AVM Grows Its Voice With New Chair and Five New Board Members

At this week’s AGM the Association of Volunteer Managers welcomed a new chair and five new members of the board, as the organisation looked to grow its voice for the volunteer management profession.

Founding member Debbie Usiskin stood down from both the position of chair and the board after ten years, and announced her successor as Ruth Leonard.

Ruth’s first task after the announcement was to share the results of the board elections, where successful candidates Jo Gibney, Daniel Ingram and Karen Ramnauth were all appointed to three-year terms on the board. While four board places were being contested, following a draw for fourth place the AGM resolved to appoint the two drawing candidates Angela Wilson and Rachel Ball to two year terms as directors.

Ruth said: “We’d like to wish a heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Debbie Usiskin who stood down from the role of Chair of the Board at our AGM. Debbie has given an immense amount of time and commitment to AVM since our official launch and before. At the launch event 10 years ago she described ‘managing volunteers as becoming like juggling, but harder’ and it seems as if expectations are even greater on those who involve and work with volunteers today. Debbie will continue to be a great advocate of AVM and as with all our members will have a powerful part to play in the future.”

Debbie Usiskin was part of the team that conceived and founded AVM, along with John Ramsey, and served as Vice Chair from its formal registration in 2007 until taking on the role of chair two years ago. Her successor Ruth has a track record of senior level volunteer engagement and currently works as Macmillan Cancer Support’s Head of Volunteering.

The newly-elected directors help grow the varied skills and perspectives on the board, coming from an array of organisation types and management levels. Jo Gibney comes from The British Legion’s Volunteer Support Unit and holds an ILM Level 5 in Volunteer Management, Daniel Ingram comes from the animal charity Wood Green, and Karen Ramnauth brings legal training and the perspective of volunteer engagement within the NHS to the board for the first time.

In addition to Debbie, the AGM saw board members Karen Janes and Bryan Precious retire from the board, after two and three-years respectively.

On taking up the position of chair, Ruth reflected that, “We as the Board need to remember advice from the launch event’s facilitator that we need to allow AVM to grow in line with members’ wishes and as members – this is your association so you have a responsibility to help it grow – it shouldn’t be done solely by the Directors.”

In addition to Ruth and new directors Jo, Daniel, Karen, Angela and Rachel, the board of AVM currently consists of Treasurer Patrick Daniels, Chris Reed, Fiona Wallace, Rachael Bayley and Vice-Chair A.S. Maini.

Last few places available for AVM 2017: The Annual Conference. Bookings will close this week.

We’re pleased to announce that bookings for AVM 2017: The Annual Conference are at an all time high.

Book your place now.

As an AVM member you already receive a 50% discount on your conference booking but why not enjoy more with the early bird discount. We only have a limited number of these tickets available.

As a non-member you can still enjoy early bird discount, but we only have a limited number of these tickets available.

Don’t leave it too long to book your place and why would you want to when you see what a fantastic line-up we have planned:

Keynote speakers this year are:
Julie Bentley, CEO of Girlguiding
Vicky Browning, CEO of Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations
James Probert, Director of Strategy and Impact, City Year UK

Seminars this year include:
• Change is not a journey
• Measuring Impact
• Using data and benchmarks to drive volunteering up the agenda
• Embracing the age of opportunity – involving younger and older volunteers
• Corporate volunteering from the third sector perspective
• Creativity and meaning in volunteer reward and recognition
• Influential Leadership: Gaining Commitment, Getting Results
• GIVERS – Nudging People to Volunteer

You shouldn’t just hear it from us how great the conference is. Carly Benton, Volunteer Development Officer at Crohn’s and Colitis UK, shares her experience of being a first-timer at the AVM Conference in 2016 and why you shouldn’t miss out:

“For me there is nothing more valuable than meeting like-minded peers to challenge my thinking.  There will always be areas for improvement and barriers to overcome in the world of volunteering. This is why the AVM Conference is the perfect place for volunteer managers to come together with a shared understanding, to not only to develop your skillset and keep up to date with current trends, but also to reassure you you’re not in it alone!”

