Notice of Extraordinary General Meeting: 13 July 2017

Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) will be holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at the following time and location:

6pm, Thursday 13 July 2017
The Royal British Legion (Head Office), 199 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1AA

The business to be discussed is a change in the articles of incorporation of AVM. More details will be circulated to members in due course.

Bookings Now Open for AVM Conference 2016

welcome to avmThe conference team have been busy, the venue is booked, keynote speakers are in place and the Volunteer Management event of the year, and highlight of the AVM calendar, is ready to go.

Bookings for this year’s AVM annual conference are now open.  You can book your place here.

This year we are offering a small number of member tickets at last year’s conference price so book early to enjoy all of this year’s conference benefits at last year’s price – what could be better.

Key note speakers this year are:
• Karl Wilding, Director of Public Policy and Volunteering at NCVO
• Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of Girlguiding
• Joe Saxton, Driver of Ideas at nfpSynergy and its founder

Workshops this year include:
• Volunteers and the Law
• Future Trends and Issues in Volunteer Management
• Measuring Volunteer Impact
• Volunteering and Digital Media

It’s an exciting conference programme and we look forward to seeing you there.

AVM Annual General Meeting 2011

This year our Annual General Meeting will focus on our continuing professional development. Our speakers include Sue Jones who will give an update on the EYV2011 activities as well as new plans for more ways in which Volunteer Managers can continue to learn on the job, we will also hear about the new third sector apprenticeship frameworks, and how City University encourage and facilitate ongoing development.

The fun starts at 1pm on Tuesday 1st November – with a networking lunch so please let us know if you have any particular dietary requirements. It will be held at Scope, on the corner of Market Road and Caledonian Road London N7. (see www.scope.org.uk for directions) Travel costs will be reimbursed for members travelling from outside London if they are unwaged, or if their employing organisation will not contribute.

Non Members are welcome to join us, but we will not be able to assist with travel costs and there will be a charge  – so it may be worth you joining now!

Please let us know if you are coming, and of course let us know if you need any help in getting here – we look forward to seeing you all.

RSVP to sean.cobley@volunteermanagers.org.uk

Managing the future of volunteering

Nick Hurd speaking at AVM's conference 2012, Sean Cobley (left) AVM Chair

Nick Hurd speaking at AVM’s conference 2012, Sean Cobley (left) AVM Chair

The Association of Volunteer Managers had its inaugural conference today (9th March 2011) focussing on volunteer management and the Big Society. Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society addressed the conference setting how he saw the role of volunteer management in the Big Society. He came armed with as many questions as answers, but the fact that he was there at all was surely testament to the recognition of volunteer management’s value to the Government’s current policy agenda.

A short synopsis of what Hurd shared: Big Society is about cultural change, it’s a long process and it’s going to be difficult.

Interestingly, given the audience of professionals working in volunteering- he chose to underline the notion that Big Society is “more than volunteering”. That this point needs to be made at all, signals an underlying sense of how critical volunteering is to the Big Society. Volunteering may not be the be all and end all of the Big Society, but when all’s said and done it’s the idea of volunteering that people keep coming back to to explain the Big Society to an often confused and baffled public.

Whatever the link between volunteering and the Big Society in the minds of policy makers, Nick Hurd insisted that volunteer management was a crucial part of the equation. He pointed to the funding that the Office of Civil Society (OCS) is going to make available through the European Year of the Volunteer specifically for volunteer management as just one example.

He shared a short anecdote about an encounter he had had with Baroness Julia Neuberger at the time of her work on the Commission on the Future of Volunteering. When he asked her for one thing that’s crucial to the future of volunteering she responded simply: “volunteer managers”. This was a Minister keen to build bridges.

He addressed questions from delegates where Government policy seemed to run counter to this expressed support for volunteering in the Big Society at the Cabinet Office. For example:

  • Budget cuts to the voluntary sector including infrastructure will result in making it harder, not easier for volunteer managers to do their job
  • By making public service reform such a prominent aspect of the Big Society public perception now is that the Government is asking volunteers to step into fill gaps left by the retrenchment of the state. This perception whether or not it is founded in fact is making it harder, not easier, to recruit volunteers
  • Mandatory work activity (JSA reform) runs counter to the ethos of volunteering and the voluntary sector. As a result, work programmes previously run on a voluntary basis with those out of work- would no longer make sense in the voluntary sector if they became mandatory. Again, this policy may lead to less volunteering, not more.

