AVM’s annual conference will be online again this year.
We’re currently working on the agenda. If you want to be first to know when tickets are released, join AVM today.
AVM’s annual conference will be online again this year.
We’re currently working on the agenda. If you want to be first to know when tickets are released, join AVM today.
AVM’s mentoring programme is seeking more members to join us as mentors. If you have experience of leading volunteers, then to be a mentor you may not need as much experience as you think.
What you do need is to have had that experience of taking on a volunteer leadership role, and having the confidence to support another to tackle their learning curve. You are probably still learning yourself (who isn’t?) every day, but know how demanding the role of volunteer management can be and have worked out how to meet many of those demands.
Helping another person can be a hugely rewarding experience for mentors, as well as mentees. We often find that our mentors learn as much as their mentees through the mentoring experiences, and helps them gain confidence.
If you’re already a mentor, why not encourage someone to sign up as a mentor, and give them that confidence boost?
One of our current mentors has shared their experience how being a mentor has helped them as much as it has helped their mentee. Read why they signed up to be a mentor.
AVM Director Neil Monk shares his thoughts on why you don’t need as much experience as you might think you do to be a mentor. Read his blog now.
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 only available to AVM members. Find out more about AVM membership.
We are the membership association we are thanks to those that join us as member and get involved. Without this collective contribution we wouldn’t have been able to do as much as we have achieved in the last 12 months.
Thank you to everyone who joined an event, our conference, or one of our network calls.
Thanks to our members who become mentors, mentees, or took part in our AVM Connect events (formally randomised coffee trials).
A particular thanks to the following people who have helped shape our offer, shared their knowledge and expertise and generally enhanced the AVM offer.
|Conference Volunteers||Carly Benton|
Nuria De Miguel
|Events Volunteers||Antonia White|
|Membership Volunteers||Tony Gibney|
|Andy Broomhead Catherine Rose|
Tiger de Souza
|Staff||Jo Gibney, Head of Business Development|
Helen Birchall, Membership and Events Administrator
|Conference Workshop |
Speakers and Panellists
Ingrid Abreu Scherer
|L&D Event |
and BiteSize contributors
Tiger de Souza
Voluntary Voice (Do IT Foundation)
We are looking forward to offering more opportunities for our members to get involved in 2021 and support us to meet our community’s needs.
A recording of our 2020 AGM and the associated documents are now available in the members’ area of the website.
As agreed at the AGM, all our fully elected board directors have had their terms extended by one year; Ruth Leonard’s term was extended by two years and both Rachel Ball and Tom Ball were co-opted for a further two years
At our November board meeting, the directors approved the Co-option of Jo Keller and Andy Broomhead until the 2021 AGM. Both Jo and Andy have been involved with AVM in the previous 24 months and we look forward to working with them further.
Also at the same board meeting, the Directors voted in Shaun Delaney as Company Secretary. Rachel Ball has now stepped down from this role but will remain on the board, focusing on business development.
All of these changes have been reflected on our website.
We are looking forward to seeing what this newly structured board can achieve and wish those in new roles all the best for this new adventure together.
The AVM conference is always a highlight in our year. Even though we say so ourselves we believe it is the premier event in the UK for volunteer managers, leaders and heads of volunteering.
We always try to bring together some of the best speakers from our sector, people who are at the forefront of volunteer management and thought-leadership, and those from outside of volunteer management, who will challenge and provoke us to think differently.
This year, for obvious reasons, we are unable to hold our conference face-to-face, so this year we are holding a virtual conference on Zoom.
The 2020 conference will be held across two days- Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 October, 10am to 1pm. On each day we will have a keynote speaker with a Q&A, eight workshops to choose from on a variety of themes, and a panel session at the end of each morning. In the afternoon there are optional networking sessions, for a cuppa and a chat with your peers about what you heard earlier in the day.
We’re really pleased to announce our two keynote speakers for 2020.
Martha Awojobi of Charity So White will be speaking to us about racism in the charity sector, on Wednesday 21 October.
On Thursday 22 October, Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive St John Ambulance, has agreed to speak and share his views on the importance of volunteer management and volunteers. Both keynote sessions will have time for questions.
Because we are online, and running across two days, we are able to offer delegates the choice of all eight workshops on both days. We have an exciting line up of workshop leaders, covering a wide range of topics. We use the feedback you give us to curate out line up, so we hope you’ll be as excited as us about this year’s sessions.
We realise the opportunities to network and chat to other leaders of volunteering from across a variety of sectors and organisations are more limited online, so will be using Zoom meeting, which allows you to chat with one another.
We will be hosting two optional ‘cuppa and a chat’ sessions, on the afternoons of both days, for more networking, and to reflect on what you’ve heard during the morning.
