Ways to feel at your best so you can do your best

Sue Jones, Co-founder at 3B: Wellness, Coaching, Mind Matters, will be sharing a range of resources at AVM’s Ways to wellbeing and productivity for volunteer managers on 21 February to help you feel at your best. In a role that is predominately about supporting others, it’s easy to forget about your own needs. Managing volunteers (more…)

How can we get more young people volunteering?

Eddy Hogg, Lecturer at the University of Kent’s Centre for Philanthropy, will be speaking about how organisations can best attract young volunteers from a wide range of social backgrounds at AVM’s Volunteering’s impact on the community on 28 November. 

I write this during #iWillWeek. A week which celebrates young people and the impact they have on the communities and causes they care about. But do all young people have the same opportunities to volunteer? To make a difference to things that matter to them?

Young volunteering approaches

We know that there is a relationship between social class and volunteering. What we don’t know is at what age and why the engagement gap emerges. We need to.

Government policies and the activities of volunteer managers on the ground often seek to encourage young people to volunteer. Policy is focused on widening participation to include under-represented groups. In recent years, National Citizen Service, which includes a ‘social action project’, has come to dominate central government’s youth work spending.

Getting policy and practice right is important. Investing resources effectively in encouraging young people to volunteer is likely to have an impact long beyond youth and young adulthood. If we want people from all backgrounds – not just more advantaged groups – to be able to access the benefits of volunteering, we need to understand how best to do this. For volunteer managers, knowing where best to focus their efforts to harness both short- and long-term volunteering commitment is invaluable.

Our research findings

Research by me and Rob de Vries finds a clear relationship between socio-economic advantage and volunteering by young people, but one that is far from straightforward. During Key Stage 3, when the role of school as a route into volunteering is strong for all socio-economic groups, we find little difference in engagement between young people from different backgrounds.

The role that schools play in encouraging children to volunteer gets smaller in Key Stages 4 and 5, as exam and other pressures loom larger. At this stage community groups and organisations become more significant as a pathway to engagement and socio-economic differences reappear. This matters. The patterns established at this time persist throughout adulthood.

The role of schools

This makes the role of schools – and the organisations who work with schools – vital. They are the most egalitarian way for volunteer managers and volunteer involving organisations to access a range of young people and encourage them to take part in volunteering opportunities. When this is left to community groups and organisations, we see clear class differences in who engages. This is regardless of the best intentions of volunteer managers.

We therefore argue those who seek to get more young people volunteering should focus their energies on working with schools to access and attract young people. The encouragement and support which eliminates significant socio-economic differences in Key Stage 3 should continue throughout young people’s school careers through to age 18.

Post-18

Schools, and the volunteer managers and voluntary organisations who work with them, should also think about how they can encourage and support young people to continue volunteering post-18. This may mean community groups and organisations working in partnership with schools and each other to ensure that young people from all backgrounds – not just the most advantaged socio-economic groups – are aware of and feel comfortable in the kinds of organisations that can support a longer-term commitment to volunteering.

I’m delighted to be sharing my expertise at AVM’s November event, where I’ll be discussing how these recommendations can be put into practice. I hope to see you there, 

Conference tickets are selling out fast!

Have you got your ticket for the volunteer management event of the year? If not, don’t delay as tickets are selling out fast, and some of the seminars are fully booked. If you’re still wondering if it’s for you, here are a few reasons why we think you should come to conference! We have three (more…)

The end of the committee? Volunteering structures in a changing world

Sarah Merrington is Senior Development Manager for CIPD (the professional body for HR), recruiting HR professionals as volunteers to support job seekers and those who want to develop in their careers, and an AVM Volunteer. Even though I have worked in volunteer management for some time, and for several organisations, there is always one thing that (more…)

We need to talk – handling emotions and challenging situations with volunteers

Laura Elson is a freelance consultant and a self-confessed volunteering geek. Currently consulting with England Netball and First Tech Challenge UK, Laura has been working in the volunteering sector for 15 years, and is a member of AVM. I met a brilliant colleague of mine for coffee last week and straight away I could tell (more…)

Measuring the health and wellbeing benefits of volunteering

By Laura Hamilton, Laura Hamilton Consulting Tweet to @Lauh77 and Gareth Williams, LGBT Foundation Discover more opportunities to learn about this subject, including the four videos from our Manchester event, at the end of this blog We were super-excited to be attending AVM’s first learning and development event in Manchester and it was great to see a room packed with (more…)

Emotionally challenging situations for volunteer managers: what to do

Including: emotional resilience, compassion fatigue and having difficult conversations with volunteers. Join us for this L&D event on 10th July, 2018 at Hanbury Hall, London. Click here to book. Managing volunteers can be an emotionally challenging experience, for a variety of reasons. We could be called upon to support volunteers in stressful situations, or to (more…)

Building bridges: volunteering research and practice workshop

We are pleased to invite you to a workshop on volunteering research and practice, co-hosted by the Voluntary Sector Studies Network, Association of Volunteer Managers and the Network of National Volunteer Involving Agencies and supported by NCVO, on the 7th June 2018, 10:30-15:30, London. The aim of the workshop is to bring together volunteer managers (more…)

It’s a Date! – 18 October 2018, AVM Annual Conference

Just seven months to go until we come together for the sector-leading AVM annual conference, we’re asking you to keep the date – 18th October – firmly held in your diaries. This year’s conference promises to be bigger and better than ever before. We’re working hard pulling together an exciting programme for the day including (more…)

Diversity event: Are you willing to be uncomfortable?

By Keeley Mooney Tweet to @keeley_mooney1 AVM member; Volunteer Development Officer, Royal British Legion Discover the five fantastic videos from this event after reading this blog Like a secret rabbit warren, Hanbury Hall appeared through the little coffee shop that sold divine smelling coffee and delicious looking cakes. With such a large scope, “Diversity in Volunteering (more…)