Bookings Now Open for AVM 2017: The Annual Conference

We’re pleased to announce that bookings for AVM 2017: The Annual Conference are now open.

Book your place now.

As an AVM member you already receive a 50% discount on your conference booking but why not enjoy more with the early bird discount. We only have a limited number of these tickets available.

As a non-member you can still enjoy early bird discount, but we only have a limited number of these tickets available.

Don’t leave it too long to book your place and why would you want to when you see what a fantastic line-up we have planned:

Keynote speakers this year are:
Julie Bentley, CEO of Girlguiding
Vicky Browning, CEO of Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
James Probert, Director of Strategy and Impact, City Year UK

Seminars this year include:
• Change is not a journey
• Measuring Impact
• Using data and benchmarks to drive volunteering up the agenda
• Embracing the age of opportunity – involving younger and older volunteers
• Corporate volunteering from the third sector perspective
• Creativity and meaning in volunteer reward and recognition
• Influential Leadership: Gaining Commitment, Getting Results
• GIVERS – Nudging People to Volunteer

You shouldn’t just hear it from us how great the conference is. Carly Benton, Volunteer Development Officer at Crohn’s and Colitis UK, shares her experience of being a first-timer at the AVM Conference in 2016 and why you shouldn’t miss out:

“For me there is nothing more valuable than meeting like-minded peers to challenge my thinking.  There will always be areas for improvement and barriers to overcome in the world of volunteering. This is why the AVM Conference is the perfect place for volunteer managers to come together with a shared understanding, to not only to develop your skillset and keep up to date with current trends, but also to reassure you you’re not in it alone!”

We look forward to seeing you at the Volunteer Management event of the year!

AVM Conference Team

 

Other L&D events:

Meaningful Engagement Begins with Recruitment, 27 July, 10 am – 4 pm

Click here to secure members’ rates.

Addressing the challenge of securing fully motivated and engaged, long-term volunteers. Should this begin with a recruitment strategy focussed on engagement? We consider a range of approaches from large and small organisations, and specialist advisers.

Volunteer Management In The Next Decade

Karl Wilding continues our tenth anniversary blog series with thoughts on how Volunteer Management’s journey to date will shape the next ten years.

In the ten years since AVM was established, much has changed in the world around us that has impacted upon volunteering and therefore volunteer management. Some of this surprised us: a financial crisis, a decade of economic stagnation and social tensions, albeit punctuated by the highlight of volunteering during London 2012, and more recently the decision to leave the European Union. Some changes we saw coming: the demographic pressures and changing social attitudes of an ageing, more diverse and more atomised society. What we probably didn’t see was how quickly these changes would come about and the pressure they would place on our communities and the services we use. We probably also didn’t see how the opportunities that digital technology would deliver, or some of the social fractures it would deepen. Building bridges between communities of place and interest is more vital than ever, a tension that saw volunteer management hit (for the first time?) the front pages of our national newspapers recently.

We live in interesting times. It seems to me that these wider social, demographic and economic changes will continue to shape and reshape volunteering over the next decade, though only the most foolhardy venture to make predictions these days. What therefore might AVM members want to mull over as shaping the next 10 years?

For me, the slow burn of demographic change will reshape volunteering and how we think about how we work with those who want to engage in the communities (note the plural) around them. Public services are already being refashioned so as to involve service users more in their delivery. Boundaries between paid and unpaid staff will blur as we try and cope with pressures from a growing, but ageing, population. Note also the less flexible labour markets that many argue will result from the decision to leave the European Union.

Informal volunteering, such as acts of neighbourliness, especially seem important as reducing demand is seen as a way of helping public services better cope. The Royal Voluntary Service’s increased focus on social action might be indicative of the way forward here. Do we need to (re)think volunteer managers as convenors, catalysts, shapers of people who want to get involved in their communities? If so, is it a radical rethink or an evolution of change already afoot? Either way, it will be more important than ever that we build and strengthen the bonds of community. More people helping people.

But it’s about more than just individuals doing good things: bringing people together so that they are more than the sum of their parts, working out how best to involve businesses who feel a responsibility to the community, and working out how to work alongside our public services are all part of the emerging landscape. We’ve learnt over the last decade that volunteers don’t always just appear spontaneously; or even when they do, good organisation and infrastructure enables volunteers to make a bigger impact.

