Diversity in volunteering: myths and misunderstanding

Why most of what we think is wrong and what leaders need to do about it

This event, aimed specifically at chief executives and heads of volunteering, shares the results of two recent research projects exploring different aspects of diversity in volunteering. Our aim is to present an open, energetic and engaging forum for an exchange of relevant information and views.

Led by an expert in equality, diversity and inclusion the day is an opportunity to explore the implications of the research in your own organisation, focussing on the role of leaders as well as operational practice. The research offers actionable insights for organisations and the volunteering sector and the day will focus on shifting from talking to walking.

Setting the scene

What is the value of volunteering to inclusion, diversity and equality? How does it build trust and wellbeing?

Lord O’Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary, will introduce and outline the new research to be discussed. 

Research Project One: The ABC of BAME

This is new mixed method research carried out by Jump, Breakthrough Media, Leeds Beckett University and sponsored by Sport England, the National Trust, Cancer Research UK and BT. 

The work is the result of exhaustive analysis of the UK data sets on volunteering (Understanding Society, Taking Part, Community Life) and qualitative research into the groups least likely to volunteer. 

The research shows, for the first time, differences in the B, A and ME of volunteering and the importance of intersectionality in work on diversity, particularly consideration of lower socio-economic status. 

The research offers new insights into levels of volunteering, motivations for volunteering and the impact of volunteering for different groups.

Research Project Two: Leadership and current volunteers – the missing pieces in the EDI jigsaw

Most work on diversity in volunteering focuses on how to attract new, more diverse volunteers. 

Drawing on research among 12 national charities and carried out by Dr Helen Timbrell, this work instead offers insights into the extent to which current volunteers can be perceived as enablers or barriers of achieving greater diversity. It also reveals the lack of confidence in Executive Teams and Trustees to effectively lead for equality, diversity and inclusion.   

Sharing good practice

Hear about practical case studies from our event partners. They’ll be showcasing examples of good practice in engaging diverse volunteers, using the pecha kucha methodology.    

Walking the talk

Reflecting on the research and good practice examples what are the implications for individuals and organisations?  What, if any, additional research is needed?  

Delegates will work together to develop personal and organisational action plans.

Location of event


Conway Hall

25 Red Lion Square

London  WC1R 4RL

Getting there


Please use the hashtag #AVMDiversity to involve others in this event

Sponsored by


Lord O’Donnell

Gus O’Donnell is a former British senior civil servant and economist, who between 2005 and 2011 (under three Prime Ministers) served as the Cabinet Secretary, the highest official in the British Civil Service.

O’Donnell announced after the 2010 General Election that he would step down within that Parliament and did so at the end of 2011. His post was then split into three positions: he was succeeded as Cabinet Secretary by Sir Jeremy Heywood, as Head of the Home Civil Service by Sir Bob Kerslake (in a part-time role), and as Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office by Ian Watmore. Whilst Cabinet Secretary, O’Donnell was regularly referred to within the Civil Service, and subsequently in the popular press, as GOD; this was mainly because of his initials. In 2012, O’Donnell joined Frontier Economics as a Senior Advisor

Natasha Broomfield-Reid

Natasha is the founder and Director of Diverse Matters. She is responsible for the overall running of the company and for the design and delivery of a range of diversity and inclusion solutions for organisations within all sectors.

Natasha has over 20 years’ experience of working within the diversity and inclusion field, and prior to setting up Diverse Matters and was the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for Victim Support. Natasha led the organisation to become a Stonewall top 100 employer, achieve the ‘Leaders in Diversity’ accreditation from the National Centre for Diversity and be a Top 50 Inclusive employer.

Natasha has continued to carry out a consultant role for Victim Support. Within this role she supported the organisation to remain the top charity in the Stonewall top 100 2017/2018 Workplace Equality Index, Top Trans Inclusive organisation and Star Performing Organisation, become the top charity in the National Centre for Diversity’s Top 100 diverse organisations (2017), win the Business Disability Standard ‘Know How’ award for their support to victims with mental health issues as well as being a top 50 Inclusive Employer during 2016 and 2017 awarded by the Excellence in Diversity. Victim Support has also been shortlisted for Pink News Equality Award (2018) and Natasha was the winner of Stonewall Cymru’s Ally of the year award (2018).

Natasha also worked as the Head of Development for Equal Approach. Equal Approach is a leading inclusive recruiter, diversity consultancy and training provider, supporting organisations to attract, recruit, recognise, retain and promote diverse talent, and make workplaces more inclusive. Natasha worked with organisations from a wide range of sectors including finance, recruitment, design, retail, legal and the public sector to support them to become more inclusive in their practices. This included a wide range of services including audits, training, policy and strategy development.

Natasha currently carries out Associate roles for Business Disability Forum (BDF), National Centre for Diversity (NCD) and Irish Centre for Diversity (ICD) as a Diversity Advisor and Righttrack learning consultancy as a Diversity consultant/trainer. Board roles include the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners (IEDP) and Advisory board for Supporting Justice.

Dr Helen Timbrell

Dr Helen Timbrell – People and Organisational Development Consultant.

Helen works with organisations to create the conditions for staff and volunteers to do their best work, helping them to make a positive difference to organisations, communities and the lives of individuals.

Helen spent eleven years working at the National Trust, where as Director of Volunteering and Participation she appointed the organisation’s first Head of Diversity and Inclusion. As Executive Director of People and Organisational Development at Samaritans she was responsible for human resources, learning and development and volunteering. Helen has previously worked in Students’ Unions and with Citizens Advice and is now an independent consultant.

Helen’s PhD explored geographical variations in volunteering. She has an MBA, is a chartered member of the CIPD and is currently developing her own practice as a Coach by studying for an MSc in Coaching and Behavioural Change.

As a volunteer Helen has previously been a Director of the Association of Volunteer Managers and a Trustee of Girlguiding UK. She is currently a parkrun Event Director.


Jump have expert understanding of UK Government open source datasets. Since 2016 Jump has performed advanced statistical analysis of the data on volunteering to understand the motivations and barriers to volunteering in the UK.

Jump Projects are authors (alongside Simetrica and Sport and Recreation Alliance) of the 2018 report ‘GIVERS’ which introduces a behavioural model for all volunteers. Jump has also developed a survey tool that elicits the key user journeys, experiences, motivations and barriers for volunteers which has been used in 2017 by St John Ambulance.

In June, Jump brought together a consortium of four progressive organisations to look at the issue of diversity – BT, Cancer Research, Sport England and National Trust.


Thanks to sponsorship by Jump, Sport England, National Trust and Cancer Research UK this is a free event. Please note that due to high demand – places are limited – you can only book two tickets per organisation. Please register your details below to secure a ticket.


January 14, 2019
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
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