We look forward to seeing you at the Volunteer Management event of the year!

AVM Conference Team

Presentations from AVM2016, The National Conference

The following is an overview of the content from AVM2016, The National Conference:

Keynote: How volunteering will continue to fit in with the future strategy of NCVO

Karl Wilding – Director of Public Policy and Volunteering at NCVO

Karl’s Presentation on SlideShare

Keynote: 10 ideas for volunteer managers from the corporate world

Joe Saxton – Driver of Ideas at nfpSynergy and its founder

Joe’s Presentation on SlideShare

Workshop A – Great Scott! – Future Trends & Issues in Volunteer Management

Rob Jackson – Rob Jackson Consulting

Rob’s Presentation on SlideShare

Workshop B – Volunteers and The Law – What Do I Need to Know?

Mark Restall – Author of Volunteers and the Law, trainer, writer and consultant

Mark’s Presentation on SlideShare

Workshop C – DeMontfort University And National Trust Research

Professor Anne-Marie Greene – De Montfort University

Annabel Smith – National Trust

Anne-Marie and Annabel’s Presentation on SlideShare

Workshop D – Measuring Volunteer Impact

Joanna Stuart – Senior Research Officer at NCVO Institute for Volunteering Research

Joanna’s Presentation on Slideshare

Workshop E – Volunteering & Digital Media

David Hunt – Digital Manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability

David’s Presentation on SlideShare

Workshop F – Volunteers And The Law – Ask Me Anything!

Mark Restall – Author of Volunteers and the Law, trainer, writer and consultant

Mark’s Presentation on SlideShare

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 Conference 2015 – slides

The following is an overview of the AVM Conference Programme 2015 (PDF):

Tweets from delegates at the AVM Conference 2015 #AVM15

An age of opportunity for volunteer managers and the sector

Lynne Berry – Chair, Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing

Lynne Berry – slides

Harnessing the voice of the volunteer

Oonagh Aitken – CEO, Volunteering Matters

Oonagh Aitken – slides

Workshop A – Accessibility in action: sharing good practice on involving volunteers with disabilities

Anne-Marie Zaritsky – Mencap

Emily Hughes – Parkinson’s

A – Accessibility – slides

Workshop B – Securing board and CEO engagement and approval for your volunteering strategy

Chris Reed – Barnado’s

B – CEO engagement – slides

B – Engagement strategy

Workshop C – Grow your charity online – how your organisation can grow it’s online reach

Naomi Sesay – The Media Trust

Slides coming

Workshop D – Volunteer management: the essentials

Sheila Norris – Camden Volunteer Centre

Evelyn Rodrigues – Tower Hamlets Volunteer Centre

D – Vol Man Essentials – slides

Workshop E – Engaging student volunteers

Rosie Hunnam – NUS

Tony Payne – Student Volunteering Network and Canterbury College Students’ Union

E – Engaging student vols – slides

Workshop F – Strategic volunteering that pays – a new approach to employer supported volunteering for charities

Sophie Martin – Age UK

F – Employer supported vol – slides

Book now for our 2013 conference – Finding Our Voice!

“Finding Our Voice!” is the title of our conference for 2013.

Why not join volunteer managers from across the country at this exciting conference in London on the 23rd October.

For details of the conference programme, speakers and to book your place go to http://avm2013conference.eventbrite.co.uk

I look forward to seeing you there on the 23rd October.

Thoughtful Thursday – Find your voice: joining your national professional association

I have been working with volunteers for over 30 years and currently I am Director of Member Involvement and Volunteering for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. My background is in volunteer management, psychology and adult education. It’s an exciting time to be working in volunteer management. Of course there are lots of challenges and changes happening within organisations and across the volunteering sector. However, more than ever, we are beginning to understand the importance and value of the role carried out by those of you who lead, manage, co-ordinate and involve volunteers.

