let us know what you are thinking and what you can do to help.

Looking forward to seeing you at a network day or conference soon.

 

Maintaining a volunteering vision

In the second instalment of our “Embedding a Volunteer Culture” blog series, Lynn shares the benefits of ensuring volunteer involvement from the outset as well as maintaining a clear vision of their place within an organisation.

The volunteer program springs from the Museum’s strong belief in the importance of social inclusion. Museums in the twenty first century need to actively involve people from every level of their community …. Imperial War Museum North is wholly committed to lifelong learning … the program is a vital element of our accessible learning strategy that appeals to local – as well as national – audiences and encourages community involvement.
Jim Forrester, Director, IWM North

When IWM North opened its doors to the public in 2002 they were welcomed by a team of people, a great number of whom lived locally in the then regeneration area of Trafford. Many of those were volunteers who were, as I said at the time, ‘in with the bricks’: we recruited and started to involve around 250 volunteers whilst the museum was being built, and as the above quote shows, volunteering was at the heart of the museum’s strategy.

As a multi-site charity already engaging volunteers, with a volunteer board and strong volunteer belief and leadership at Executive level, the new museum was well placed to take volunteering to new heights – both in terms of reaching non-traditional volunteers and embedding volunteering in the new organisation.

With all of these ducks in a row, the cultural expectations of staff and volunteers – existing and those being recruited – were set well in advance, and this pro-volunteering culture permeated every aspect of the museum’s operations.

Of course, people move on, and sometimes new colleagues are less aware of volunteering’s role and power. They won’t necessarily relate to or understand the culture. This is why it’s crucial that everyone coming into an organisation is made aware of that culture from the first exposure: through job adverts, taster sessions, interviews, induction and training – right through to exit interviews.

Staff and volunteers should always be inducted and trained together whenever possible. Mess facilities should be shared, and reward and recognition should apply to everyone.

This guest blog is by Lynn Blackadder, a coach and consultant with 22 years’ experience of helping organisations involve volunteers.
lynn@lynnblackadder.com , @lynnblackadder )

On 8 July, we will be hearing from Rachel Tapp, Volunteer Coordinator for the London Borough of Havering Council, about building a volunteer program from scratch and exploring the journey towards an effective, working volunteer strategy woven throughout the aims and objectives of the wider organisation. To book your space on AVM’s “Embedding Volunteer Culture within an Organisation” Networking Day click here.

 

 

What is ‘volunteering culture’?

In the first of a series of exclusive blogs in the run up to AVM’s “Embedding a Volunteer Culture Within an Organisation” Networking Day on 8 July our guest blogger Lynn Blackadder explores volunteering culture and the factors that can influence it.

I have often asked new clients: ‘What is the volunteering culture like here?’

Sometimes people look a bit vague, so I then ask: ‘Is it a pro-volunteering culture?’. Thinking about it, I’m still not sure what I’m asking with these questions: are paid staff pro-volunteering; or is the organisation a place where volunteering flourishes; or are these the same thing?

It’s not just about how staff feel. Volunteering culture is also shaped by volunteers themselves, and they operate at different levels and in different ways: in charities, at the most senior/responsible level as the Board of Trustees (usually unpaid); at another level, delivering services on the front line; and sometimes, increasingly, at all levels in between – advising, facilitating, influencing.

Volunteers can also operate in a way that one might call ‘political’. ‘Office politics’ is not the domain of paid staff alone.

‘The way things are done around here’ is often how organisational culture is described: a system of shared assumptions, values and beliefs that govern how people behave within an organisational structure.

In my experience, rarely are values shared in a negative culture. And volunteers are as likely as staff to become entrenched – perpetuating long established, outdated and undermining ways of working (occasionally with Machiavellian fervour!), influencing through conscious or unconscious bias. Some volunteers can also have a very strong – often inappropriate – sense of entitlement based on the fact that they are not paid and therefore not contracted (‘you can’t tell me what to do’), whilst others assume a subservient role (‘I’m just a volunteer’).

Organisational structure can also negatively set and influence culture – rigidity, bureaucracy and inefficiency. And it’s difficult to implement change when we rely operationally on large numbers of people who are against it.

What does a ‘pro-volunteering’ culture look like? It’s not as simple as there being lots of volunteers around, or finding something for everyone to do who wishes to turn up.

The ‘gift’ of time/expertise has no value if it doesn’t benefit both parties. Staff and volunteers will soon become dissatisfied, disgruntled and ineffective if there isn’t real, meaningful work to be done, in a mutually beneficial way. Customers and beneficiaries are the first to pick up on this negative cultural vibe.

A pro-volunteering culture is a bit like Blackpool Rock: it’s visible at the top and the bottom, and runs in a rich, consistent seam throughout.

Volunteering is more than a means to an end: volunteers are ‘in with the bricks’, influencing and underpinning the organisational vision, aims and plans. Paid staff aren’t afraid of unpaid colleagues – their motivations and abilities. The culture is one of equality, team work, shared values and respect for standards – behaviours and performance. It is one where everyone’s contribution is valued and people celebrate together. There is no volunteer ‘program’: the human resources function leads and develops paid and unpaid people in the same way, whilst sensitive to contractual requirements and individual motivations.

Volunteering is not an ‘add on’, and volunteer leadership and management are recognised as professional skills – not ‘extra’, but essential key tasks in job descriptions. Staff working alongside, rather than directly supervising volunteers, are also trained to understand why people volunteer and how to get the best out of working relationships.

