18th October 2018, Royal National Hotel, London

Your voice, together with AVM, advancing volunteer management

The premier event for volunteer managers, leaders and heads of volunteering. There will be inspiring keynotes, a range of workshops and seminars, networking activities and much more. Regularly attracting nearly 250 delegates, this event brings together those passionate and proactive about volunteer management. 

“Great attendance, great speakers, great venue”
DelegateAVM Conference in 2017
“Really well organised; great choice of workshops; busy, buzzy atmosphere”
DelegatesAVM Conference 2017
“Networking was great, standard of speakers was high, I felt stretched by the discussions”
DelegateAVM Conference 2017

Conference 2018 – Programme

Conference chair – Rachael Bayley, Ramblers and AVM Director

9.15am Conference registration opens Refreshments served
10.00am Welcome address Ruth Leonard, AVM Chair
10.10am Keynote speech: Futurology: The UK trends that may impact Volunteering by 2030 Tiger de Souza, Director (Volunteering, Participation & Inclusion), National Trust
10.55am Morning workshops See below

Morning workshops

When you make your booking, please choose one workshop. Click on the workshop title below for a full description.

A: Mindfulness and Resilience – Sherie Olmstead, Managing Director, Unicorn Consulting Solutions Ltd (workshop)

Wake Up! The Surprising Truth about What Drives Stress and How We All Can Build Resilience Incorporating one of many techniques: Mindfulness

We will explore a new proven approach for dealing with stress. There is a new approach to dealing with stress and building resilience that a few wise people have known about for a long time; it’s time more people did.  You will be introduced to the research of Dr. Derek Roger, one of the world’s leading researchers on stress and resilience. The goal of the session is to convince you that there is no such thing as a stressful job or stressful situation.  You will learn “the key” to enduring resilience and learn to do something you probably haven’t fully done for a long time – wake up.  We will explore mindfulness as a highly effective technique to helping you stay awake and defining for yourselves a stress-free life.

B: Organisational Values and Volunteering – Anne-Marie Zaritsky, Head of Volunteering, Mencap & Sara Sheard, Deputy People Director, Mencap (seminar)

Organisational values and volunteers – to be lived, not laminated 

Mencap has gone through an organisational wide cultural change in the last few years, including the development of a new set of values.  We will share how we have translated these values and new ways of working to both employees and volunteers, discussing our success and challenges along the way, and the impact this has had.

We will share some of the tools we’ve developed, and how values can play a key part in the volunteer journey, from recruitment through to recoginition.

Particpants will then have the opportunity to reflect on their own organisational values; are they relevant to volunteers?  Do your volunteers know what they are and why you have them? How do values translate into behaviours? How can working towards a shared set of values impact on culture and strategy?  What is the role of the volunteer manager in this?

C: Research partnerships- volunteering and academia working together – Geoff Nichols, University of Sheffield and Sports Volunteering Research Network (SVRN) (workshop)

How Volunteer Organisations link with Academic Institutions to achieve Research

The workshop will describe ways in which managers and academics can work together on research.  Practical examples will be provided including: student dissertations, student group projects; university funded research; contracted research and guest speakers on courses.  The examples illustrate the practical details of setting this up and meeting the needs of the stakeholders: managers, students and academics.  The examples will be followed by participants identifying their own research projects and ways they might be delivered.  The session will include details of organisations through which academics can be contacted.      

D: Rethinking the Data We Collect, GDPR and beyond – Tony Goodrow, CEO, Better Impact (workshop)

The GDPR has forced us to look at data collection in a whole new way. And although it has caused us all a significant amount of new work in our busy lives, I think that in the end, everyone, including Leaders of Volunteers, will be better off for it.

This workshop is divided into three segments.

The first is taking a look at what the DGPR means in layman’s terms and seeks to demystify it.

The second segment looks a specific examples of how data collection and holding practices called for under GRPR influence overall better practices in volunteer management. These practices will have an effect on workflow efficiencies and an improvement in the volunteer experience.