The level of participation and interest in Thoughtful Thursdays demonstrates the need for managers of volunteers to have a voice and a platform for networking and discussion. And there are of course other on-line forums and groups for us to connect to. These are all valuable ways in which we can find our individual and collective voice so we can educate and influence others about the work that we do. What you may not be aware of, is that we also have a national professional association that you can join – the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM).

Finding my voice and taking on the role of AVM Chairman

Two years ago I saw that AVM was looking for new Board members. I wasn’t sure what I could offer to the Board or even if I was the sort of person they were looking for. I talked to the then Chairman, Sean Cobley, to find out more. With trepidation I put myself forward and to my surprise was voted onto the Board! Then in October last year I took on the role of Chairman, and we decided it was time for the Board to take a step back to look at what the Association should be and how it can work to support and professionalise volunteer managers. My aim and the aim of AVM is to enable volunteer management to be accepted as a profession, similar to that of Fundraising and Accountancy. I believe one way to do this is to bring together those who can influence and those who have a strong interest in helping to develop this ambition. In order to realise this ambition, we need you. We need your suggestions, support and active involvement to ensure volunteer management is treated as a profession. Today’s post is about how you can find your voice – speak with and join AVM.

What does the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) do for you?

Now this might be the first you’ve heard of AVM. Or, perhaps you’ve been a member in the past and even attended some of our events, but you might be wondering what’s been happening over the last several months. Well, since the end of last year the AVM Board has seen changes in personnel and roles. We appreciate we have not been able to be as visible as we would have liked to be during this time, but we continued to work on your behalf by talking with various organisations and attending events to help raise the profile of volunteer management.

You may not be aware that AVM maintains working relationships with a range of organisations including NCVO, NNVIA and IVO as well as contributing to UKVPM’s and other online discussions. During Volunteers’ Week, AVM also blogged about the contributions made by the thousands of people who lead or organise volunteering.

Getting involved

There are various ways you can connect with and get involved with AVM developments:


One of our main focus areas for the coming months will be our website. We’re really interested to know how we can improve it in order to better support our members, so if you have suggestions about what you would like to see on the website please let us know http://www.volunteermanagers.org.uk

AVM Membership

It stands to reason that the more members we have, the louder our voice when we are representing volunteer managers in discussions with organisations, companies, politicians etc. AVM provides a voice for volunteer managers regardless of the sector they operate in, the size of the organisation concerned or whether they are paid or unpaid, full time or cover volunteer management as part of their role. We do hope that you will continue to grow the Association of Volunteer Mangers and add your voice as we continue to raise the profile of Volunteer Managers as a profession.

We recently appointed, Yvonne, to help get the membership administration running smoothly. If you would like to join AVM please e-mail yvonne.baxter@volunteermanagers.co.uk

Annual Conference – Finding our Voice

The return of our annual conference especially for managers of volunteers will provide an opportunity for us to gather together as a profession and to collectively find our voice. It is also a great reason to spend some quality time on your personal development and to network with your volunteer management colleagues and peers.

Booking details to be announced shortly via our website, through ivo, VMmovement & UKVPMS etc. so watch out for details. In the meantime, please do save the date: Wednesday October 23rd Venue: Regus London City Point, 1 Ropemaker Street, London EC2Y 9HT

Joining the AVM Board

We are a volunteer-led group and are currently looking for new Directors to join us on the board. If you are interested to find out more – please do contact me via heather.baumohl@volunteermanagers.co.uk. If you’re not sure about being a Director, but you are interested to get involved in some other way, then we’d also love to hear from you.

And, this being Thoughtful Thursday – I have some questions for you to consider and to enable you to get involved in AVM. We’re really interested to know:

How can AVM best represent you in your role?

What do you think needs to happen in order for Volunteer Management to become a more recognised profession?

How might you find your own voice as a manager of volunteers?

Please do add your thoughts below the blog here, or via twitter using the hashtag #ttvolmgrs

Stand up and be proud, speak out and tell people what you are doing as a volunteer manager and what your role enables. Tell your story by using social media.

I hope to see you at the AVM annual conference please ‘find your voice’ and come and speak with me or one of the other AVM Board Directors.


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