Thoughtful Thursday – Find your voice: joining your national professional association

I have been working with volunteers for over 30 years and currently I am Director of Member Involvement and Volunteering for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. My background is in volunteer management, psychology and adult education. It’s an exciting time to be working in volunteer management. Of course there are lots of challenges and changes happening within organisations and across the volunteering sector. However, more than ever, we are beginning to understand the importance and value of the role carried out by those of you who lead, manage, co-ordinate and involve volunteers.

The level of participation and interest in Thoughtful Thursdays demonstrates the need for managers of volunteers to have a voice and a platform for networking and discussion. And there are of course other on-line forums and groups for us to connect to. These are all valuable ways in which we can find our individual and collective voice so we can educate and influence others about the work that we do. What you may not be aware of, is that we also have a national professional association that you can join – the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM).

Finding my voice and taking on the role of AVM Chairman

Two years ago I saw that AVM was looking for new Board members. I wasn’t sure what I could offer to the Board or even if I was the sort of person they were looking for. I talked to the then Chairman, Sean Cobley, to find out more. With trepidation I put myself forward and to my surprise was voted onto the Board! Then in October last year I took on the role of Chairman, and we decided it was time for the Board to take a step back to look at what the Association should be and how it can work to support and professionalise volunteer managers. My aim and the aim of AVM is to enable volunteer management to be accepted as a profession, similar to that of Fundraising and Accountancy. I believe one way to do this is to bring together those who can influence and those who have a strong interest in helping to develop this ambition. In order to realise this ambition, we need you. We need your suggestions, support and active involvement to ensure volunteer management is treated as a profession. Today’s post is about how you can find your voice – speak with and join AVM.

What does the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) do for you?

Now this might be the first you’ve heard of AVM. Or, perhaps you’ve been a member in the past and even attended some of our events, but you might be wondering what’s been happening over the last several months. Well, since the end of last year the AVM Board has seen changes in personnel and roles. We appreciate we have not been able to be as visible as we would have liked to be during this time, but we continued to work on your behalf by talking with various organisations and attending events to help raise the profile of volunteer management.

You may not be aware that AVM maintains working relationships with a range of organisations including NCVO, NNVIA and IVO as well as contributing to UKVPM’s and other online discussions. During Volunteers’ Week, AVM also blogged about the contributions made by the thousands of people who lead or organise volunteering.

Getting involved

There are various ways you can connect with and get involved with AVM developments:


One of our main focus areas for the coming months will be our website. We’re really interested to know how we can improve it in order to better support our members, so if you have suggestions about what you would like to see on the website please let us know

AVM Membership

It stands to reason that the more members we have, the louder our voice when we are representing volunteer managers in discussions with organisations, companies, politicians etc. AVM provides a voice for volunteer managers regardless of the sector they operate in, the size of the organisation concerned or whether they are paid or unpaid, full time or cover volunteer management as part of their role. We do hope that you will continue to grow the Association of Volunteer Mangers and add your voice as we continue to raise the profile of Volunteer Managers as a profession.

We recently appointed, Yvonne, to help get the membership administration running smoothly. If you would like to join AVM please e-mail

Annual Conference – Finding our Voice

The return of our annual conference especially for managers of volunteers will provide an opportunity for us to gather together as a profession and to collectively find our voice. It is also a great reason to spend some quality time on your personal development and to network with your volunteer management colleagues and peers.

Booking details to be announced shortly via our website, through ivo, VMmovement & UKVPMS etc. so watch out for details. In the meantime, please do save the date: Wednesday October 23rd Venue: Regus London City Point, 1 Ropemaker Street, London EC2Y 9HT

Joining the AVM Board

We are a volunteer-led group and are currently looking for new Directors to join us on the board. If you are interested to find out more – please do contact me via If you’re not sure about being a Director, but you are interested to get involved in some other way, then we’d also love to hear from you.

And, this being Thoughtful Thursday – I have some questions for you to consider and to enable you to get involved in AVM. We’re really interested to know:

How can AVM best represent you in your role?

What do you think needs to happen in order for Volunteer Management to become a more recognised profession?

How might you find your own voice as a manager of volunteers?

Please do add your thoughts below the blog here, or via twitter using the hashtag #ttvolmgrs

Stand up and be proud, speak out and tell people what you are doing as a volunteer manager and what your role enables. Tell your story by using social media.

I hope to see you at the AVM annual conference please ‘find your voice’ and come and speak with me or one of the other AVM Board Directors.


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