Nick Hurd’s response to the issue of budget cuts seemed to be: we know it’s painful, but it is temporary adjustment. It will be worth it in the long run.

His response to the public service reform was to say that this public perception will change over time – and insisted that Government had a role to play in leading this change in perceptions and culture. In fact, he gave the impression that a large part of the Government’s approach to volunteering was in how it could be a vehicle for changing social attitudes to giving and social action. There are a number of policies designed to change the attitudes from the National Citizen Service that’s aimed at the attitudes of the nation’s 16 year olds, through to the “civic service” initiative which challenges civil servants to rethink their relationship to the communities they work with.

In terms of contradictions in Government policy – at one stage Nick Hurd joked, “Welcome to Government”. But he did not accept the point about mandatory work activity and suggested this contradiction was more semantic, than actual, and could be overcome.
In terms of the Government’s role in fostering a vibrant and efficient infrastructure for volunteering in this country, Nick Hurd told delegates “he didn’t need any lectures on the importance of volunteering infrastructure”.

He agreed it was important, but was not clear on how it could be funded in the future. It should involve Central Government to a degree, but also the Big Lottery Fund and local authorities had to play their part.

Interestingly, he also floated the idea that longer term umbrella organisations should receive much more of their funding direct from their members or “customers”. If this could be achieved, then Hurd believed infrastructure bodies would become much more efficient than they are today.

At the moment the complex and fragmented system of funding is too thinly spread to make it effective and that too much of volunteer managers’ time is spent fundraising to make it efficient. This issue of infrastructure was one of the big questions that Nick Hurd came with which was: what kind of infrastructure do we need to be able to improve and shape the quality of volunteering experiences?

Another strand of the Government’s approach included more effectively leveraging the links between local businesses and the communities in which they’re present. He spoke about a new initiative to develop “business connectors” who could help establish fruitful relationships for both the voluntary sector and local businesses. This was separate from, but could run in parallel with, the idea to train community organisers to do the same kind of work forging links across communities.

Hurd made reference to the support the Government has given to Chris White’s Private Member’s Bill that aims to make social impact and value a key requirement in the commissioning process in future. It will be interesting to see whether these kinds of measures will effectively open up the space necessary for volunteering and volunteer management to play a role in service provision that can compete with private sector providers. Some delegates flagged up concerns that services built on volunteer management models would not be able to compete on private sector bids for contracts on price alone.

When challenged Hurd accepted the development of volunteer management required nudging organisations to change their behaviour, and that it could not all be resolved by establishing the right kind of infrastructure. On the issue of professionalization of volunteer management, Hurd somewhat baldly stated that he had no interest in this agenda and this should not be the agenda of any Government. This [professionalization], he said, was a matter for volunteer managers themselves.

There were no huge surprises in Hurd’s words, but it was refreshing to have a discussion that centred on how the Government understands what role volunteer management can play in the Big Society agenda. It formed the basis for what was a really informative and productive discussion on the future of the role of volunteer management. Long may this dialogue and discussion with volunteer managers continue.

AVM AGM 2009

What is the future for volunteer managers?

Are you concerned about how your organisation values your role? Worried about where funding might come from in the future?

The Association of Volunteer Managers is holding it’s second AGM on 23rd September 2009 focussing on what the future holds for volunteer managers.

We will be looking at:

  • existing research on volunteer managers
  • government policy towards volunteer management
  • how we value what we do

The AGM is open to both members and non-members. There are limited travel bursaries for members – please contact us for further details:

Date: Wednesday, 23rd September 2009

Time: 12.45 – 4.00 (Lunch will be provided from 12.00)

Location: Scope, 6 Market Road, London N7 9PW

Networking and refreshments will also be provided afterwards.

To register your attendance by emailing us at: info@volunteermanagers.org.uk.

Please let us know any access needs you have, if you intend to have lunch and if so your dietary requirements.

AVM Chair’s speech – AGM, 23rd September 2008

Below is the AVM Chair’s speech from our first AGM. It’s also attached as a document.

Introduction

I would like to welcome everybody to the first Annual General Meeting of the Association of Volunteer Managers. Today is another landmark in our journey; from having the idea nearly three years ago, to last year’s launch, and now the successful completion of our first year.

For our first AGM we wanted to do something that reflected our philosophy about bringing volunteer managers together and giving them a voice. We are therefore delighted to have speaking today Justin Davis-Smith, Chief Executive of Volunteering England, and John Knights, Volunteering Policy Adviser at the Office of the Third Sector.

