Getting Unstuck: Learning to Unlearn

An AVM Masterclass, with Lucy Gower

Are you having the same conversation over and over again about volunteer management, but don’t feel you are getting anywhere? Do you feel like you’re dealing with the same issues year on year, and job to job? In this online masterclass, you’ll learn to unlearn your assumptions and explore techniques to help you get unstuck, so you can move forward positively.

In the first part of the masterclass with Lucy Gower, an innovation pioneer from the world of fundraising, will share universal techniques to help us unlearn what we think we should do. In the second part, you will work in small groups on particular challenges where you’re currently feeling stuck, applying the techniques you’ve learnt to your volunteering contexts.

In this masterclass you will:

  • Discover techniques to get to the root of an issue
  • Learn how to analyse and challenge your own assumptions
  • Explore ways to unlearn assumptions and thinking patterns
  • In small groups, share with your peers your challenge, and practice some of the techniques you have learned today
  • Have opportunities to network with other volunteer managers.

Why not come with a colleague, so both of you can take your learning back to your organisation, and start to get your organisation unstuck? It’s the power of two.

This event will take place online, on Zoom.


Time Activity
09:45 Pre-event networking
10:00 Housekeeping, introduction and introduction to action learning sets
10:15 ‘Getting Unstuck: Learning to Unlearn’
Lucy Gower will share techniques to help us unlearn and challenge our assumptions.
10:45 Q&A
11:00 Break
11:10 Action Learning Sets
In small, share with your peers your challenge, and practice some of the techniques you have learned today.
11:50 Feedback
12:00 Event ends

You can pay by credit card or request an invoice at the checkout.

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About Lucy Gower

Lucy Gower is founder and director at Lucidity. She is a coach, trainer and facilitator specialising in giving people the confidence and tools to think creatively, get unstuck, develop new ideas and make their innovations happen. She is bestselling author of The Innovation Workout and a global speaker on innovation. Lucy is passionate about helping people get unstuck, unlock their creativity and get the important work done. She enjoys working on projects with the potential to make a positive impact on the world.

Lucy was the first Innovation Manager at the NSPCC, where she helped teams to think creatively and support them to turn their good ideas into action.

Lucy is also founder of the Lucidity Network, which she set up to to help leaders, teams and organisations have the confidence to think clearly and get powerful results.

Lucy lives in Devon, and is PA to Gary Gower, a Wire Fox Terrier.

Claim your membership discount on your ticket

AVM members are eligible for a discount on their ticket, as well as other benefits, including our mentoring programme, BiteSize learning webcasts, networking opportunities, AVM’s new book club, and access to videos and presentations from past AVM events.

Not an AVM member yet? You can still buy a member rate ticket if your membership application is being processed: just select ‘Applied’ in the event checkout field. Find out more about AVM membership and join today.

Waiting list

Places are limited to ensure delegates are able to interact during the event. If the event is sold out, you can join the waiting list and we will be in touch if a place becomes available.

Terms and conditions of ticket sales

You can pay by credit card or request an invoice at the checkout.

Please familiarise yourselves with our cancellation policy, and payment terms below. We do require payment to be made before the event.

Buy tickets for Getting Unstuck: Learning to Unlearn. An AVM Masterclass

My experience of the AVM Back to School Event

Having worked with volunteers for the past four years, I was long overdue attending an AVM event! Although I have been to various other volunteer manager meetings, I was very excited to attend the AVM Back to School event in September.

I had been in my new role at NCT for just three weeks, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn, feel inspired, and come away with plenty of new ideas. It was also quite an intimidating prospect; but my fears were quickly assuaged by the group of friendly people that I met on arriving at the London School of Economics meeting space.

One of the main reasons I love working with volunteers is personal relationships. This is something emphasised by Mariana Rocha and David Coles (Volunteering & Civic Engagement Manager at the University of West London and Volunteer Centre Manager at LSE respectively). They spoke about how the key to volunteer motivation and retention is spending time on the ground with volunteers, recognition of their achievement, and personalising communication – talking to volunteers about themselves and their interests, not just their volunteering! As someone who loves a natter over a cup of tea and biscuits, general chit-chat is something I often try to incorporate into my communications with volunteers.

Our next speaker, Lauren Hogan, Volunteering Projects Officer at Turn2us, gave me lots of food for thought about using the wealth of ‘lived experience’ that our volunteers at NCT have. Celebrating lived experience and knowledge means you are able to offer consumers a more authentic and relatable service, which is invaluable!

Next up was Sarah Latto, Volunteer Development Manager at Shelter Scotland. I found her talk absolutely inspiring. The way Shelter involves volunteers in their decision making is such an incredible demonstration of inclusivity and valuing volunteer input. A really interesting idea that I took away for the day was removing as many barriers as possible to volunteering with your organisation. Are reference checks essential? Do volunteers have to complete an application form, or could a phone call do the job? Making small changes could open up your volunteering opportunities to a whole new community that you weren’t previously able to reach.

At NCT, we meet a similar challenge to many other organisations, which is building up these personal relationships when you’re working with a team of thousands of volunteers! Melanie Merrill, Volunteering Programme Manager for Quality at Macmillan Cancer Support, stressed the importance of creating a high quality volunteering experience, which comes from having meaningful interaction and support from the organisation. I felt inspired to continue making sure that every interaction I have with a volunteer has a personal touch, and doesn’t feel like a corporate or formal interaction. Knowing that you’ve helped a volunteer to feel supported or to carry out their role more confidently makes it all worthwhile!

One final thing I took away that I’d like to share is this quote – “feeling connected lies at the core of the volunteer journey”, ‘Time Well Spent’, NCVO, 2019

Emily Poulter is Volunteer Support Officer at National Childbirth Trust, working in Bristol to support the large team of volunteers at NCT, who support parents across the UK.  Previous to her role with NCT, Emily supervised the Visitor Experience Volunteers at the SS Great Britain, as well as helping to oversee the volunteering programme.  Like many volunteer managers, Emily stumbled upon a job which involved working with volunteers, whilst searching for jobs within the heritage sector following her History degree. She soon realised that volunteer management was where she wanted to be.