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.
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
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 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 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.”
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.
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.
Those of you who joined as at AVM2016 will have heard the exciting announcement of our new Organisational Learning and Development Package.
If you want to know more about what it is, you can download the full guide here.
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.
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