A key test is to ask why staff would want to have their own celebrations without volunteers, e.g. at Christmas time. We don’t always get on with our colleagues, but if staff are more likely to get on better with other staff than volunteers, you’ve got volunteer recruitment wrong at the very least.

This guest blog is by Lynn Blackadder, a coach and consultant with 22 years’ experience of helping organisations involve volunteers. Lynn will be writing several blogs in the run up to AVM’s event on 8 July, exploring volunteering culture and the factors that can influence it.
lynn@lynnblackadder.com , @lynnblackadder )

To book a space on AVM’s “Embedding a Volunteer Culture Within an Organisation” Networking Day click here

Networking Day: Embedding a Volunteer Culture Within your Organisation – 8th July

  • Does your organisation actively support volunteers or could they be doing more?
  • Do you struggle to get buy-in from senior level and the wider team for the importance and need to volunteers?
  • How does your organisational culture impact on a volunteers experience and what does this mean long-term?

This special Network Day has been designed to focus specifically on sharing experiences of how we can better develop a pro volunteering culture within our own organisation.

Book your space HERE

This event is kindly supported and hosted by Jewish Care.

Jewish Care
Amélie House,
Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Campus,
221 Golders Green Road,
London,
NW11 9DQ


NOTE: Please do not bring any food or drinks to the venue other than water as all food on site needs to be kosher. Any other food or drink brought to the event will not be allowed on site. Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

10:00am Arrivals, Tea and coffee and Informal networking

10:30am Welcome from AVM

10:35am Structured networking

11:00am Building and Effective Volunteer Programme from the Ground Up.

Rachel Tapp – Volunteer Co-ordinator – London Borough of Havering Council

How do you build a volunteering programme from scratch? What challenges might you meet along the way and how can you overcome them?

We will explore the journey towards an effective, working volunteer strategy woven throughout the aims and objectives of the wider organisation. This talk will touch on identifying the need for volunteers as well as writing and implementing rewarding and valuable roles and formalizing programmes with written policies all whilst getting your most important resource on-board – staff and service users.

12.00pm Developing a volunteering culture at Royal Mencap Society by engaging staff and volunteers through our internal people communications work.

Kate Adams – Head of Volunteering & Liz Cyro Head of Internal Communications – Royal Mencap Society

This presentation will take a look at Mencap’s volunteer culture as well as their agreed principles to volunteering and how internal communications have been an essential partner in developing their people messaging. Kate and Liz will give a practical overview of building the internal relationship whilst sharing internal communication copy and giving practical examples of what they did.

13:00 Lunch – To be provided

13:45pm Creating a Volunteer Culture Within Your Organisation.

Adrienne Thompson – Volunteer Development Manager – Arthritis Care

Arthritis Care has long been referred to as a ‘volunteer led’ organisation. However, until 2015, it had no dedicated volunteering function to ensure they honoured this statement.

While there have been amazing things happening across the UK, which are volunteer led, the culture within the organisation did not always exist to support this.

During this presentation Adrienne will describe the steps they have taken throughout the course of the year, and will share some tips around how to get organisational ‘buy in’.

Of course there have been challenges, but there have been many successes and lessons learnt. They hope to share these with you, and their plans for this ever evolving piece of work.

This has been an exciting journey for the whole organisation, but it isn’t over yet.

14:45pm Open Space (with tea and coffee)

An opportunity for attendees to lead or request discussions on topics relevant to them, drawing on peer support to explore challenges and celebrate successes

15:45pm Final comments and evaluation

16:00pm Close

Book your space HERE

Not a member? Why not join AVM and save on the cost of your ticket?  YOU CAN JOIN HERE
Simply complete the paperwork and send us a cheque and then pop back here and book on as a member – what could be easier? No need to wait for confirmation of membership

AVM Network Day – Retail Volunteer Management

Our latest networking day on getting the best from retail volunteers was held in London on Thursday 19 May and brought together 35 participants from all over the UK, from retail heavyweights to those considering retail as a new revenue stream, small local charities to big national organisations it was a great day for networking and sharing new ideas and best practice.

Diane Eyre and Lily Caswell from Save the Children opened the day with their talk on the charities predominantly volunteer managed network of shops, the opportunities this model presents as well as the possible pit-falls and creating the right foundations to manage both. The key message being that if you empower your volunteers to do more and to take more responsibility then your organisation will reap the rewards.

They were followed by Karen Allsop and Liz Reed who joined us from Blue Cross who’s retail offering has increased significantly over recent years. Rapid expansion has forced them to take a closer look at their recruiting process and how they can attract volunteers more effectively by streamlining the application process and making volunteering for them more accessible.

And finally Alex South and Darryl Neville from Sense rounded of the day with their approach to volunteer recruitment and managing their individual shops needs with their Four Group Plan as well as demonstrating how they have implemented clear strategy to boost sales.

Many thanks for those of you who attended and to Nightingale Hammerson who very kindly provided the meeting space. For those of you who couldn’t make it we hope you will join us at our next event but in the meantime follow the below links to access the presentations

Managing the Rising Costs of Retail Staff by Diane Eyre & Lily Caswell, Save the Children

Keeping Pace with Retail by Karen Allsop & Liz Reed, Blue Cross

Empty Nests to Social Hubs – Alex South, Sense

The “Orange Shop” an Ongoing Journey – Darryl Neville, Sense