Effective, impactful volunteering needs good infrastructure and networks. As government and business become more interested in social action, the case for investment in volunteer management might become more apparent, based on experience. In turn this will inevitably lead to more thinking about value for money, greater calls for management information, and more data collection. That has to be a good thing, but for some it might be the less attractive side of continued professionalization. If that leads to less of the ‘let’s sprinkle some volunteers on the problem’ type thinking, then a more data-driven approach is OK by me.

The topic of data leads to a discussion of digital (aka #techforgood) and how that might shape the future of volunteering. This is the most difficult to call: AVM’s ten year anniversary coincides with the device that pretty much kicked off the smartphone revolution, the iPhone. Could anyone seriously have predicted the impact that would have on pretty much every aspect of life? Current trends might suggest an ever-more efficient brokering of people who want to get involved with opportunities that fit (based on the data that your phone now collects about you); more emphasis on place and opportunities based on where someone happens to be; and more mopping up of small bits of spare time as the smartphone facilitates activities such as mentoring, remotely. Finally, tech blogs are currently awash with discussions of AI and machine learning. I can’t even begin to understand how these will shape volunteer management – they will – but in terms of volunteering itself, volunteers are already helping machines to learn how to recognise patterns that have a social outcome, such as this project around slavery. A brave new world indeed.

Volunteer management will not stay static in the next decade. Nor should it. I look forward to AVM leading the discussion around what the brave new world of volunteer management could, and might, look like.

 

Karl Wilding speaks and writes widely on issues facing the voluntary sector. Karl is Director of Public Policy and Volunteering at NCVO, a trustee of both Creating the Future and St Albans CVS, and an advisor to Charity Bank.

Winning in Volunteer Management: How Sports & Non-Profits can Learn Together

21 September, at The Crypt, Christ Church, Spitalfields

This event is looking at how we can work more closely together. Click here for more information or to book a place.

Prior to the 2012 London Olympics, the government asked sporting organisations what they knew about volunteering, and they asked volunteering organisations what they knew about sport. Both answers were the same: “Virtually nothing!”

Yet sports volunteering accounts for 22% of the UK total – more than any other sector. (This information came out at our last event on 27 July)

Many charities organise sports-style fundraising events, such as walks or runs or cycle rides, but is there cooperation with sports organisations in the preparation or administration of these events?

Surely the time is ripe for sports and non-sports volunteer managers to get together and start to work together: to share experiences and challenges and successes.

This event will hear from presenters with experience of both sports and other non-profit and charity organisations, from research professors working in collaboration with sports organisations across the world and from the London 2012 Legacy charity: Join In. There will also be the usual networking opportunities and the chance to voice your own opinions.

Speakers will include: Jenny Betteridge, Sport England; Chantelle Scherer, Join In; Dr. Fiona Reid, SRVN / Glasgow University; Dr. Lindsay Findlay-King, SRVN / Northumbria University; Alex Beaumont, LTA -British Tennis; Kerry Marland, England Athletics.

Click here for more information or to book a place.                                                            

Every Journey Had A Beginning

Continuing our series of blogs celebrating AVM’s tenth anniversary, Rob Jackson reflects on his memories of the time leading up to the creation of AVM.

Joe Saxton recently shared his thoughts about what the next ten years might hold in store for AVM so I thought it might be nice to travel back in time to the birth of the Association.

AVM had its genesis in regular networking meetings John Ramsey and I used to organise (as volunteers) for volunteer managers. After the demise of the National Volunteer Managers Forum the only networking opportunity that remained was a closed group, which neither John nor I were a part of. We didn’t begrudge the group existing but did think that something should be available to any Volunteer Manager that wanted to take part.

The group met at various locations across London and, on one occasion, close to Old Street roundabout, the group hosted a visit from Australian colleague Andy Fryar. Andy had agreed to come and share his wisdom with us whilst visiting the UK on business. During the resulting discussion Andy challenged us to follow the lead of our Australian colleagues who were busy founding AAMoV, AVM’s cousin ‘down under’.

That meeting and that discussion gave birth to the idea that became AVM. To this day Andy rightly considers himself the midwife that helped deliver AVM.

Not long after that I started a new job at Volunteering England. My employer deemed it a conflict of interest for me to take up my new role and be involved in AVM and so I stepped back, leaving John to carry the baby to term, so to speak.

