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. More details will be circulated to members in due course.

Ten Years of Championing Volunteer Management

Ten years ago today, a group of volunteer managers launched a body that aimed to champion the role of the volunteer manager in building a thriving volunteer involving organisation. Inspired by the desire to bring people together to network and share best practice, as well as demonstrate the impact of volunteer management, AVM was born.

I was one of those people.

My personal starting point in this journey was being at a meeting of the National Volunteer Managers Forum and thinking ‘what’s so special about managing volunteers – they’re just people?’

I’ve now come full circle and have realised how complex managing volunteers is. I’ve realised that people bring themselves to volunteering in a way that’s very different from their job. When ‘just doing a job’ a person will offer one side of themselves, but when volunteering they bring their full self.

What this means is that people managing volunteers need to learn how to read people and go through that process. When bringing their full selves to the party, people will bring an emotional history which makes a real difference in the way they can behave. Volunteer managers can sometimes find that a challenge. We need to be able to demonstrate respect for a volunteer’s experience, whilst also ensuring volunteers recognise the boundaries in their role – it’s a real juggling act.

For organisations providing services it may be difficult to remember that colleagues and volunteers may also be – or have been – service users. In fact this is very likely for volunteers.

Volunteers can help bridge the gap between service users and the wider organisation, helping overcome the feeling of ‘us and them’. Volunteers bring in the experience and emotional history, which may be too painful for staff to deal with.

Having been there at the beginning, I wanted to bring these perspectives and learnings to a wider audience, to find peers to share them with and talk about them.

I am proud that we have developed and grown this voice, and this space to share it, and have a mature, dedicated organisation a decade later.

These ten years have represented a great deal of effort, but I hope you’ll agree that, today, AVM provides the information, support and sharing that ensures volunteer managers can effectively enable volunteers to share their skills in a way that gives the most impact.

To all of you that have come with us on this journey, for however long, thank you for bringing out the magic of volunteering.

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.”

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.

AVM’s Thoughts On NCVO’s 2017 Letter To The Sector

NCVO has started the year by with an open letter to the voluntary sector which poses many questions around the role of volunteer management. Here AVM Chair Debbie Usiskin responds and offers our thoughts.

Sir Stuart Etherington, CEO of NCVO, has started the year by publishing an open letter highlighting the part that volunteers can play in building a shared society. More importantly, he makes it clear that we need well supported volunteer managers to help make this happen.

I urge you to read Sir Stuart’s letter and share it within your organisation. He makes the valuable point, very well, that for volunteering to be successful it needs to be adequately resourced; it could spark off a discussion within your organisation about expectations and impacts.

We are attending the NCVO Members’ Assembly in February where we will be contributing to the development of their public policy work. We want to hear from members and make sure that we represent you so let us know what you think following Sir Stuart’s letter.

Of course, we agree with Sir Stuart that this means greater investment in the support that volunteering needs, acknowledging that managing volunteers is harder than managing staff. We look forward to continuing to work closely with NCVO to ensure that volunteering is managed well, and that those who do it are valued.

Reasons to be cheerful… 1, 2, 3!

With the dust settling after a whirlwind conference – our biggest event ever – we wanted to make sure everyone had caught up on the big three changes AVM’s announced in the last couple of days.

Part 1 – new Twitter handle
We’ve had a lot of feedback over the past year about our social media presence. In response to one of the recurring issues raised we’ve adopted a new easier to remember and shorter twitter handle. You can now catch us at @AVMtweets.

Part 2 – refreshed visual identity
Yesterday’s conference saw the first outing of our refreshed visual identity.

Taking the work done since AVM’s inception, we’ve retained the essence of our identity and developed a fresh new look. As the way we communicate and work changes, we’re bringing everything we do together to prepare the ground for the way AVM will evolve over the coming years.