See the full agenda and buy your ticket today.
Recent events have shown what we in the charity and not-for-profit sector know to be true – that volunteering and community engagement is and remains a universally strong spirit. People, without being asked to step in, are coming forward to give their time and share their skills, to provide practical assistance, comfort and support; ultimately creating a sense of resilience and strength.
But in order to support these initiatives and enable people to contribute effectively it is vital to think about how to develop and provide the relevant set up. Evidence on collective efficacy has shown that without the appropriate infrastructure and support to co-ordinate efforts and offers of help, community action can dissipate rather than proliferate.
A key element of this infrastructure I would argue is having well trained and well supported people to provide the volunteer management. We are all familiar with the well-deserved accolade of volunteers to our organisations – and indeed the sector as a whole; but in order to enable volunteers to offer the greatest value we need to recognise that Volunteer Managers matter as well.
Keeping a balance between efficient, supportive volunteer opportunities with a responsive and adaptable relationship, carries right though a volunteer journey. Volunteers need to be supported once they’re involved; in a way that is meaningful to them and meets their changing needs. At this time, this has extended into supporting volunteers who have been asked to temporarily stop their role and thinking about how we can re-engage them. Organisations which involve volunteers need to reflect on the importance of putting resources into their volunteering interventions, including equipping those who work with our volunteers.
At a time when all organisations including charities are facing threat to their income, the value and impact which volunteers bring, extending the reach and resources and developing services and interventions which resonate within the community, really matters. As Joe Saxton from nfpSynergy said in a recent blog, “volunteers…could be at the heart of the shift” of making sure things get done.
If we are going to effectively build on the interest in volunteering which has come through this pandemic, and not lose the positives of the agile and flexible way that people have been able to get involved, organisations need to think widely and creatively about how they engage those who want to give their time – and in order to do this strategically they will need to keep the investment in volunteer management.
This is why a group made up of AVM, the Association of Voluntary Service Managers (AVSM), Heritage Volunteering Group (HVG), the Scottish Volunteering Forum and Volunteer Now have come together, convened by Rob Jackson and building on a similar alliance in the States, involving Betsy McFarland from Adisa, to write an open letter to leaders of organisations which involve volunteers – to let them know the importance of having those who understand and lead on volunteer management at the table when discussing the future.
This is the first time we’ve worked together in this way as an alliance and I’m so proud that AVM has been part of that and hope we can bring our networks together in the future, so thanks for Rob for making that happen.
I’d like to thank Rob and Betsy who joined us at the launch of the letter and shared their thoughts and experience.
I’m proud that AVM has taken part in this important piece of work and to have been able to work across our organisations, and please do get in touch to feedback and let us know how you’d like us to promote this and support you to get the message out.
Are you having the same conversation over and over again about volunteer management, but don’t feel you are getting anywhere? Do you feel like you’re dealing with the same issues year on year, and job to job?
In this online masterclass, you’ll learn to unlearn your assumptions and explore techniques to help you get unstuck, so you can move forward positively.
We’re really pleased to have Lucy Gower, an innovation pioneer from the world of fundraising, leading this event. Lucy will be sharing general techniques to help us unlearn what we think we should do in the first part of this masterclass.
In the second half, you will work in small groups on a particular challenge where you’re currently feeling stuck, applying the techniques you’ve learnt to your own volunteering challenges.
Book today for this online, Zoom masterclass, Thursday 30th July, 10am – 12pm.
AVM members are eligible for a discount on tickets – as well as other benefits, such as our newly launched book club – so why not join AVM today?
Lucy Gower is founder and director at Lucidity. She is a coach, trainer and facilitator specialising in giving people the confidence and tools to think creatively, develop ideas and make their innovations happen. She is bestselling author of The Innovation Workout and a global speaker on innovation. Lucy is passionate about helping people get unstuck, unlock their creativity and get the important work done. She enjoys working on projects with the potential to make a positive impact on the world.
Lucy was the first Innovation Manager at the NSPCC, where she helped teams to think creatively and support them to turn their good ideas into action.
Lucy is also founder of the Lucidity Network, which she set up to help leaders, teams and organisations have the confidence to think clearly and get powerful results.
Lucy lives in Devon, and is PA to Gary Gower, a Wire Fox Terrier.
Shared on behalf of Volunteering Matters
NAVCA, NCVO and Volunteering Matters are working together on a project to recruit and place volunteers with Volunteer Centres and Local Infrastructure Organisations who are experiencing a significant increase in volunteer registrations as a result of Covid 19. In a survey of NAVCA members, a number told us they needed additional resources to manage all those who responded to calls for volunteers, some of whom have still to be contacted never mind being given meaningful tasks to do.