Volunteering England and the Office of the Third Sector are two of the leading stakeholders in our work and have done much to support us in our first year.

We are also pleased to welcome Red Foundation who will be giving you the opportunity to feed into the work they are doing for Capacitybuilders.

I would like to start, though, with a number of thanks. Firstly to Scope who have supported our work in many ways but in particular by hosting both our launch and today’s AGM. Secondly to Red Foundation and the National Support Service Partnership for sponsoring today’s event. And finally to everyone involved in setting up and taking AVM forward; my fellow directors; our members; and everyone who has given us support and guidance over the last year.

Without all of them and all of you, AVM quite simply would not exist.

Looking Back

I believe the need for AVM is greater than ever before. As volunteering develops, as volunteer management develops, it is vital that volunteer managers are not just at the heart of that development but that they have a voice to articulate their thoughts and experiences.

The problem though has always been the fragmented nature of volunteer management; organisationally; culturally, hierarchically and economically. Which is where AVM comes in. To bring together volunteer managers and the field of volunteer management in a coherent and articulate manner.

To date 126 volunteer managers have joined AVM. A further 510 have signed up to the website. It’s not just about numbers, though, it’s also about where our members are from. They are from all parts of the country. They are from Local Authorities, universities, volunteer centres, small volunteer-led community organisations and from large national charities.

We are extremely grateful for the trust that members have shown in us and our commitment to all our members is that we will do our best to repay that.

So what have we achieved this year?

We’ve raised the profile of volunteer management. We’ve responded to the increasing number of Government department third sector consultations ensuring that they recognise the need to invest in and support volunteer management. We’ve also become increasingly pro-active in responding to media reports that impact on volunteering and volunteer management.

We’ve influenced and continue to influence the development of volunteer management. We sat on the review group for the Management of Volunteers National Occupational Standards. We sat on the steering group for the Institute of Volunteering Research’s ‘Management matters’ We advised the Office of the Third Sector on their guidance on CRB checks for volunteers. We led the campaign to clarify childcare expenses within the National Minimum Wage consultation. We currently sit on the Commission on the Future of Volunteering’s Action Group on Skills and Empowerment for Volunteer Managers.

We created the innovative Volunteer Managers’ wiki. The wiki sits between the UKVPMs message board and Volunteering England’s good practice bank to ensure the vibrant discussion, evolution and application of good practice in our field is captured and collated. It is the first of its kind in the world and thanks must go to Patrick Daniels, one of the AVM directors who is the inspiration behind it.

And finally, we’ve developed the most comprehensive collection of vacancies for volunteer managers.

Looking forward

We are very proud of what we’ve achieved but know there is so much more to do.

As we look ahead I believe we have five challenges facing us.

Firstly, we have to keep volunteer managers at the heart of the policy agenda.

Nationally we are slowly winning the argument that safe, effective and sustainable volunteering depends on properly resourced and supported volunteer management. We can see this from the Commission on the Future of Volunteering’s ‘Manifesto for Change’, Baroness Neuberger’s paper on volunteering in health and social care and the Office of the Third Sector’s commitment to training volunteer managers.

However, we are still only touching the surface. Volunteering organisations themselves have much to do to put their own houses in order. How many public services and charities would collapse without volunteers? And yet, in all honesty, how far up the list of priorities is volunteer management for many of them?

The 2012 Olympics will be the most high profile volunteering programme this country has seen and will directly and indirectly impact every one of us. If it is to be successful volunteer management has to be at the heart of it. I hope it will use and learn from the vast expertise we already have in England.

Secondly we need to better develop our understanding of volunteer management as a profession. I know some people say it is not a profession, that it is merely an extension of people management. I sympathise with that view but it doesn’t recognise the practicalities of the world we live in.

Aside from the distinct differences, to most, managing people means managing paid staff. Managing volunteers has always been tacked on to that, and that is precisely why volunteer management has not received the recognition it deserves.

But if we are a profession we need to understand what that means. The opportunities, and the impact. Would it help establish a career in volunteer management? Would it mean some form of accreditation, or even compulsory accreditation? These are some of the questions we need to tackle.

Thirdly we need to tackle the fragmentation of our field. We know that volunteer management encompasses a wide variety of roles, that organisationally it can and does sit within a number of different departments and teams. This fragmentation is another reason why volunteer management has traditionally lacked recognition and respect. It’s also difficult for a new volunteer manager to know where to go for help and support. We need to tidy up this support. Make it clear and obvious where they can go, whether it’s accessing local support networks, national support or online information.

Fourthly, we need to develop better services for members. We are a membership organisations, so quite rightly members want a bang for their buck.

With the rise of volunteer management on the policy agenda, we have worked had to ensure volunteer managers were not left out of the debate. This meant, though, not being able to put as much time into developing member services as we had intended. Although, this was the right decision we have had to rely on the goodwill and trust of members. We now need to do more; to understand what members want and what and how we can deliver.

And finally we need to engage and involve our members better and more effectively. AVM is entirely run by volunteers. The more members who get involved and contributes, the more we can achieve. We, as the Board, have the responsibility to ensure members are given the means and opportunities to get involved. But members also have a responsibility to understand the need for them to contribute; that the sum of our whole is so much greater than the sum of our parts.

Elections

Thank you to all the candidates who put their names forward. When we were setting up AVM we wanted three-quarters of the board to be elected by members from the membership to ensure there was a strong link of accountability between the board and the membership.

However, that accountability only works if the elections are contested rather than non-contested so, for me, that will always be measure as to how thriving and dynamic AVM truly is.

The three members elected to the board are Tracey Mealing, Alan Murray and Debbie Usiskin.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Caroline Loden who is stepping down from the board. Caroline was involved with the setting up of AVM from the very beginning and put in a lot of work in those early days to ensure AVM didn’t just remain a pipe dream.

Our Accounts

Our income for the year was £4,304. This consisted of a £1500 grant from the NCVO Workforce Hub, to whom we are particularly grateful, and the remainder came in membership fees and bank interest. Our expenditure was £1,184.

We resolved to carry forward a healthy balance from our first year as we knew we would be much better informed in our second year as to the direction AVM needed to head, and therefore may need the funds to support that. We are therefore carrying forward £3120.

As I mentioned earlier AVM is entirely volunteer-run, so a special thank-you should go to all our volunteers. Using the national average wage their contribution equates to almost £23,000. Which signifies how important volunteers are to our Association.

Conclusion

And finally I’d like to go back to why we set up AVM in the first place.

We set it up because no other organisation was able to give us the support we needed; because for too long we had complained about the problems but done nothing about the solutions; and because if volunteer managers didn’t support themselves why should we expect other people to do it for us?

For me, AVM is about that three things. Its about ensuring that we are stronger together than alone. Its about ensuring that together we can make a difference. But ultimately AVM is about volunteers. Ensuring every volunteer has the right training, has the right support and has the right management, so that the time, energy and skills they give are not wasted.

But, sadly too often they are wasted. And that’s not just an indictment of the volunteering sector it’s an indictment of volunteer managers.

Because if we’re not prepared to stand up together for volunteers, who else will?

  • John Ramsey, Chair
  • Association of Volunteer Managers
  • 23rd September 2008

What a year it’s been

Yesterday AVM held its first AGM – more detailed reports on the content of the day to come. To mark the moment we released our first annual review. We attach it here and have an excerpt from it below:

We’re pleased to say that to date 126 volunteer managers have signed up as members and a further 510 people have registered on the website. It’s not just the numbers though; it’s where they are from. Our members are from all areas of the country, they come from local authorities, universities and volunteer centres, and from the smallest volunteer-led community organisations to the large national charities.

Support for the development of AVM came from many different sources. We had messages of support from Government (Ed Miliband MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office), from the volunteering sector (Justin Davis Smith, Volunteering England; Fiona Dawe, YouthNet; Gordon Lishman, Age Concern England; Fiona Reynolds, The National Trust; Graham Wynne, RSPB) and from across the globe (Martin J Cowling, Susan Ellis, Andy Fryar, Linda Graff, Steve McCurley)

Our Headline Achievements

. Led the campaign to clarify childcare expenses within the National Minimum Wage consultation
. Created the Volunteer Managers' wiki
. Advised the Office of the Third Sector on their guidance on CRB checks for volunteers
. Developed the most comprehensive collection of vacancies for volunteer managers
. Raised the profile of volunteer management

Membership Services

. The website – www.volunteermanagers.org.uk

Our website is our main tool of communication. The website offers:

  • more information about AVM and its directors
  • tools and publications for volunteer managers
  • general information about volunteering
  • forums to post queries
  • blogs to post information and thoughts
  • a video tutorial to get the most from the site

. Volunteer Managers’ Wiki

One of the greatest achievement has been our innovative Volunteer Managers’ wiki. Good practice in volunteer management is both fluid and evolving, and there is so much that can be learnt from each other in its application in the various fields we work in.
The wiki is the only place where that vibrant discussion is captured and the knowledge collated.

. Volunteer Manager vacancies

We have created the most comprehensive list of vacancies for volunteer managers.

. Members E-Newsletter

A bi-monthly newsletter goes out to members with news about what’s happening with AVM and other information from the volunteering world of interest to members.

Policy Development

A key feature of our work has been to raise awareness of the role volunteer management plays in developing safe, effective and sustainable volunteering.
We have responded to:

  • the Commission on the Future of Volunteering Consultation
  • the Office of the Third Sector’s response to the ‘Manifesto for Change’.
  • The Ministry of Justice’s Third Sector strategy.
  • DEFRA’s Third Sector strategy
  • NOMS’ Third Sector strategy. We have:
  1. sat on the review group for the Management of Volunteers National Occupational Standards
  2. been involved with ‘Scoping Volunteer Management Training in London’, a report prepared for the London Development Agency
  3. sat on the steering group for the Institute of Volunteering Research’s 'Management matters – a national survey of volunteer management capacity'
  • carried out our own survey of what volunteer managers want and their concerns

We have also:

  • We led the campaign to clarify childcare expenses within the National Minimum Wage consultation.
  • We advised the Office of the Third Sector on their guidance, published during Volunteers’ Week, CRB checks for volunteers.
  • We have sent a paper to the Office of the Third Sector regarding their proposals for training for volunteer managers.
  • We currently sit on the Commission on the Future of Volunteering Action Group on Skills and Empowerment for Volunteer Managers.
  • We have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Volunteering England that recognises our joint commitment to develop volunteering in England.

International Work

An important part of our work has been working with our international colleagues as we recognise that the basic principles of volunteer management apply across the globe.

Various members of AVM had articles published in the second edition of ‘Volunteer Magnet’ – a global collection of good practice hints and tips.

We have been in close contact with the Australasian Association of Volunteer Administrators, Andy Fryar (Australia), Martin J Cowling (Australia) and Susan Ellis (USA).

We have run workshops in Australia and Russia on volunteer management in this country.

With the sad demise of the Scottish Association of Volunteer Management, we will provide help and support to our Scottish colleagues on helping a new organisation develop.

Raising our Media Profile

Our launch was covered by Third Sector, People Management Today and Charity Times.

We have featured in Third Sector magazine on a number of issues; management of volunteers, training of volunteers, funding of volunteer managers, how to foster volunteering and the new initiative set up by Rockcorps.

Most recently we have featured in the Guardian on the need to increase capacity to support volunteers if organisations wish to recruit more volunteers.

AVM’s first AGM – 23rd September 2008

The Association of Volunteer Managers is holding its first AGM on Tuesday 23rd September at Scope.

The profile of volunteer management has never been as high. Riding on the crest of the volunteering policy agenda, it has its own ‘Action Group’ as part of the Commission on the Future of Volunteering’s continuation work, and the Office of the Third Sector is currently developing its plans for how to spend the £4million it has committed to training volunteer managers and volunteers.

Open to both members and non-members, the AGM will be your chance to hear from both Volunteering England and the Office of the Third Sector on how they see volunteer management developing.

You will also help shape and influence part of the National Support Service to modernise volunteering, funded by CapacityBuilders. This work aims to help organisations engage a greater diversity of volunteers and develop sustainable ways of working. Red Foundation is leading on a strand of work that is exploring new ways to involve and work with volunteers and will be seeking your views on the potential that social networking has in engaging and supporting volunteers and volunteer managers. It is vital that you take this opportunity to influence how this develops.

Speakers:        Justin Davis-Smith, Chief Executive, Volunteering England

John Knights, Head of Volunteering Policy, Office of the Third Sector

Discussion:       The potential social networking has in engaging and encouraging volunteer-led activity led by Red Foundation (Part of Capacitybuilders’ workstream on Modernising Volunteering)

When:              Tuesday, 23rd September 1.45pm – 4.30pm (lunch available from 1.15pm)

Where:             Scope, 6 Market Road, London, N7 9PW

Cost:                Free – travel bursaries will be available to AVM members

Who:                Anybody involved in managing volunteers, both members and non-members of AVM

Places are limited so please confirm your attendance to info@volunteermanagers.org.uk with any access requirements. If you intend to have lunch, please let us know with your dietary requirements.

Sponsored by Red Foundation and the National Support Services partnership

www.redfoundation.org.uk

http://www.improvingsupport.org.uk/volunteering