Part 3 – new package for organisations
The third and biggest change announced at conference is that AVM is taking its first steps into engaging organisations as well as individuals. Our popular and relevant membership offering, available to individuals for the last nine years, has been overhauled and is now complemented by new Organisational Learning and Development Package.

We’re working to ensure that volunteer engagement skills are valued and nurtured across the whole of the volunteer involving sector. The new Organisational Learning and Development Package will allow organisations to place themselves at the forefront of volunteering development, and ensure that managers are inspired, engaged and supported by an engaged and knowledgeable network of volunteer management professionals across the country.

More details about the organisational package will be shared in the coming days, but right now you can get in contact with Anne-Marie for an informal chat about what’s involved and the next steps.

2016 AVM Conference – Only 10 places left!

The 2016 AVM Conference is almost fully booked and we don’t want you to miss out on this great learning and networking opportunity with over 200 of your peers.

If you’ve not already booked your place now’s the time to do so as we only have 10 places left.  You can book your place here.

If you are still not sure if this is the event for you then below are just a few of the comments we received from delegates at last years conference.

‘AVM Conference is by far the highlight of my year, in terms of conferences/training/network events. It’s a refreshing change to go to something where everything feels 100% relevant and speaking to people in the same profession.

It’s so well organised and by far the best conference I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to a lot!). I’ve been to the past 3 conferences and it’s great to see it getting bigger and better than ever!’

‘It has something for all the different levels of volunteer managers, for those starting out to those who are strategic leads, or aspiring to be.’

‘First AVM Conference as a new member! It was an extremely useful and, most importantly, relevant meeting. There is only one of me in my organisation and getting the chance to hear sector updates plus all the opportunities to network were really valuable. It’s great to see our profession championed in this way.’

‘There is no other conference that concentrates fully on volunteer management and the issues that relate to my work.’

Surely now you can’t afford to miss this event?  200 of your peers are already going!  See you there.

AVM Conference Team  – Abi, Anne-Marie, Wendy, Alex, Karen and Alan

Bookings Now Open for AVM Conference 2016

welcome to avmThe conference team have been busy, the venue is booked, keynote speakers are in place and the Volunteer Management event of the year, and highlight of the AVM calendar, is ready to go.

Bookings for this year’s AVM annual conference are now open.  You can book your place here.

This year we are offering a small number of member tickets at last year’s conference price so book early to enjoy all of this year’s conference benefits at last year’s price – what could be better.

Key note speakers this year are:
• Karl Wilding, Director of Public Policy and Volunteering at NCVO
• Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of Girlguiding
• Joe Saxton, Driver of Ideas at nfpSynergy and its founder

Workshops this year include:
• Volunteers and the Law
• Future Trends and Issues in Volunteer Management
• Measuring Volunteer Impact
• Volunteering and Digital Media

It’s an exciting conference programme and we look forward to seeing you there.

Thoughts from AVM’s new chair

As newly elected chair of AVM, Debbie Usiskin lays out her thoughts on the way forward.

Some of you may already be aware that I was elected Chair of AVM earlier this year. I was one of the founding Directors, gathering together volunteer managers from all sectors to talk about what we would want from a professional association, forming the first board and then launching the organisation..

I have been the Vice Chair since we inaugurated working closely with each of my predecessors to lead us to where we are today. I am pleased to be taking the Chair-ship at this exciting time. Membership is growing to such an extent that we have engaged professional assistance to administer to members. Our events are growing in popularity to such an extent that we have engaged a professional event co-ordinator to put on more and better events – in all parts of the country.

And, at the same time we are in discussion with an increasing range of training providers in relation to skills development for volunteer managers, and in dialogue with academic institutions who are researching many issues around volunteer engagement.

There are opportunities for you as a member to get involved with all of these things – host a networking event, present a piece of work that you have done to your peers, take part in research or represent us at meetings with training providers, for example.

This is OUR association and will grow in the direction that WE take it so please let us know what you are thinking and what you can do to help.

Looking forward to seeing you at a network day or conference soon.