by Hazel Kelly

I’ve been in the volunteering sector for over 20 years, but putting my application in to be an AVM mentor started me thinking about what I had to offer.

I haven’t had much strategic experience, or a huge amount of experience managing staff, projects or budgets. So, what skills did I have that could maybe help support a fellow volunteer manager? And why did I think I could be a good mentor?

The first thing I knew was that I was a good listener. I had had a varied experience working in small, medium and national charities, and still have that passion and determination to enable more people to volunteer and make sure they are supported appropriately. Working on the ground, on day in day out problems, managing busy workloads and dealing with challenges to do with recruitment, managing and training not only volunteers but colleagues. Not a bad start I thought!

I was ‘matched’ with my mentee – and we had our first zoom call to get to know each other, what she needed help and support with and whether I would be of use.

It soon became apparent that my experience could help someone else! We talked about time management, the forever non ending list of things to do, challenges of some staff and volunteers attitudes and behaviours. All things that most of us who have been in the game a while has had lots of dealings with. I’m not there with the answers, a magic pill to make things work better. I’m there to bounce ideas off, make suggestions, to plant seeds of a different way to look at things and mostly to provide that space – to think!

I am excited to watch my mentee grow, especially in confidence, and try new things. To look after herself and not check her emails when off work! Learning to time manage and getting more structure to her day benefitting her efficiency and positivity. My feedback from her so far ‘Our conversation led to an idea ……………………….Thanks for your lovely positive input’.

I love our monthly catch ups. It’s not a huge amount of time to find and the benefits, such as giving something back, being a positive influence, sharing good practice and learning from each other is a really rewarding thing to be part of.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for a volunteer manager, you can find out more, and sign up today.

The mentoring programme is available to AVM members. Find out more about AVM membership.

About Hazel

Hazel Kelly is a Volunteering Consultant at The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, and an AVM mentor.