The third segment is interactive look at what the workshop participants think of various pieces of data collection very common in the volunteer sector. Small groups will discuss how they think specific information should be handled in light of the first and second segments of the workshop and we’ll wrap up each example with a short full group discussion.

12.10am Lunch A sit down meal is provided with a range of options. Please let us know of any special dietary requirements
1.05pm AGM
1.30pm Keynote speech: Getting past Groundhog Day: Why our leadership needs to change the conversations we’re having about volunteering. Helen Timbrell, People and Organisational Development Consultant
2.15pm Afternoon workshops See below

Afternoon workshops

When you make your booking, please choose one workshop. Click on the workshop title below for a full description.

E: Leadership with impact – Sherie Olmstead, Managing Director, Unicorn Consulting Solutions Ltd (workshop)

Making Leadership Happen

In our fast-changing and interconnected world, organisations feel the need for leadership more than ever.    As a result, managers get a lot of advice on how to be more effective leaders.  We will explore the challenges leaders face, define what effective leadership is, explore how leaders can improve and look at a targeted approach to lead with impact. 

F: How to have difficult conversations – Mandy Rutter, Psychologist and Organisational Consultant (workshop)

Difficult conversations are a significant part of managing employees, volunteers and strategies. We often want to avoid such conversations for fear of conflict, but we know that our credibility and performance will be effected if we don’t take our full responsibility. However, we rarely receive training on what to say and how to manage the inevitable emotional fall-out.  Whether its challenging time-keeping, safety procedures, prejudice or inappropriate behaviour, this workshop will provide practical guidance on how to manage the conversation. We will explore the psychological processes involved in conflict and offer a model of communication that helps managers to maintain flow and focus during emotionally challenging conversations.

G: So you think you want a volunteer management system? – Wendy  Halley, (previously Programme Manager – Volunteering Systems & Processes, Save the Children)

What you need to know if you’re thinking of getting a new volunteer database. A non-tech overview of what to consider and prepare before taking your first step.

Spreadsheets and Access databases just don’t cut it anymore. The volunteers of tomorrow, and many of today’s too, want to interact online. The benefits of a good volunteer management system are mind-blowing. How’s seven minutes to get back a reference without doing any work at all?! But there’s a lot more to it than just buying a system. In this workshop we’ll look at the steps you’ll need to go through, the questions you need to ask and the ones you’ll need to answer.

From the initial idea, to the business case and making the arguments internally (often the biggest hurdle), we’ll consider the less obvious issues that you could come up against throughout the entire process from proposal to implementation.

We’ll not be looking at all the solutions on the market but you’ll get information and guidance, from the experience of two implementations, to be more prepared if you choose to go down this exciting route.

H: Building confidence for volunteers with support needs, Fleur Donnelly-Jackson, Volunteers Manager, and Walney Virgilio, Volunteers Coordinator, Tate Britain & Tate Modern

Develop an understanding of the Social Model of Disability and learn from Tate’s experiences of supporting volunteers with learning difficulties, to become more confident in their volunteering and interacting with the public. Explore how you can make your volunteer opportunities accessible and inclusive, develop a support offer, and make appropriate adaptions. This will be an opportunity to hear about and share good practice/ experiences, and learn about how your organisation could improve opportunities for volunteers with learning disabilities. We will also try out some theatre games, drawn from the theories of Augusto Boal! 

3.30pm Tea and coffee break
3.55pm Keynote speech: Putting Volunteering at Our Heart: England Athletics Strategy Chris Jones, CEO, England Athletics
4.40pm Q&A session: “The Volunteer Managers’ Advice Surgery” Chaired by Ruth Leonard (AVM Chair)- Q&A panel is: Rob Jackson, Sherie Olmstead and Helen Timbrell
5.20pm Closing address
5.30pm Conference close – informal post conference drinks Please join us to network and relax

There will be networking activities and exhibition stands throughout the day plus news of various exciting  AVM projects.


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Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0DG


October 18, 2018
9:15 am - 5:30 pm
Event Category: