It’s a Date! – 18 October 2018, AVM Annual Conference

Just seven months to go until we come together for the sector-leading AVM annual conference, we’re asking you to keep the date – 18th October – firmly held in your diaries.

This year’s conference promises to be bigger and better than ever before. We’re working hard pulling together an exciting programme for the day including inspirational and challenging keynote speakers, networking opportunities and topical seminars/workshops. These will address topical issues and areas for development for all of us who help people donate their time and talents.

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 – and enjoy an early bird discount!

Don’t take our word for it, here are a few things people said about last year’s conference:

  • “Great networking, really friendly participants and organisers. Very professionally run in a great venue”
  • “There’s a really great energy and camaraderie amongst volunteering folk which made for a great atmosphere. I also enjoyed the good variety of sessions and keynotes”
  • “It was really well organised. With a great choice of workshops and a busy, buzzy atmosphere. Lunch arrangements made great opportunities to talk to new people”
  • “Really great keynote speakers, individually and good variety across them. Great to have peers in the sector sharing learning in workshops. Always good to hear what others are up to and have a chance to discuss challenges candidly and support each other”
  • “The networking was great, the standard of speakers was high, I felt stretched by the discussions”

What people liked about the event:

  • “What did I like about the event? – All of it! -this was my first AVM conference and I thought it was efficiently run and well delivered. The speakers and workshop leaders were professional, knowledgeable and topical. It is important to have professionals representing who are not a formal part of the third or voluntary sector but who demonstrate leadership and have a keen interest/buy in to our profession and work”
  • “The varied programme and the wide range of workshops available. The knowledge of speakers and the opportunity to share expertise”
  • “Networking, exchanging ideas, free range to think outside the box – not always possible in a work context!”

Save the Date

So make sure to keep 18th October free and watch out for more news on the conference in the coming months on the Association of Volunteer Managers website and by email.

Remember, members enjoy a 50% discount on conference places when bookings open, so now is the time to renew your membership or invite colleagues to join. Click here

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Upcoming L&D events:

April 24, London. Retail volunteering: Time is Money. Click here for last few tickets.

May 15, London. Rewards and recognition: Encourage, Support, Improve! Click here to book.

June 12, Bristol. New approaches to engaging and involving volunteers. Click here to book.

July -tbc, London. Emotionally challenging situations for Volunteer Managers, (including emotional resilience and having difficult conversations with volunteers)  Tickets available soon.

August, TBC

September 19, Stirling. Inclusive volunteering, Inspiring participation. Tickets available soon.

OCTOBER 18, LONDON. AVM Annual Conference.

Join the AVM Membership Team!

Join UsThe Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) is an independent membership body that aims to support, represent and champion people in volunteer management across the UK. It has been set up by and for people who manage volunteers and has been growing for over a decade.

Our membership now stands at over 400 people across various fields, disciplines and sectors. Joining us ensures that those who manage volunteers are part of an active network of volunteer management professionals across the country, where they can give and receive support, exchange ideas and learn from each other.

Through AVM, volunteer managers have the chance to join together, speak with a louder voice, and influence volunteer management policy makers and funders.

AVM also runs a vibrant programme of learning events throughout the year, as well as our popular annual conference. In addition to the excellent discounts members on these events, all have the opportunity to contribute to or to lead various elements, enabling them to develop their leadership skills and strengthen their reputation within the volunteer management sector.

So, we are proud of the services we offer our members.

However, we also know we could do a lot to improve things. We think many members might not be fully aware of the range of benefits we offer, and we suspect our members have needs that AVM is not meeting.

Our Membership Sub-committee is made up of three Board Members and our Membership Administrator. We would like to invite our members to join us, to help us improve our services, and ultimately, the support and leadership available for volunteer managers across the UK.

We are recruiting to three volunteer roles, all of whom would form part of our Membership team. These roles are as follows:

  • Membership Development Officer
  • Membership Services Evaluation Officer (X2)
  • Membership Benchmarking Officer

All of these roles will be managed and supported by the AVM Director leading Membership services – Angela Wilson. 

If you would like to find out a bit more about any of the roles, you can contact Angela at: angela.wilson@volunteermanagers.org.uk

The closing date for applications is 27 April 2018.

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Diversity event: Are you willing to be uncomfortable?

By Keeley Mooney 
AVM member; Volunteer Development Officer, Royal British Legion
Discover the five fantastic videos from this event after reading this blog

Like a secret rabbit warren, Hanbury Hall appeared through the little coffee shop that sold divine smelling coffee and delicious looking cakes.

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The stage is set . What would you ask at our diversity event?

With such a large scope, “Diversity in Volunteering and how to attract different demographics”, I wasn’t too sure how this day would go. However it met all my expectations and more.

First off Bryan Precious from Age UK quickly put in to perspective the long term benefit for supporting older volunteers. Explaining that by 2030 there could be more than 1 million people over 65 volunteering in the UK.

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“We need to consider the needs of older volunteers, this process needs to be continuous” – Bryan,

But Bryan made clear that  it is essential to continuously consider the needs of older volunteers when recruiting, managing and creating a clear leaving pathway. Age UK can help you understand how to do this better via their Later Life facts and stats report – found here.

We then had a truly inspirational speaker from Age UK Camden on how to attract LGBT volunteers. Geraldine McCarthy shared both her personal experience and learning from a project called Opening Doors London. The way this presentation was received in the room showed it didn’t just impact me but many others as well.

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Geraldine is sharing a personal story of how her passion and desire created a space to volunteer in, and how her own volunteer motivations changed with life experience

Geraldine’s talk has led me to consider forming a representative group of volunteers that advocates for the needs of people from different backgrounds. That’s just one of the ideas I took away that could help influence how diverse needs are integrated into the development of volunteering projects.

Jenny Betteridge from Sport England followed Geraldine. Sport England work with many other sport organisations and saw over 6.7 million people volunteer in sport at least twice a year in 2017. Volunteering in sport can include coaching, a committee position, being a referee and much more. Jenny was honest about the challenges they face, with one third of sports volunteers considering quitting or reducing the amount they volunteer in the next 12 months.

Since this event I’ve been working my way through the Sport England resources page. The research can help many different sectors and I’d recommend having a look through!

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“The why is important throughout your journey” Jenny Betteridge, Are you sharing the reasons why diversity is important to your cause?

Next up was Matilda Wallis, from SS. Great Britain, a visitor attraction in Bristol. The work that Matilda and her team has been doing with local schools, colleges and universities has a lot of potential. They are collaborating  by designing mutually beneficial volunteer roles. The roles need to be flexible as young volunteers often wish to make a shorter commitment.

We ended with Charlotte Handel and Rupal Karia who job share the Head of Volunteering role at Hackney Volunteer Centre. This was a chance to look at the practical ways a charity can support different people to volunteer. The presentation made me realise that by creating a one-size-fits-all volunteer application process we limit who will apply for a role, even if it is something that is of interest to them.

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Would you adapt your roles like have done?

For me, the key message from the day was the need to step out of our comfort zone if we want to recruit people from different demographics.  So are you willing to be uncomfortable? Will you ask a completely different demographic their honest opinion about your current processes and roles? What have you got to lose?

The five fantastic Diversity event presentations from February are exclusively available to AVM members, using the password in the latest AVM event email, by visiting: https://volunteermanagers.org.uk/member-support/talks-and-events-archive/

View the next AVM Learning & Development Days you can attend: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/association-of-volunteer-managers-4550611853 

Encourage, Support, Improve: Effective use of Rewards and Recognition

Volunteers need to feel valued and appreciated, and an effective programme for reward and recognition can achieve so much more. Join us on 15 May 2018, at Hanbury Hall,  London E1 6QR, to learn what others are doing and get some inspiration for your own programme.

Click here to book a place.

This L&D event will look at examples of effective reward and recognition programmes from organisations such as: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home; Age UK Camden and British Red Cross. There will also be presentations from: Team Kinetic, looking at using data to assess rewards and incentives; Value You, explaining their free discount card and gift voucher programme for volunteers, and a Committee member from the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, giving some insight into this most prestigious form of recognition.

Recognising volunteer’s efforts and dedication clearly shows that they are supported by their organisation and helps to encourage and motivate. Volunteers who are satisfied and well-motivated are more likely to improve and progress, which in turn leads to a more productive volunteer team. Modern volunteers are often keen to improve CVs or UCAS applications by displaying skills and experience gained from volunteering. Such volunteers may be more responsive to certificates or other visible awards.

There are many different ways to recognise and reward volunteers, and each organisation needs to develop a programme that suits its resources and it’s volunteers’ needs. This event brings together a range of presenters and delegates from organisations of all sizes, to compare and contrast different approaches to this vital issue. There will also be group discussions and networking opportunities.