We are looking for volunteers with expert co-ordination and brilliant communication skills and we have two roles that recognise the range of equally important functions that those managing volunteers will be doing – a Volunteering Manager (supporting the manager on a range of activities) and a Volunteer Co-ordinator (communicating and engaging more directly with volunteers).
Both roles can be done from home, working remotely.
Are you able to share your skills and expertise as an experienced Volunteer Manager/Co-ordinator within a Volunteer Centre or Infrastructure Organisation? While each organisation will have its own specific needs and practice the roles will broadly involve working alongside the staff on all or some of the following tasks and depend on how much time you have available:
This is a new project and will require your knowledge and expertise to make it ready for delivery to Volunteer Centres. You will need to be open and flexible, joining us in demonstrating the value of actively and skilfully managing volunteering.
If you would like to know more or to register your interest please contact: Barbara Regnier, Volunteering Matters [email protected]
AVM, facilitated by Andy Broomhead (Diabetes UK), hosted 38 organisations for an information and networking session on Volunteers Week 2020. The group heard from Sarah Merrington, deputising for Tiger de Souza, on the plans for this year’s coordinated response to Volunteers Week in England. Sarah ran through the plans for the week and how organisations could get behind the coordinated response, by aligning their messaging and activity where they can. Participants then broke out into groups to discuss what they were doing for the week and how it might link to the national response.
A recording of Sarah’s presentation is available below.
In summary the main activities will be:
A full messaging toolkit will be available from Friday 22nd May which will include information about how you link up to each element, template press releases, hashtags and key messages. To receive this and be a part of this fantastic movement of over 60 organisations coming together to promote as one voice the vital role volunteers play in supporting society, email [email protected] and join the ‘Voluncheers Planning Group’ on Voluntary Voice.
AVM has hosted a number of networking calls to discuss and share how people working with volunteers are adapting to the coronavirus pandemic. As similar themes and suggestions have emerged across all calls, we have pulled these together with links and resources generously shared by those on the calls. We have loosely grouped these into parts of the volunteer journey.
If you would like to add resources or suggestions to this resource, please get in touch.
Please check back for updated information.
Page last updated: 17 April 2020.
This was a big concern across all calls, particularly where a volunteer manager was, or was expecting to be, furloughed.
With staff capacity also reduced, there is a need to balance volunteer recruitment against supporting existing volunteers. In some cases organisations are not recruiting because they don’t have the capacity to do both. Volunteer supervision can still take place, by phone or online, one-on-one, or in a group. And if not in place, volunteers can provide peer support to other volunteers as a new role.
Some organisations have new ‘Home Volunteering’ policies, and have updated safeguarding policies and procedures to reflect the change in supervision (where remote/ virtual volunteer roles are new).
Organisations are using a mix of platforms to keep in touch with volunteers, including Workplace by Facebook, Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups, Zoom, Skype. On a previous call, one organisation shared they had a conference call service from their local phone coop. A number of organisations are setting up volunteers with organisational Zoom/ Teams/ Skype accounts. Others are providing volunteers with support to set up their own. Drop in online ‘coffee mornings’ were frequently mentioned.
It was suggested that using existing platforms people are familiar with will help, though one organisation mentioned that a volunteer had developed how to guides for using new tech that have been shared with volunteers, and another is doing short online surgeries for tech support. Make them easy to read with plenty of screenshots.
Protecting our privacy when on video calls came up a few times, with suggestions of a guide for volunteers – and staff – who are not used to this. Suggestions of things to include in a guide: making sure other household members know you’re on a call (children, half-dressed partners, others who would not like to be in shot); making sure you don’t have personal stuff in the background you wouldn’t be happy for colleagues, clients or other volunteers to see; virtual backgrounds (don’t work for everyone); ensuring you understand and use the privacy features for the system you are using; how to change your name on the screen; reminding people who phone in that their phone number will be visible.
For volunteers who are not comfortable with online communication methods, The Phone Coop offer a conference call system. Or you could arrange regular phone calls as a way to connect, which can be done by staff or set up volunteer buddies.
Some expressed concerns about setting up WhatsApp groups for volunteers, where phone numbers are then shared. Making it optional and ensuring that anyone who signs up knows their phone number will be shared with the rest of the group should mitigate this, but speak to your Data Protection Officer if you have concerns. This can also apply for Facebook groups for volunteers.
Blurt have some useful resources about mental health and well-being during the pandemic on their website.
Some of you are giving existing volunteers the opportunity to pause their volunteering, not putting pressure on people to feel that they need to continue as normal – because nothing is normal right now.
