Neil Monk is Peer Support Project Officer at Norfolk County Council Adult Social Services, and a Director of AVM
I recall my early forays into leading volunteers. I was already on some steep learning curves, starting new initiatives in campaigning as well as building a project to support orphaned children in Uganda from scratch. This all needed volunteers (I was one myself). I had gone to this with little thought
that leading volunteers would be another steep learning curve in itself, a whole new job description.
I look back now and realise how much I could have gained from support, advice and encouragement from someone who had experience and knowledge of why, and how, volunteer management is very much a skill in itself.
So, giving back when you can is a large part of what the whole volunteer sector is about. It’s great for me to be in touch with a new volunteer manager. While my mentee is looking to gain support from someone with years of experience this can also be a two way experience. Mentoring someone else, in my case with someone new to working with volunteers, puts me back I touch with the initial stages of leading volunteers, and gives me an insight into the challenges faced in the sector today.
Becoming a volunteer mentor
So, what do I need to have to become a volunteer mentor? I think that the answer here is that, along as you do have experience of leading volunteers, you may not need as much as experience as you think. If you feel that you have been on that sharp initial learning curve (and, of course, still learning every day) and have lessons learned that can be passed on then mentoring well be a way that you can pass on your experience in a way that not only supports another volunteer manager, but supports the whole sector of volunteer management, as this strengthens the line of support within a specific job description framework.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor for a volunteer manager, you can find out more, and sign up today.
The mentoring programme is available to AVM members. Find out more about AVM membership.