Exploring Digital Technology for volunteer management. An L&D event.

5 December, 10:30 – 4:30, Arlington Conference Centre. Click here to book.

Sponsored by Better Impact.

Rob Jackson will host the second in our series of Embracing Digital events. In response to member feedback, this L&D event will address a range of digital tools that can assist volunteer managers and benefit organisations. From CRM and database management systems to webinars and e-learning tools, we will consider some of the most effective and economic digital technology available.

Whether you are considering which digital technology could best help the ongoing development of your volunteer programme, or whether you are already implementing your chosen solution, this event will be ideal. Both a showcase for digital possibilities and a forum for discussion.

This is an all day event, with presentations from specialists as well as organisations that are currently using and experimenting with digital technology. Attendees are invited to share their own experiences and opinions and get fully involved with round table discussions and  interactive activities.

Presenters include: Rob Jackson; Tony Goodrow of Better Impact; Daisy Charlton of Macmillan Cancer Support; Ed Shrager of Alzheimer’s UK; Jonathon Henwood of RNIB; and live by satellite from America, Jayne Cravens

network-358062_960_720-2.jpg   Click here for full agenda or to book

Exploring Digital Technology for volunteer management, an AVM L&D event, is sponsored by Better Impact.

Better Impact Click here for Better Impact website

The Community Life Survey 2017: Are volunteering levels dropping, or is the real issue about how we count and define volunteering?

The Community Life Survey: What is volunteering and how do we count it? An L&D event

16 November, 1- 5pm at Voluntary Action Islington (VAI), N1 9JP. Click here.

The Community Life Survey is presented as the government’s overview of volunteering nationwide, but is there universal agreement on what volunteering actually is and how best to measure it? If you want to incorporate data in your own reports, what’s the best data to use and the most effective way to present it?

This L&D event will give the government’s Lead Researcher, Olivia Christophersen, the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind the government survey, explain the change in methodology and present her interpretation of the results. She will explain what the government is aiming to measure, how it defines the parameters of volunteering and how and why they have progressively switched to online questionnaires.

Cian Murphy, Head of Data Science at nfpSynergy, will present an alternative perspective on measuring volunteering, drawing on more than 15 years of collecting relevant data. As well as presenting trends and analysis, he will consider the challenges in determining what constitutes volunteering, and why such varied conclusions result.

Finally, Veronique Jochum, Head of Research at NCVO, will deliver a presentation on how these survey results are used to improve understanding of how people get involved in volunteering, transitioning from past behaviour to future decision making and engagement. She will discuss various publications that utilise the survey results, including NCVOs latest: ‘Getting involved: How people make a difference’

As always, there will be networking and discussion, with opportunities for everyone to get involved and share their own experiences, challenges and opinions.

Click here for more details or to book your place.

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The Community Life Survey: What is volunteering, and how do we count it? 16 November, London N1 9JP

AVM Grows Its Voice With New Chair and Five New Board Members

At this week’s AGM the Association of Volunteer Managers welcomed a new chair and five new members of the board, as the organisation looked to grow its voice for the volunteer management profession.

Founding member Debbie Usiskin stood down from both the position of chair and the board after ten years, and announced her successor as Ruth Leonard.

Ruth’s first task after the announcement was to share the results of the board elections, where successful candidates Jo Gibney, Daniel Ingram and Karen Ramnauth were all appointed to three-year terms on the board. While four board places were being contested, following a draw for fourth place the AGM resolved to appoint the two drawing candidates Angela Wilson and Rachel Ball to two year terms as directors.

Ruth said: “We’d like to wish a heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Debbie Usiskin who stood down from the role of Chair of the Board at our AGM. Debbie has given an immense amount of time and commitment to AVM since our official launch and before. At the launch event 10 years ago she described ‘managing volunteers as becoming like juggling, but harder’ and it seems as if expectations are even greater on those who involve and work with volunteers today. Debbie will continue to be a great advocate of AVM and as with all our members will have a powerful part to play in the future.”

Debbie Usiskin was part of the team that conceived and founded AVM, along with John Ramsey, and served as Vice Chair from its formal registration in 2007 until taking on the role of chair two years ago. Her successor Ruth has a track record of senior level volunteer engagement and currently works as Macmillan Cancer Support’s Head of Volunteering.

The newly-elected directors help grow the varied skills and perspectives on the board, coming from an array of organisation types and management levels. Jo Gibney comes from The British Legion’s Volunteer Support Unit and holds an ILM Level 5 in Volunteer Management, Daniel Ingram comes from the animal charity Wood Green, and Karen Ramnauth brings legal training and the perspective of volunteer engagement within the NHS to the board for the first time.

In addition to Debbie, the AGM saw board members Karen Janes and Bryan Precious retire from the board, after two and three-years respectively.

On taking up the position of chair, Ruth reflected that, “We as the Board need to remember advice from the launch event’s facilitator that we need to allow AVM to grow in line with members’ wishes and as members – this is your association so you have a responsibility to help it grow – it shouldn’t be done solely by the Directors.”

In addition to Ruth and new directors Jo, Daniel, Karen, Angela and Rachel, the board of AVM currently consists of Treasurer Patrick Daniels, Chris Reed, Fiona Wallace, Rachael Bayley and Vice-Chair A.S. Maini.

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.

Winning in Volunteer Management: Working together, what can we achieve?

