AVM Mentoring Scheme

With over 400 members and growing fast, the AVM network consists of a wealth of talented people with excellent skills and experience in the field of volunteer management and leadership. We know AVM members are often keen to learn from others and develop their skills and careers. To this end, AVM has great hopes of facilitating an exciting new mentoring scheme amongst its membership.

We hope that members will be able to develop their leadership and mentoring skills through volunteering as mentors for others, as well as gaining vicarious satisfaction through seeing others progress. We also hope that members will be able to learn from others and achieve their own personal development and career goals by signing up as a ‘mentee’.

We’re still in the early stages of planning this scheme. We have developed a project plan, and some of the tools we’ll need to make it work, such as registration forms. We’ve got to the stage where we have an idea what the scheme might look like.

So now we need your help. If you are an AVM member and:

  • have ideas about what might make this scheme a success, and/ or
  • would be happy to help us test our tools/ resources and feedback, and/ or
  • are interested in signing up as a mentor or a mentee

we would love to hear from you! Please leave us your details here, and we’ll get back to you.

Alternatively, if you have questions, you can message us directly. The AVM Directors leading the development of this scheme are Angela Wilson and Jo Gibney.

Not an AVM Member, but still interested? That’s great! We expect that we’ll only have capacity to offer this scheme to members, but if we know there is appetite from outside our membership we can explore ways of extending it. Leave us your thoughts here. Alternatively, you can always sign up as a member!


Retail Volunteering Event: Investing in volunteer time drives income.

24  April 2018 at the Crypt, London E1 6LY,  10:30 – 4:30

Click here to book.

Many charities run retail operations with varying degrees of volunteer involvement, but the Charity Retail Association (CRA) has identified a shortage of suitable volunteers and the importance of good volunteer management as key issues facing their members at this time.  With a huge and diverse array of volunteers, charity retailers face both unique and universal challenges.

This event will bring together a wealth of experience from both volunteering and retail. Hosted by Angela Wilson, Senior Advisor, Volunteering & Community Development at Barnardo’s, with Rob Jackson of Rob Jackson Consulting, Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of CRA, Liz Reed, Volunteering Business Partner at Blue Cross and Roy Clark, Director for Retail and Trading at Barnardo’s.

The event will look at how modern retail volunteers may be very different from the traditional image, and how retail volunteer managers need to understand the complex motives and aspirations of their volunteers in order to build the most productive relationships. From volunteers looking to improve their employability, to those combating social isolation, the range of expectations must be matched by an equally in-depth and engaging volunteer offer.

We will hear some examples of organisations responding to these challenges in innovative ways and how a successful approach can result in efficient and productive retail operations.

Balancing Time And Dollar

Time is money -Investing in volunteer time drives income

For more information or to book – Click here.

24 April 2018, the Crypt at Christ Church Spitalfields, London E1 6LY

Dealing with abuse: are criminal records checks the answer?

Click here to view the guidance NCVO shared in response to concerns about safeguarding and charity shops, backed by AVM and the Charity Retail Association, NCVO have opened the safeguarding section of their updated Volunteers and the law resource to non-members.

Volunteer Management Progress Report – AVM’s response

The recently published​ 2018​ ​Volunteer Management Progress Report once again highlights the range of job titles in ​our profession​, across the world​.  Although there is a slight increase in ‘Coordinators’, and a ​small decrease in ‘Managers’ in practice Coordinator and Manager roles are likely to overlap, with similar tasks and responsibilities.  2018-VMPR-Cover-e1517423490909

This echoes the IVMD Survey carried out by AVM in 2017.  A third of survey recipients indicated that their role was non-managerial.  Their job titles included Officer / Coordinator / Supervisor / Engagement.  With the potential to negatively impact on the scope for career progression, particularly for new entrants to the industry, improved consistency in naming conventions is needed.

The report also identified time as a challenge for volunteer managers. A proportion of respondents had other core responsibilities alongside their volunteer management role, facing ​the reality of splitting time between competing ​workloads.  Do competing workloads compromise the ability of volunteer managers to be effective?  Is more investment needed?  

The answer may seem obvious but the question is not new.  In 2008 the Institute for Volunteering Research’s​  Management Matters survey found that:

Volunteers are often a vital resource for organisations, yet it would appear that many are not dedicating significant resources to their involvement….While human resources are more readily available for managing volunteers, they are often dispersed and may be hidden within people’s wider roles. (p.7-8, IVR, 2008)

A disappointing trend is the lack of budget assigned to volunteer management. For many of us necessity really is the mother of invention when it comes to managing volunteer programmes but this should be the exception, and not the norm.  An under-financed programme is unlikely to reach its true potential.  16% of the IVMD Survey recipients highlighted budget, resources and finance as an existing challenge they faced in their role, but 25% cited this as a challenge for the sector in the next few years.


Good budget management provides evidence for sustainability and growth, and all organisations promoting and relying on volunteers should properly fund this endeavour, and provide budget writing and management training for their volunteer managers.

The 2010 Valuing Volunteer Management Skills study acknowledges the difficulty in developing a relevant training programme for volunteer managers given that their role is rarely standalone.  It should be noted that the earlier survey recognises that barriers to training opportunities may deter those who are new to the role but are not hampering the development of models of good practice by longer standing practitioners.

Although there was a correlation to salary, there were still relatively high levels of satisfaction amongst volunteer managers, and this has been consistent in the time that the survey has been produced.  Role satisfaction is closely matched by the intention to continue working in this field.  It’s not only volunteers who find the environment rewarding but also volunteer managers!

Update on AVM’s strategic themes

Following our strategy day in November, AVM’s board is beginning to develop our strategic themes for the Association, which we would like to share with you. We have started by developing what we offer for our members. This includes:


  • Holding events outside London. The need to do this was brought out in the survey we held on International Volunteer Managers Day. We’re pleased to say that we have arranged events in Bristol, Manchester and Stirling later in 2018, so are already beginning to address this.
  • Mentoring: ever since AVM launched 10 years ago we have had this planned, but I’m pleased to say that we now have a work stream developing a scheme for our members. Watch this space for how you can share your experiences, and get involved in our test project.
  • Improving our online resources to be more efficient and effective in how we support volunteer managers. We will be exploring options such as webinars and live streaming of events. We have already started filming our L&D events, which are exclusively available on our website to members. We want to continue extending how people are able to access and engage in a variety of ways. If you’re interested in being involved in this work, please get in touch.
  • We want to ensure that our members feel that AVM is their Association by giving people the opportunity to shape its future, so we are developing opportunities to enable this, such as expanding our committees. We’ll be sharing more details later in the year explaining how you can get more involved.
  • We want to better understand what our members want from us. The survey in November 2017 was the start of this and we’ll continue to develop ways to greater understand what members need from AVM.
  • We also want to understand the needs of those who haven’t joined the Association as members and address any gaps or barriers to them joining.
We recognise that AVM doesn’t exist in a vacuum and are keen to develop partnerships and networks with organisations and groups across the sectors so that we can better support our members and ensure the voice of volunteering is heard. The board’s next strategy day will be in April, and we will update you on our progress. As always, you can get in touch with comments or questions.

Manchester, here we come!

Volunteering for All: Measuring the health and well-being benefits

15 March 2018 at The Whitworth  Click here to book

By popular demand, AVM will this year be running three L&D events outside the capital. The first of these will be in Manchester at the Whitworth Gallery and we are pleased to announce special reduced ticket prices for this event, to celebrate a new era of AVM events nationwide. This has been made possible in part due to the support of the gallery itself and Manchester University.

This event will look at two key issues of volunteering: Firstly, measuring the well-being impacts of volunteering and how it can benefit everyone involved: the volunteers; programme leaders; the organisation and the clients. Secondly, diversity in volunteering, including attracting and working with younger volunteers and a look at volunteering in ethnic minorities and low socio-economic groups.

It will showcase some innovative programmes from Manchester and the North West, as well as addressing universal aspects of volunteer management which are relevant for all.

We are particularly pleased to be releasing the results of two different reports on volunteer behaviour: Jump Projects’ “New look at ethnic minority and low socio-economic volunteering in the UK” and the Audience Agency’s report on the health and well-being benefits of volunteering at Kirklees Museum and Galleries.

An exceptional line up of presentations will include: Emma Horridge of Manchester University and Lee Ashworth of Imperial War Museum; Wendy Hunwick-Brown of Ripon Museum; Will Watt of GIVERS / Jump Projects; Beccy Bracey and Jenny Salton of Kirklees Museum and Galleries with Catherine Bradley of The Audience Agency.

Finally there will be a very special workshop session hosted by volunteers from various volunteer programmes in the Manchester area, allowing them to express their opinions of the strengths and weaknesses of these programmes and of the teams running them: How do volunteers see volunteer management?

The day will include table discussions and networking opportunities.

Click here for full agenda or to book.


AVM’s Volunteering for all: Measuring the well-being benefits.           15 March 2018, Manchester, The Whitworth


Diversity in Volunteering: Attracting different demographics

22 February 2018, The Crypt, Christ Church, Spitalfields, 10:30 – 4:15 pm

Click here to book.

Interested in attracting a more diverse volunteer base?

Interested in targeting volunteers from a particular demographic?  

Hear from our experienced speakers on different strategies for attracting a more diverse volunteer base, as well as presentations from organisations that have identified specific demographics they are keen to recruit.

You will hear about the process of identifying the need and assessing the benefits throughout an organisation, then various approaches to targeting and recruiting volunteers from different demographics.

We will hear the experiences of three organisations working with older, younger and LGBT volunteers. We will also hear from two umbrella organisations that are developing or have developed strategies for attracting diverse volunteers in general.

There will be table discussions, networking opportunities and ample space for delegates to share their own experiences, concerns and success stories.

A light lunch and refreshments are included in the price.

Click here for further details or to book.

images (1) Diversity in Volunteering: Attracting different demographics.

22 February 2018, London.

Click here for Eventbrite page.


Contributing to the health and care workforce strategy

Health Education England have launched their draft health and care Workforce Strategy consultation. The Strategy will be published in July 2018 to coincide with the NHS’s 70th birthday. The draft strategy sets out the current workforce landscape in the NHS and social care, and the approach to shaping the face of the NHS and social care workforce for the next two decades.

The Association of Volunteer Managers will be submitting a response to the draft consultation, and would like to hear our members’ views to inform our response. Question five will be of particular interest to the volunteer management community, which asks:


Do you have any comments on how to better ensure opportunities to; and meets the needs and aspirations of; all communities in England?

Areas to explore may include:

  • What more can be done to attract staff from non-traditional backgrounds, including where we train and how we train?
  • How we better support carers, self carers and volunteers?


Members can submit their comments or questions to Ruth Leonard, AVM Chair via email ruth.leonard@volunteermanagers.org.uk

The consultation ends in March 2018, so all comments or questions should be submitted by end of February 2018.

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.


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