Click here for full information or to book a place.

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Reward and Recognition: Encourage; Support; Improve! 

15 May, Hanbury Hall, London      E1 6QR.

Click here to book.

 

 

There are also still tickets available for:

Time is Money: Investing in Volunteer time drives income. 24 April, London.  Click here.

New approaches to involving and engaging volunteers. 12 June, Bristol.   Click here

 

We’re off to the Charity Retail Conference!

AVM is proud to announce that we are delivering a ‘focus session’ at the most
prestigious event in the charity retailers’ calendar. The session, on Monday 25 June 3.15-4.15pm, will be delivered by AVM members and their charity retail counterparts.

The session explores how a shift in approach by organisations, leaders and managers can pay off at the till.

Balancing Time And Dollar

Time is money – Investing in volunteer time drives income

People remain keen to use their time to make a difference, but the demands on
this resource are increasing. Demos’s Shopping for Good report found that in
three years the number of retail volunteers rose only 4 per cent, whilst the number of shops continues to increase. If we all continue to shout louder about the benefits of retail volunteering, but people have more demands on their time, can we expect different results?

The aim is to speak to charity retail professionals about the challenges outlined above, and potential solutions we find at our own Retail Volunteering event on Tuesday 24 April.

The Charity Retail Association‘s event takes place at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham between 24-26 June. More details about the event, including how to book your place, can be found here https://www.charityretail.org.uk/charity-retail-conference-and-exhibition/

A limited number of discounted tickets for AVM and Charity Retail Association members remain available for our next AVM Learning and Development Day. These can be booked online.

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Review of volunteering and community contributions in later life

The Centre for Ageing Better is looking for examples of inspiring practice to support people aged 50 and over to get involved in volunteering and community activity, as part of its Review of Community Contribution in Later Life, undertaken in partnership with DCMS. Areas of interest included shared processes and systems across volunteer-involving organisations in all sectors (for example shared training and onboarding processes); examples of collaboration between those offering more and less formal and committed volunteering roles; and examples of practice geared to support the inclusion of people with long-term conditions and disabilities, and those from low-income communities.

The call for practice is open until the end of April 2018, and AVM members are encouraged to contribute.

Help shape research on environmental volunteering by young people

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Three spades digging into earth. Image source: Pixabay

Defra (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs)  recently commissioned OPM Group to design and deliver a qualitative research project to understand how to make environmental volunteering more attractive, relevant and accessible for young people (aged 16-24). The research will inform Defra’s work with Step Up to Serve, and other organisations, under the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan to help children and young people from all backgrounds to engage with nature and improve the environment.

They are engaging with stakeholders who may have useful experience and insight, or an interest in the outcomes; and are inviting them to complete a short online survey (before Tuesday 10 April), comprised of 8 questions, which seeks to:

  • understand views on the topic based on your experience;
  • identify useful evidence or insights regarding motivations, barriers, enablers, perceptions and pathways to young people volunteering, particularly in environmental projects; and
  • understand what stakeholders would find useful from the research.

You can complete the survey online.

Please do get in touch if you’d like to participate, and share with your networks.

New approaches to involving and engaging volunteers: AVM in Bristol, 12 June 2018

AVM steams in to Bristol on 12th June, aboard the SS. Great Britain , may God bless her and all who volunteer aboard her!  Click here to book.

This will be a specially reduced -price event, thanks to the support of English Heritage, SS. Great Britain and South West Museums Development Programme, and as an introduction to AVM.

Continuing our commitment to bringing AVM Learning and Development Days to some of the key centres of volunteer activity outside of London and following on from the exciting opening event in Manchester last week, AVM will now be in Bristol in June. This event will look at some new and innovative approaches to both traditional and new challenges in volunteering. This will include looking at attracting and working with younger volunteers: research clearly shows that actively engaged young volunteers are likely to continue volunteering throughout their lives, for a variety of organisations.

We will look at how research can be an excellent starting point for initiating change. It can provide the data and numbers necessary to convince stakeholders outside of volunteering departments of what those inside volunteering instinctively know already: volunteering is still a largely untapped resource. We will also consider how best to present this information to CEOs and other senior directors, and how volunteer managers can take the lead on convincing and converting boards to the true value of their volunteer departments.