21 September, at The Crypt, Christ Church, Spitalfields

This event is looking at how we can work more closely together. Click here for more information or to book a place.

Prior to the 2012 London Olympics, the government asked sporting organisations what they knew about volunteering, and they asked volunteering organisations what they knew about sport. Both answers were the same: “Virtually nothing!”

Yet sports volunteering accounts for 22% of the UK total – more than any other sector. (This information came out at our last event on 27 July)

Many charities organise sports-style fundraising events, such as walks or runs or cycle rides, but is there cooperation with sports organisations in the preparation or administration of these events?

Surely the time is ripe for sports and non-sports volunteer managers to get together and start to work together: to share experiences and challenges and successes.

This event will hear from presenters with experience of both sports and other non-profit and charity organisations, from research professors working in collaboration with sports organisations across the world and from the London 2012 Legacy charity: Join In. There will also be the usual networking opportunities and the chance to voice your own opinions.

Speakers will include: Jenny Betteridge, Sport England; Chantel Scherer, Join In; Dr. Fiona Reid, SRVN / Glasgow University; Dr. Lindsay Findlay-King, SRVN / Northumbria University; Alex Beaumont, LTA -British Tennis; Kerry Marland, England Athletics.

Click here for more information or to book a place.                                                            

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.

Every Journey Had A Beginning

Continuing our series of blogs celebrating AVM’s tenth anniversary, Rob Jackson reflects on his memories of the time leading up to the creation of AVM.

Joe Saxton recently shared his thoughts about what the next ten years might hold in store for AVM so I thought it might be nice to travel back in time to the birth of the Association.

AVM had its genesis in regular networking meetings John Ramsey and I used to organise (as volunteers) for volunteer managers. After the demise of the National Volunteer Managers Forum the only networking opportunity that remained was a closed group, which neither John nor I were a part of. We didn’t begrudge the group existing but did think that something should be available to any Volunteer Manager that wanted to take part.

The group met at various locations across London and, on one occasion, close to Old Street roundabout, the group hosted a visit from Australian colleague Andy Fryar. Andy had agreed to come and share his wisdom with us whilst visiting the UK on business. During the resulting discussion Andy challenged us to follow the lead of our Australian colleagues who were busy founding AAMoV, AVM’s cousin ‘down under’.

That meeting and that discussion gave birth to the idea that became AVM. To this day Andy rightly considers himself the midwife that helped deliver AVM.

Not long after that I started a new job at Volunteering England. My employer deemed it a conflict of interest for me to take up my new role and be involved in AVM and so I stepped back, leaving John to carry the baby to term, so to speak.

I take absolutely no credit at all for creating AVM. I was just one voice in a room that helped initiate the idea. John Ramsey deserves all the plaudits for making the idea a reality, along with all those early board members. It is thanks to their hard work, their risk taking (something Volunteer Managers aren’t always naturals at) and their commitment to our field that, ten years later, we have the Association of Volunteer Managers.

AVM isn’t perfect but, do you know what? Neither are volunteers and volunteering. We are much better off now with AVM in existence than we were twenty-three-years-ago when I started in this profession.

AVM is the sum of all of us. It succeeds when we all get involved, when we all commit to our field, when we all take action, when, as the theme for this year’s International Volunteer Manager Day states, we all take steps to ‘Be The Voice’ for volunteer leadership and management.

I can’t leave this article there, though. The last word should go my my friend John Ramsey. John’s death in 2014 left AVM and the profession of Volunteer Management weaker. Thankfully we have some of his wisdom preserved in his writing, so I end on one of my friend’s quotes, something we should all remember every day:

I will never tire of saying this: Volunteer management is about respecting our volunteers sufficiently that we properly invest in them to maximise their engagement and participation, and ensure the very best outcomes for our beneficiaries.

Last few places available for AVM 2017: The Annual Conference. Bookings will close this week.

We’re pleased to announce that bookings for AVM 2017: The Annual Conference are at an all time high.

Book your place now.

As an AVM member you already receive a 50% discount on your conference booking but why not enjoy more with the early bird discount. We only have a limited number of these tickets available.

As a non-member you can still enjoy early bird discount, but we only have a limited number of these tickets available.

Don’t leave it too long to book your place and why would you want to when you see what a fantastic line-up we have planned:

Keynote speakers this year are:
Julie Bentley, CEO of Girlguiding
Vicky Browning, CEO of Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
James Probert, Director of Strategy and Impact, City Year UK

Seminars this year include:
• Change is not a journey
• Measuring Impact
• Using data and benchmarks to drive volunteering up the agenda
• Embracing the age of opportunity – involving younger and older volunteers
• Corporate volunteering from the third sector perspective
• Creativity and meaning in volunteer reward and recognition
• Influential Leadership: Gaining Commitment, Getting Results
• GIVERS – Nudging People to Volunteer

You shouldn’t just hear it from us how great the conference is. Carly Benton, Volunteer Development Officer at Crohn’s and Colitis UK, shares her experience of being a first-timer at the AVM Conference in 2016 and why you shouldn’t miss out:

“For me there is nothing more valuable than meeting like-minded peers to challenge my thinking.  There will always be areas for improvement and barriers to overcome in the world of volunteering. This is why the AVM Conference is the perfect place for volunteer managers to come together with a shared understanding, to not only to develop your skillset and keep up to date with current trends, but also to reassure you you’re not in it alone!”

We look forward to seeing you at the Volunteer Management event of the year!

AVM Conference Team

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.