New perspectives on measuring the health and wellbeing benefits. A new L&D event.

9th August, the Crypt, London E1 6LY, 10:30 -4:30 pm

Click here to book

We know that volunteering is beneficial both mentally and physically, but how can we measure the extent of that benefit? Can we quantify the benefits -‘put a number’ on the improvement in wellbeing? Is it possible to showcase the societal advantages of a particular programme?

This event brings together a range of organisations that have a particular interest in measuring wellbeing. We will hear from organisations that work with particular groups of volunteers, such as family groups, young people or disadvantaged communities, and why they targeted wellbeing and/or health as areas of particular interest. We will consider different approaches to measuring impact and how the resulting data can be utilised in various ways to translate the evidence into action.

We will also hear from organisations with a broader interest in measuring volunteer behaviour and wellbeing, how they bring together information from diverse sources to build up an overall picture of volunteer activity in the wider community, and how this can then be used to better understand more localised situations.

The day will include  presentations from: Ceris Anderson and Steve Welsher of StreetGames; Ruth Townsley of Happy City; Ingrid Abreu Scherer of What Works Centres for Wellbeing; Lee Ashworth of the “If: Volunteering for wellbeing” project and Dr. Ricky Lawton of Jump Projects.

With a combination of practitioners and researchers, this important issue will be addressed from a range of perspectives, and we welcome audience participation and involvement. There will be networking opportunities and round-table discussions to allow attendees to share and consider their own experiences.

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A new perspective on measuring health and wellbeing benefits.

9 August, the Crypt, E1 6LY

Click here to book


Annual conference: 18th October 2018, Royal National hotel, London:

Early bird tickets will be available in July.

With three exceptional keynotes confirmed and a choice from 8 workshops and seminars, this year’s conference is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet!

Watch this space and the ‘Upcoming events‘ page for information.

Saying Thanks

Originally posted on the NCVO website.

Saying Thanks

Whether we’ll admit it or not, we all love to receive a genuine ‘thank you’ for something we have done. There is something that makes even the most cynical of us (guilty as charged) at least feel a little warmth inside us. Even if we don’t always show it.

And it’s for that reason that Volunteers’ Week exists: to publically and collectively get together one week in the year and say thank you to the millions of volunteers across the UK.

Volunteers’ Week doesn’t mean you need to save all your thank you’s for this week (after all, as a dog is for life not just for Christmas, volunteer recognition is for every week, not just Volunteers’ Week). Rather its aim is to amplify and magnify that recognition, and to celebrate all the awesome stuff volunteers are doing. And in the age of social media: to get it trending on Twitter!

This year, NCVO and AVM decided we’d try out a Twitter chat for volunteer managers to talk about saying thanks to volunteers. Using #SayingThanks, this was an opportunity for volunteer managers to ask questions and share how best to thank volunteers. It’s the first time we’ve ever done a Twitter chat, so we were a bit nervous, but it was great to see people joining in, answering and asking questions. You can see the Moment on Twitter.

Cultivate an attitude for gratitude

What really struck me during the chat was how passionate volunteer managers are about thanking and recognising volunteers. But how some struggle to get the rest of the organisation to feel the same way. I’m not surprised by this: when AVM surveyed volunteer managers for International Volunteer Managers’ Day 2017 we found one of the biggest challenges was lack of buy-in from their organisation for volunteering. This is something AVM wants to work on with NCVO and the rest of the sector, to try and empower volunteer managers to bring about a culture of volunteering in their organisations.

The chat also confirmed what I long suspected: volunteering runs on a cuppa and cake! Food has always been a way of bringing people together and celebrating, across all cultures and countries. I don’t think we’re going to see an end to the celebratory tea any time soon.

Two slices of cake

So what did we learn from during the chat? Here are some thoughts I’d like to share with you about how to thank and recognise the valuable contributions volunteers make every day and night.

Don’t go overboard

I once heard of a group of volunteers who asked what terrible change an organisation was going to bring in, because so many members of staff thanked them during Volunteers’ Week. What a sad reflection on the organisation’s attitude to recognising volunteers. While Volunteers’ Week is a great time to specifically thank volunteers more formally, regular thanks should be part of everyone’s everyday interactions with volunteers.

Keep it regular

Volunteers are part of the team and should be treated as such. Making thanks at the end of a shift part of how you engage with volunteers is as valuable as an annual party. Remember to share thanks genuinely, regularly and as soon as you can. Don’t save it all up for an annual Volunteers’ Week event. When you get feedback about an individual volunteer, share it with them immediately.

Make it personal

We all know the volunteers who have their collection of length of service pin badges, or who will be interviewed for local press at the drop of a hat. But what about the volunteer who’d rather not get up in front of a room full of people? There is no ‘one-size fits all’ way to thank a volunteer. When it comes to those extra special thank you’s when someone has gone above and beyond expectations, make it personal to them. After all, nobody wants to be the volunteer manager who gives a bunch of flowers to a volunteer who has hayfever!

Shout about it

That doesn’t mean you need to drag every volunteer who does a great job on a stage to shake hands with the local Mayor (though, if they’d like that, bring it on!). There are other ways you can shout about what volunteers. Social media and local press are a great way to spread the message. But equally, let the rest of the team know too. After all, you know what difference volunteers are making, but do your colleagues in Finance or IT know?

Share the love

Share the thanks you get from clients who’ve been helped by volunteers. (Yes, you can do this, even with GDPR, just make sure you know how can you do this!) You can put a copy of a letter on a noticeboard, or include snippets in your volunteer newsletter or email. It’s far more powerful to share thanks in the words of the person who is giving it.

Share the goodies

Almost everyone loves some branded goodies. You can also make it useful if you think about what volunteers need. Do they have to carry around paperwork? How about a branded bag. Do they travel a lot? Then a travelcard wallet is a great idea. You could always ask a local business to fund it if it’s not something you would normally produce. Or see if you can give them early access to the latest fundraising goodies. If it’s really good, you could always pull names from a hat!.

These are just a few things I’ve picked up from talking with other volunteer managers. We’d love to continue this conversation on Twitter so please share your questions, thoughts, ideas and suggestions using #SayingThanks.

Join the AVM Membership Team!

Join UsThe Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) is an independent membership body that aims to support, represent and champion people in volunteer management across the UK. It has been set up by and for people who manage volunteers and has been growing for over a decade.

Our membership now stands at over 400 people across various fields, disciplines and sectors. Joining us ensures that those who manage volunteers are part of an active network of volunteer management professionals across the country, where they can give and receive support, exchange ideas and learn from each other.

Through AVM, volunteer managers have the chance to join together, speak with a louder voice, and influence volunteer management policy makers and funders.

AVM also runs a vibrant programme of learning events throughout the year, as well as our popular annual conference. In addition to the excellent discounts members on these events, all have the opportunity to contribute to or to lead various elements, enabling them to develop their leadership skills and strengthen their reputation within the volunteer management sector.

So, we are proud of the services we offer our members.

However, we also know we could do a lot to improve things. We think many members might not be fully aware of the range of benefits we offer, and we suspect our members have needs that AVM is not meeting.

Our Membership Sub-committee is made up of three Board Members and our Membership Administrator. We would like to invite our members to join us, to help us improve our services, and ultimately, the support and leadership available for volunteer managers across the UK.

We are recruiting to three volunteer roles, all of whom would form part of our Membership team. These roles are as follows:

  • Membership Development Officer
  • Membership Services Evaluation Officer (X2)
  • Membership Benchmarking Officer

All of these roles will be managed and supported by the AVM Director leading Membership services – Angela Wilson. 

If you would like to find out a bit more about any of the roles, you can contact Angela at: angela.wilson@volunteermanagers.org.uk

The closing date for applications is 27 April 2018.

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