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.

House of Lords Seeks Views on Active Citizenship

Volunteer managers are encouraged to take a look at the House of Lords’ latest call for evidence on Citizenship and Civic Engagement.
The Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement has published the call hoping that a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations will submit evidence that helps them understand the nature of the citizenship challenge for different parts of society.
The part that will be of particular interest to the volunteer management community is section six, which asks:

Do voluntary citizenship programmes such as the National Citizen Service do a good job of creating active citizens? Are they the right length? Should they be compulsory, and if so, when? Should they include a greater political element? Should they lead to a more public citizenship ceremony? Are they good value for money? What other routes exist for creating active citizens?

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, Chairman of the Committee said: “This Committee has been established to investigate citizenship in the UK, what it means and whether it should change. We also want to find out if there are barriers preventing people from being more involved, both locally and nationally. We hope to hear from people all over the country who have an interest in this topic, who work with communities who are disengaged as well as from people who are disengaged themselves.”
Interested parties have until 8 September 2017 to respond, and can find full details on the House of Lords website.

AVM Updates Its Constitution

At an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 27 July 2017 the Association of Volunteer Managers updated it’s Articles of Association.
The meeting, chaired by the Association’s vice-chair A.S. Maini, was held at Christ Church in Spitalfields and attracted 33 members in total, who voted through the changes unanimously.
You can find the articles in the new, updated constitution on the AVM about us page.

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)

Update 14 July 2017
As the EGM was inquorate, the meeting was adjourned to The Crypt, Christ Church Spitalfields on 27 July 2017

Update 28 July 2017
The adjourned EGM was successfully held and the new articles passed, you can learn more in the full report.

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.

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.

AVM Welcomes Lords' Recommendations On Charities

AVM has welcomed the key recommendation around supporting volunteer management in ‘Stronger charities for a stronger society’, the new report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities.
The report contains the recommendation:

We propose that funders should provide more resources for volunteer managers so that charities can make the best possible use of the generous contribution of their volunteers and support their efforts.

The recommendation is based on a submission from the Association of Volunteer Managers responding to the Select Committee’s call for evidence last year. This was bolstered by the committee’s own evidence gathering when they visited local charities who talked about their needs when involving volunteers in their work.
Debbie Usiskin, Chair of AVM, said: “We are over the moon at this news. Communicating the value and need for volunteer management as a recognised discipline is at the core of what AVM was set up to achieve. Having such high-profile confirmation of this is very welcome.”
AVM member Sheila Norris echoed these words: “Working in a local volunteer centre, I see first hand the impact that investing in volunteer management can have. I’m pleased that this new report recognises the resources needed to make volunteering happen.”
The committee’s own comments on the recommendation were: “Funders need to be more receptive to requests for resources for volunteer managers and co-ordinators, especially where charities are able to demonstrate a strong potential volunteer base. We recommend that Government guidance on public sector grants and contracts is amended to reflect this and set a standard for other funders.”

Volunteer Impact: An AVM Learning & Development Day

Book HERE.
Venue:  Better Bankside | Bankside Community Centre | 18 Great Guildford Street | London | SE1 0FD
Date: Wednesday 19 April 2017
Timings: Registration will open at 10:00 with presentations beginning at 10:30. The event will close at 15:30.
Agenda:
This learning day looks at how we measure the contribution that volunteers make to an organisation.
If you struggle to capture the contribution volunteers make, or need ideas to get buy-in from senior leaders and the wider team for the importance and need to involve volunteers, this session is for you.
Speakers on the day will include:

  • Alan Murray, RSPB
    Alan will look at the variety of metrics used at The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) over the years, and highlight what has worked and why.
  • Bryan Precious, Age UK
    Bryan’s presentation will cover some of the different strategies used by the Age UK Volunteering Team to measure the contribution of volunteers across this varied network of charities and how this information’s been used to get buy in from senior management.
  • Clare Harris & Tim Walters – Agenda Consulting
    Clare and Tim will look at the impact of volunteering on both the organisation and on the volunteers themselves, drawing on insights from Agenda’s volunteer survey work and Volunteers Count study.

Please note: Light refreshments will be provided throughout the day but lunch will not be, instead delegates are encouraged to bring their own or to purchase it from food vendors close to the venue.
Book your space HERE NOW

Not a member? Why not join AVM and save on the cost of your ticket?  YOU CAN JOIN 
HERE
Simply complete the paperwork and send us a cheque and then pop back here and book on as a member – what could be easier? No need to wait for confirmation of membership.

Work with AVM as our Learning & Development Officer

AVM are looking for a Learning & Development Officer to join the team.
The main objective of the role will be to plan, manage, market and deliver a schedule of high quality learning and development events/activities with the purpose of creating significant revenue, growing our membership and promoting AVM’s reputation and profile.
This role would suit someone with significant experience of designing and co-ordinating learning events, alongside event management experience and attention to detail. Existing experience within the voluntary sector or a professional membership body would be a bonus. Detailed role profile and person specification are available on our CharityJob listing.
The salary offered for this post is £26,500pa.
The deadline for applications is Noon on Friday 24 March 2017.
Interviews will be held during week commencing Monday 3 April 2017.
Application is via CV and cover letter sent to Fiona Wallace through our CharityJob listing.

Introduction to Volunteer Management: An AVM Learning & Development Day

Book HERE.
Venue:  Better Bankside | Bankside Community Centre | 18 Great Guildford Street | London | SE1 0FD
Date: Thursday 9 March 2017
Timings: Registration will open at 10:15 with presentations beginning at 10:30. The event will close at 13:30.
Agenda:
Volunteer management gives us the opportunity to work in an enjoyable environment, with truly inspiring and dedicated people. But how do we take the first steps into this world?
This workshop is aimed at those who are new to volunteer management and will explore what it means to be a volunteer manager in a range of different contexts, whether as a volunteer in a small organisation or a paid member of staff in a large national. You’ll have the chance to reflect on how to engage the right volunteers, if you should retain them and, if so, how and who you need to have as your allies in order to make your volunteer programme a success.
This 3 hour workshop will give an overview of current best practice, as well as expert tips, the chance to ask questions and an opportunity to meet others starting out in volunteer management.
This workshop is facilitated and delivered by Chris Reed, Head of Volunteering at Barnardo’s. Chris has led volunteer functions in major UK charities and worked in volunteering infrastructure for over a decade.
Please note: Light refreshments will be provided throughout the day but lunch will not be, instead delegates are encouraged to bring their own or to purchase it from food vendors close to the venue.
Book your space HERE NOW

Not a member? Why not join AVM and save on the cost of your ticket?  YOU CAN JOIN 
HERE
Simply complete the paperwork and send us a cheque and then pop back here and book on as a member – what could be easier? No need to wait for confirmation of membership.