I take absolutely no credit at all for creating AVM. I was just one voice in a room that helped initiate the idea. John Ramsey deserves all the plaudits for making the idea a reality, along with all those early board members. It is thanks to their hard work, their risk taking (something Volunteer Managers aren’t always naturals at) and their commitment to our field that, ten years later, we have the Association of Volunteer Managers.

AVM isn’t perfect but, do you know what? Neither are volunteers and volunteering. We are much better off now with AVM in existence than we were twenty-three-years-ago when I started in this profession.

AVM is the sum of all of us. It succeeds when we all get involved, when we all commit to our field, when we all take action, when, as the theme for this year’s International Volunteer Manager Day states, we all take steps to ‘Be The Voice’ for volunteer leadership and management.

I can’t leave this article there, though. The last word should go my my friend John Ramsey. John’s death in 2014 left AVM and the profession of Volunteer Management weaker. Thankfully we have some of his wisdom preserved in his writing, so I end on one of my friend’s quotes, something we should all remember every day:

I will never tire of saying this: Volunteer management is about respecting our volunteers sufficiently that we properly invest in them to maximise their engagement and participation, and ensure the very best outcomes for our beneficiaries.

Meaningful Engagement Begins with Recruitment.

27 July 2017 10 am till 4 pm, lunch included

At The Crypt, Christ Church Spitalfields Commercial Street | Spitalfields | London

The challenge of both recruiting and retaining useful, effective volunteers is an ever-present aspect of volunteer management. Most of us agree that time ensuring existing volunteers are satisfied and fulfilled in their roles is time well spent. However, is it possible to promote long-term volunteer engagement by focussing on this aim as part of the recruitment stage?

This full day event will look at the recruitment strategies and some of the campaigns planned and utilised by a variety of organisations.

Hazel Finney of Community Impact Bucks will consider the fundamental issues all organisations need to consider when approaching volunteer recruitment. With experience of training, preparing and supporting more than 3,500 small organisations in developing their recruitment policies, Hazel has almost unrivalled knowledge of her subject.

Will Watt of Join In and Jump Projects has developed GIVERS as an extension of his award-winning work on the 2012 Olympic legacy charity, Join In. GIVERS transforms data on over 300,000 volunteers into a simple, practical tool to help anyone recruit, retain and reward more volunteers.

Flora Nicholson of Cancer Research UK will co-present with Will Watt, looking at CRUK’s use of GIVERS in their recent volunteer recruitment.

Stephen Hill of Parkinson’s UK will present on their early pre-recruitment preparations. Parkinson’s UK are attempting a radical, far more in-depth approach to the challenge of encouraging long term, fully engaged volunteering.

Daniel Ingram of Wood Green, The Animals Charity, will be considering how to effectively divide his time and resources between recruitment and active retention / engagement strategies.

The event will be hosted by AVM Director Bryan Precious, and will include a light lunch. Held in the Crypt of Christ Church Spitalfields, this promises to be an ideal opportunity to discover the latest thinking on recruitment, retention and engagement of volunteers. As always, attendees can network and share experiences with counterparts from a broad cross section of volunteer organisations.

To secure your place, click here.

For a full agenda, click here.

 

 

Notice of Extraordinary General Meeting: 13 July 2017

Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) will be holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at the following time and location:

6pm, Thursday 13 July 2017
The Royal British Legion (Head Office), 199 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1AA

The business to be discussed is a change in the articles of incorporation of AVM.

A series of changes is proposed, and can be downloaded using the links below.

  • Proposed changes marked-up on current articles

Please note that as these documents are stored on Google Drive you may encounter restrictions if accessing them from a corporate network.

(Please note that these documents are no longer available for download)

Ten Ten Ten: How Does The Next Decade Look For Volunteering

Continuing our series of blogs celebrating AVM’s tenth anniversary, Joe Saxton offers his ‘top ten’ of how volunteering will change in the next decade.

AVM is ten years old. It’s a huge achievement for any start-up organisation to get this far. Much has changed in the world of volunteering in the last ten years, but the need for AVM is greater than ever. The world of volunteering will go on changing over the next 10 years. So here are my 10 predictions for how volunteering will change, what the best volunteer managers will be doing, and how AVM will need to react.

1. The potential for volunteering will go on growing. Whether its volunteers in schools, welcoming refugees, campaigning against government cuts, or helping neighbours, we haven’t begun to reach saturation in the ways that volunteering can change society.

2. Baby boomers are going to hit peak volunteering potential. The generation born in the years 1946-1964 are just hitting retirement in volume and the potential for them to volunteer is huge. But they need to be treated right.

3. With a little help from charities, youth volunteering will mature to help young people move seamlessly into volunteering during their working lives. Volunteers are for life, not just for young people.

4. Volunteer managers will have specialisms just like fundraisers do. There are over 15 types of fundraising expertise. Expect volunteering management to become more and more specialist as it matures, just as fundraising has.

5. Supporter-centred management will be where the best volunteer managers steal a march on competitors. We already see fundraising and communications and marketing working much more closely together. The best organisations will look at how supporters want to engage and manage their needs holistically whether they want to give, volunteer, campaign or use services.

6. We still don’t know how to encourage neighbourliness or manage it or see it as part of volunteering nearly enough. As much as we want people to volunteer in charity shops and more formal ways, we want people to give time to neighbourhood. This is an example of the specialisms that are needed (see point 4).

7. The most far-sighted charities will invest in volunteer recruitment the way they do donor recruitment. Typically they may invest several hundred pounds in donor recruitment and the total budget may amount to millions of pounds in the biggest charities. I wonder how many volunteer managers even have a recruitment budget.

8. Intertwining specific audiences by demographics (eg working parents) and product (eg micro-volunteering) will be the breakfast of volunteering champions. In other words, the best organisations will understand exactly who their volunteers are, or could be, and create the volunteering products to encourage, entice and engage them ever more into giving their time.

9. AVM needs to gear up to change to make the most of volunteering. A decade after launch it still has just one member of staff (while CharityComms launched at the same time has nearly 10 staff). AVM needs to grasp the potential of the years ahead with passion, energy and enthusiasm.

10. And one of the ways that AVM can make the most of its potential is a name change. Its current name is like a millstone round its neck, partly because the name is usually shortened, and partly because it isn’t just ‘volunteer managers’ who do volunteer management. It can be people with a bundle of responsibilities. AVM as a name ghettoises the organisation and holds it back.

This guest blog is by Joe Saxton, Driver of Ideas at nfpSynergy and its founder. Joe co-founded and chaired CharityComms, and has been chair of the Institute of Fundraising and People & Planet. Joe blogs in a personal capacity.

Ten Years of Championing Volunteer Management

Ten years ago today, a group of volunteer managers launched a body that aimed to champion the role of the volunteer manager in building a thriving volunteer involving organisation. Inspired by the desire to bring people together to network and share best practice, as well as demonstrate the impact of volunteer management, AVM was born.

I was one of those people.

My personal starting point in this journey was being at a meeting of the National Volunteer Managers Forum and thinking ‘what’s so special about managing volunteers – they’re just people?’

I’ve now come full circle and have realised how complex managing volunteers is. I’ve realised that people bring themselves to volunteering in a way that’s very different from their job. When ‘just doing a job’ a person will offer one side of themselves, but when volunteering they bring their full self.

What this means is that people managing volunteers need to learn how to read people and go through that process. When bringing their full selves to the party, people will bring an emotional history which makes a real difference in the way they can behave. Volunteer managers can sometimes find that a challenge. We need to be able to demonstrate respect for a volunteer’s experience, whilst also ensuring volunteers recognise the boundaries in their role – it’s a real juggling act.

For organisations providing services it may be difficult to remember that colleagues and volunteers may also be – or have been – service users. In fact this is very likely for volunteers.

Volunteers can help bridge the gap between service users and the wider organisation, helping overcome the feeling of ‘us and them’. Volunteers bring in the experience and emotional history, which may be too painful for staff to deal with.

Having been there at the beginning, I wanted to bring these perspectives and learnings to a wider audience, to find peers to share them with and talk about them.

I am proud that we have developed and grown this voice, and this space to share it, and have a mature, dedicated organisation a decade later.

These ten years have represented a great deal of effort, but I hope you’ll agree that, today, AVM provides the information, support and sharing that ensures volunteer managers can effectively enable volunteers to share their skills in a way that gives the most impact.

To all of you that have come with us on this journey, for however long, thank you for bringing out the magic of volunteering.