Those of you still recruiting are looking to hold video or phone interviews. There is some nervousness – not necessarily from volunteer managers – about safeguarding when moving to online recruitment and not meeting volunteers face-to-face, particularly in roles which are supporting vulnerable people. Key to addressing this is not to drop your standards when recruiting on video, and don’t settle for just telephone: video allows you to see the person you’re interviewing. Some of you have been reinforcing with colleagues that our frameworks and standards don’t disappear overnight and that they do know what they need to do, but we’re able to help them do it differently if they need it.
If you need documents signed, there are various websites or apps that let you do that. Docusign was recommended, but there are others available.
There is a fast track DBS service only for Covid-19 eligible roles in England and Wales. You can check role eligibility on the DBS website.
Disclosure Scotland are prioritising checks for coronavirus response roles needed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Details about Access NI checks can be found on their website.
DBS have amended their ID checking guidance during the coronavirus outbreak.
Some of you are rolling new training to volunteers around empathy, having open conversations, as well as around boundaries.
Training is being delivered online, with webinars and other online modules. In some cases this is only for existing volunteers, but some are developing online training for new volunteers.
If you’re not recruiting, it was suggested that signposting potential volunteers to places where they can volunteer at the moment, but also keeping them on a list to get back to once you start recruiting again.
Many people on the calls you reported that volunteering was stopping while social distancing is in place. Where possible, people are moving roles virtually, or redeploying volunteers into roles that can be done from home. Some organisations are still recruiting. Charities providing direct support to individuals are seeing an increasing number of people needing support, but additionally volunteers may need more support.
Letter writing came up fairly frequently, particularly as a way of connecting with people who are now isolated (in some cases additional to telephone calls).
For young people in hospices/ homes, virtual storytelling (by existing volunteers) was a suggestion of a new role.
Moving befriending or mentoring to a phone-based or online service is a common theme for many. In a previous networking call, Zoom had been recommended for online befriending, as it is possible to set up the calls without sharing volunteers’ personal information. Others have developed guidelines explaining how volunteers can protect their personal information, as organisations cannot provide all volunteers with a phone.
Asking volunteers to share social media content or key messages with friends/family is an easy microvolunteering role that can be done virtually.
Asking staff and volunteers to think about what tasks could be done virtually that aren’t being done. Research was a good example, as was signposting to information in local community Facebook groups. For example, health charities might be seeing misinformation spreading about the impact of coronavirus on the health issue.
Ask volunteers and service users what they want/ need, and what could be done virtually.
Where roles involve more detailed one-to-one casework, staff should trial with service users first, to ensure volunteers are prepared for the extra emotions of the current situation, which is not specifically their role.
Making sure to complete or update role risk assessments to reflect the role is remote.
Jayne Cravens has written a blog “NEVER a better time to explore Virtual Volunteering than NOW” which is worth a read.
With Volunteers’ Week fast approaching, we wanted to discuss how you can continue to celebrate volunteers whilst many will still be in isolation. There was also a wider discussion about general volunteer recognition.
Awards and recognition events
Use of social media/online connection tools
Saying thank you in different ways
Live virtual opportunities
A number of calls discussed on how to move face-to-face support roles to online or telephone. As well as supporting clients/ beneficiaries, discussions also included the best ways to support volunteers who had been stood down.
Befriending Networks have useful resources for converting face-to-face befriending or mentoring to telephone support.
Zoom was recommended as a good tool for setting up befriending or mentoring call, as they can be set up by the volunteer manager/ service manager, and protect the volunteers’ personal details. If a volunteer wants to use their personal phone (because many organisations cannot provide them with mobile phones), it was felt important to let volunteers know how to protect their phone number.
Some care homes/ hospices/ hospitals are asking people to donate redundant communication devices (smartphones, ipads) or asking people to donate redundant devices, as many residents don’t have access to them.
There are obviously some concerns about the unknowns, and when things will become ‘normal’ again, and how this might impact volunteer retention where you’ve had to close down volunteering programmes, as well volunteer recruitment in the future.
Concerns about how to re-engage volunteers whose roles our outdoors were raised, particularly where they have been reluctant to stand down in the first place. These concerns come from how this fits with the government’s plan for ending lockdown, in order to minimise another high, second wave of the virus.
While some organisations are developing short-term volunteer roles for the duration of the pandemic crisis,others hope to continue virtual roles beyond.
A few of you mentioned you are already seeing opportunities where you can simplify some processes in the long-term. As it has been proven this can be done in a crisis, there is a good case for reducing some red tape in processes once social distancing is over. Asking the question “what did we drop to make it easier to volunteer during the crisis” makes it easier to ask “so why do we need to still do it?”