AVM – By way of a background

A while ago I said I would post about AVM – here it is, I hope that this answers enough questions to inspire you to join.

In the mid 1990’s – the then National Centre for Volunteering (NCV) set up and hosted the National Volunteer Managers Forum. They then put together an advisory group to look at developing a body that would be independent of the NCV with a focus on volunteering management.

This group found that there was not the capacity to do this, so some managers of volunteers continued to meet and share ideas under the NVMF umbrella until it disbanded in 2003. Volunteering England (one of the successors to NCV after the devolvement of volunteering) agreed to take the development of volunteer managers forward – as part of the Excellence in Volunteer Management programme.

In 2004 some of the volunteer managers who were in touch with one another, felt that there was still a lack of peer support in the sector, and they established their own peer support group.

They invited others that they knew, and posted on UKVPMs about it. They agreed to meet quarterly to share information and discuss relevant issues. In late 2005 Andy Fryar was on a visit to London and he met with the group and shared his experiences of establishing the Australasian Association for Volunteer Administrators. The group agreed that they would look at setting up a similar organisation in England. So they started to share ideas around creating an English professional body for volunteer managers, and this became the AVM steering group. Following a couple of surveys (again thanks to UKVPMs) we launched in June 2007 – our launch date was 5/6/07 so should be easy to remember!

Our Board today consists of some of that original steering group as well as some newer members, who had not been involved in NVMF. The Board meet every 2 months and meetings are hosted by the generosity of our employers. Meetings tend to be held in London because it is a place we can all get to easily, Board members come from the South East, South West and East Midlands as well as London.

Our only income at the moment is the finds we generate through membership, and conferences, and we use this to reimburse travel expenses for Board meeting attendance, for the AGM and have also used it to reimburse travel expenses for out of town members to get to the AGM.

Our aim is to support, champion, and represent people who manage volunteers or volunteering in England, regardless of field, discipline or sector.

All Board members volunteer their time, some are lucky enough to be employed in organisations that recognise the value of what we are doing, others have had to take annual leave to attend board meetings, or to represent AVM.

Apart from meeting every 2 months, each Board member is also a member of a sub group, either arranging the conference, dealing with our own governance, administration of membership, the website and social media and finally our external facing sub group.

We have an internal agreement that no statement is made in the name of AVM unless a minimum of 3 directors agree to it, which is why you may sometimes see a delay before we reply to things.

We all know that sometimes what is good for volunteer managers may not be the same as what our employing organisations would like to say, and we have striven to ensure that in these times of politicians wanting to shape the future of volunteering that the voice of the volunteer manager is heard. We seem to have caught the attention of some big players, and so we have been called on to attend meetings and forums, often taking unpaid days to be able to do so.

Some of the key issues that we became involved in include the Capacitybuilders funded work, we represented volunteer managers on the selection panels for awarding the contracts. We also worked with Skills Third Sector on the development of the apprenticeship framework and got assurance that they would only recruit experienced managers of volunteers as verifiers. We worked with Agenda Consulting to shape the benchmarking exercise to assess the experience of volunteer management.

There is so much more we would like to do, and for that we need more members who are able and willing to be activists. Members who will tell us what they would like AVM to do, members who will join one of the sub groups and help take us forward, members who will help to attract more members so our voice is louder and stronger, and members who will ask with us – how does this improve volunteer management?

People always ask what they get for the membership that they pay, They get a badge of honour that says that they belong to an emerging developing exciting profession, that they are helping to create it and that they are willing and able to support others in their professional growth.