Embracing Digital Communication for Volunteer Management

June L&D Event

AVM’s new Learning & Development Officer, Greville Southgate, has joined AVM from the Heritage Arts sector and has a background in creating and developing successful training events. His first event in the new role will be Embracing Digital Communication for Volunteer Management, on 29 June 2017 at VAI in Islington, 1:30 – 5 pm.

This event will be a great opportunity to learn about some of the digital options that are currently being used to communicate with volunteers. Suitable for both large and small organisations, we will be assessing a range of tools that can help engage and support volunteers. Attendees will meet colleagues from across the UK who may be facing similar challenges, and the chance to discuss and compare experiences is a vital component of all AVM activities. AVM Directors and the L&D Officer will be on hand to answer any general enquiries that you may have, as well as digital experts for more specific questions.

We will start by examining how non-profit organisations can benefit from embracing some of the digital tools on offer, as well as recognising some potential risks and some of the less obvious costs.

We will hear presentations from Rebecca Harper, Guide Dogs UK and Jo Keller, RNIB. These charities have been utilising both small-scale and large-scale digital systems to communicate and engage with volunteers and volunteer managers. They will tell us about their reasoning, their aims and finally the results of opting for the systems they use.

There will be an open-space discussion where delegates consider questions arising from the presentations, and can share their own expectations and experiences with similar tools or situations.

Finally, we will hear from A.S. Maini, Volunteer Centre Camden, who will provide an overview of some of the most interesting and cost-effective tools currently available for non-profits. This will include both free and paid-for systems, and assess the salient features of each.

For a full agenda, click here:

AGENDA for Embracing Digital Communication for Volunteer Management 29 June 2017

To book a ticket, go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/embracing-digital-communication-for-volunteer-management-an-avm-ld-event-tickets-34969358292

The event is being sponsored by Better Impact:

Better Impact is a small but global company that believes in helping non-profits, charities, NGOs and government agencies achieve more by providing use easy to use, purpose-built technology, over the top support and innovative educational platforms.

Better Impact specialises in providing Volunteer Impact, volunteer management software based in the cloud. From online volunteer applications direct into the system, to rota management, quick reporting and easy communications, the software is designed to help you manage your volunteers more efficiently, giving you more time to focus on engagement and strategic planning, as well as enabling volunteers to become more engaged through their own personal online portal.  Read more and watch some short videos here.

www.BetterImpact.co.uk

0203 0140 226 ext 152

 

 

It’s a Date – AVM 2017 is on 18 October

With five months to go until we come together for AVM’s sector leading annual conference, we’re asking you to keep Wednesday 18 October firmly held in your diaries.

At AVM 2017 – The Annual Conference we’ll celebrate our 10th birthday and, with plans hotting up, the event promises to be bigger and better than ever before. We’re thrilled to announce an exciting line-up of keynote speakers, as shown below, with further announcements on seminars to follow over the coming months.

We’re delighted that the conference will again be held at the Royal National Hotel, London, close to Euston and Kings Cross stations. Early bird tickets will be released shortly so be sure to keep an eye on your emails for further news. Last year’s event sold out in record time, so we’d strongly encourage you to book as early as you can.

Our keynote speakers this year will be:

Julie Bentley
CEO, Girlguiding
Having dedicated her career to the not for profit sector, including as a youth worker, a young people’s drug and alcohol worker, Julie has gone on to hold a number of senior leadership positions in the sector for twenty years. Julie will speak to AVM nearly 5 years into her role as CEO at Girlguiding.

Vicky Browning
CEO, Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO)
Vicky heads up ACEVO, the UK’s largest and most influential network for Charity and Social Enterprise Leaders. For nearly 30 years, ACEVO have provided support, development and an inspiring, collective campaigning voice for their members across the UK, the leaders of small, community based groups, ambitious medium-sized organisations, and well known, well-loved national and international not-for-profits.

James Probert
Director of Strategy and Impact, City Year UK
James joined City Year UK in 2009 and, as Director of Impact, he oversees the design and evaluation of activities for school children and young people, and the expansion of the ‘service year’ concept to new areas. James will be speaking on the Full Time Social Action Review and any implications for the voluntary sector and specifically the leaders of volunteering in the sector as a result of the outcomes of the review, due out immediately before the conference.

Save the Date
So make sure to keep 18 October free and watch out for more news on the conference in the coming months. Remember that members will enjoy a substantial discount on conference tickets when bookings open.