There will be lively group discussions and networking opportunities to allow everyone to share their own opinions and experiences. Lunch is included, as will be a tour of the museum and ship at the end of the main L&D event.

Click here to book

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New approaches to involving and engaging volunteers. 12 June 2018, SS. Great Britain, Bristol

 

Click here to book

 

 

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Places are still available for the 24 April event: Attracting new volunteers and breaking down silos – retail volunteering faces the same issues as much of the sector, and the Charity Retail Association identify good volunteer management as a key issue for retail volunteer organisations. Join Rob Jackson, Liz Reed of Blue Cross, Roy Clark of Barnardo’s and Robin Osterley of CRA.

Click here to book.

Aside from his full time role at Barnardo’s and speaking for AVM, Roy Clark is also running in the London Landmarks Half Marathon on 25 March. If you wish to support Roy, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/roy-clark4

Finding a mentor…like going to the movies?

Movie-popcornBy Angela Wilson, AVM Director.

Soon after I joined the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) Board of Directors, the Chair, Ruth Leonard, rang me up to ask what I wanted to get out of volunteering, what was it that motivated me? I said I hoped to learn from the diverse experience of other AVM members: I wanted to progress in my career, and so it would be great to learn from others how they had gone about developing theirs. We then got to talking about mentoring, and how it would be wonderful if AVM could set up a scheme where members could learn from each other, much as I was describing.  Top volunteer management marks to Ruth: she had identified my own motivation, and matched it with a strategic aim of AVMs. Thus it was agreed I would lead the setting up of AVMs mentoring scheme, and use the learning for the search for my own mentor to inform and facilitate the project. Great! I was excited to get going. But where to begin?

Fortunately, I was not alone: fellow Director Jo Gibney agreed to join forces with me. So, we met, drank coffee, and did a lot of brainstorming. Jo also wanted to find a mentor…so we started by thinking about what we wanted to get out of it. Discussing it helped us to think through our aims, which made it easier to consider who might be a good person to help me to achieve those aims.Reading up on it, I found out that the mentoring relationship works best when there’s a high level of trust between both parties, and this is most likely to occur when the mentee chooses their own mentor. It should be someone with whom you are not too familiar (e.g. a friend) as you are unlikely to really be challenged in your thinking or to learn very much. Also the experience gap is important: if it is “too narrow, mentor and mentee will have little to talk about. If it is too great, the mentors experience will be increasingly irrelevant to the mentee” (Clutterbuck, D. 2014).

Where would I find such a person? And how would I make the approach? I felt quite awkward about the whole thing, it reminded me of the bashfulness I felt when I was in my late teens, about to ask a guy if he wanted to go to the movies! So it took me a while to work up the courage…

After a fair bit of umming and ahhing, I took a deep breath, and called a colleague I really respected in the volunteer management field, who had experience within the area I wanted to move into. It was great to catch up with him, and talk through some of my aims and hopes. In the end I sort of blurted it out – “would you have any interest in mentoring me…of course no worries at all if you can’t…” [in my head: “EEEEEEEEEK!”] sadly, this colleague had just changed jobs himself, and just didn’t have the time right now. Oh. Oh well, not to worry. I didn’t take it personally. Onwards!

There was one other person I knew who I’d thought for some time, would make a wonderful mentor, but I’d never plucked up the courage to ask. She was talented and very experienced, and probably very busy. I didn’t think I had much chance, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway – nothing ventured and all that. And she said yes! I was more delighted than when the guy agreed to go to the movies with me. Having someone I really respected agree to invest their time in ME seemed incredibly generous: I was very grateful.

Meanwhile, Jo and I have been busy working up our ideas for the AVM Mentoring Scheme. We’ve been learning from others, designing registration forms and a project plan for how it all might work. We hope that the scheme will make it much easier for mentors and mentees to find each other and pair up.

Since just last week, 29 people have approached AVM to say they’d like to sign up as a mentor, mentee, or both…so we’re well on the way to making it easier (and a bit less like asking someone to go to the movies?!) for members who want to find mentors. We want to bring people together, both in person and online, and facilitate links between people in similar geographic areas. But those are just some of our ideas.

We are really keen to hear from AVM members who would be happy to help us shape the scheme and test out the tools (such as the registration forms) that we’ve developed. If you’re interested in getting involved, please do leave us your details here – we’ll get back to you.

Edited 16.03.2018