I have to agree with Kate

Having been one of the few PAID volunteer managers in the museum sector this isn’t actually a bad salary for this position. When I started in the museum sector, having had several years experience of volunteer management for a social care charity, my wage was $19, 632. I worked for a big local authority museum service that had $2000 friends and over 300 volunteers and placements a year, no policies or procedures and I co-ordinates all of them. I thoroughly enjoyed my job, met some great people and worked on some interesting projects but salaries are unfortunately ridiculously low.

This is not to excuse the level of salaries in the museum sector but unfortunately I can’t see things getting better in the near future.

Your comments and feedback have been much appreciated and thank you all for your contributions. The pay is in line with the Museum’s pay scales and other salaries and is also dictated by limits on funding imposed by historic circumstances/central government funding. The application deadline for applications has been extended to Friday 14 December 2016.

Believe it or not

Believe it or not jobs in heritage tend to have even worse pay than jobs in the voluntary sector, in most museums the level of pay is appallingly low given the skills and knowledge needed. It reflects the fact that most entry level museum jobs are hoovered up people with MAs in Museum Studies who are vastly over qualified, but desperate to get a foot in the door. Volunteer management does tend to be scandalously under resourced, but in this case I suspect the wage level isn’t any lower than people with similar levels of responsibility in other departments. A friend of mine even had to take out an online loan with direct deposit here when he urgently needed money to get his broken car fixed.

It reflects low pay across the sector, and the fact that people who are very much not monkeys are willing to work for peanuts!

When I was a student at the Institute of Archaeology we were told that if we went on to become archaeologists then it was highly unlikely we’d ever earn a wage high enough to mean we had to start paying back our student loans. That may be a slight exaggeration, but I don’t think its all that far off the truth!

Happy IVMDay

celebrationDear colleagues,

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all the members of this group a terrific International Volunteer Manager’s Day for 2016.

IVMDay marks an important opportunity for those of us who lead volunteers to find ways to educate others about the all too often under rated role that we play in mobilizing volunteers and making a very real difference in our communities.

I have been thrilled to see the day gain even greater momentum this year and to see the critical work of Volunteer Managers around the globe gain even greater kudos and recognition. Many celebrations took place a day early this year, due to November 5 falling on a weekend, and the reports filtering in from around the world have been very encouraging

So once again – have a great November 5 and never stop finding ways to educate others about the amazing role that leaders of volunteers play all around the world

Best wishes

Volunteer Experience Group

Just wanted to drop a note to the group announcing a new Group I’ve launched with takes a look at the experiences of volunteers and a broader view of experiences of others ‘around’ the volunteer.

I’ve recently left a volunteer center after many years involvement in both paid and unpaid roles stretching back to my first volunteering experience in June 1984. There have been lots of changes since then of course, but one thing I have focussed on in recent years has been what a person can expect from being a volunteer, what volunteering is and means to the person doing it and also how their involvement impacts the organization supporting them and the community(ies) they are in.

I’ve coached/mentored a lot of people during the last 8 years and volunteering has played a really important part in many of their personal development journies, I’m hoping to continue this interest as research in how sector changes happening now will impact the role and value of the volunteer now and into the future.

One key focus of the group is also about the positives of volunteering but also what happens when things go wrong – echoing my past involvement in the Volunteer Rights Inquiry work of Volunteering England.

I’ll make announcements within the group messages from time to time as new topics and information come onstream – so as volunteering develops, so will the forum/group.

Hope I haven’t rambled on too much Rob :o) and group readers – details for joining follow below.

Best energies!

Online volunteer support

Hi all,

I am working on a new project for Family Lives and have been tasked with setting up systems for volunteers to support each other. As there is no budget for peer support it has been suggested that these activities take place online. The volunteers will be supporting families through befriending.

I was wondering if anyone had any experience with online peer support for volunteers? I have a few ideas about setting up a volunteer forum and maybe seeing if we can offer online email mentoring, but am not sure if these peer support models have been used before for volunteer support and if anyone has any ideas about how to moderate and monitor the work?

There are two models of volunteers supporting volunteers online – in a group setting and one-on-one.

The group setting is easiest to set up. Technically, it’s as easy as creating a group on YahooGroups or GoogleGroups. You want the settings such that you (or your designate) approves every person who wants to join the group, and messages can be viewed on the web only by members. What’s nice about YahooGroups is that each member can decide how they want to receive messages for themselves – one might want to receive messages via email while another might want to view messages on the web, while another wants one email a week with all the messages together.

For the group, you need to set the ground rules regarding what information is appropriate to share and what is not (can client names be used, for instance?). You need to be adamant that messages never be forwarded outside of the group and reiterate your current confidentiality policies.

The group will take a lot of facilitating – just as it would if you gathered all the volunteers together once a month for an onsite conversation.

You also need to emphasize to volunteers that their computers need to be password-protected, as they will be talking about clients – they need to prevent family and friends in the household from seeing this information.

A lot of organizations use this model – I can’t count how many I’ve been involved with, as a volunteer or as a volunteer manager. I’d be happy to talk more about what worked and what didn’t in these models.

One-on-one support is more difficult, because you have to be explicit about what the mentoring relationship is and is not. You have to decide if you want every message between volunteers tracked and recorded by you (meaning you will have to set up a communications system to allow this to happen) or if volunteers corresponding back and forth via their own email accounts is acceptable. Harder will be getting the volunteers to share regularly – one-on-one mentoring takes a LOT of cultivation and support, more than I can detail in this post.

Does that start to touch on some of your concerns?

Managing volunteers with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

autisticHi All,

At the National Autistic Society we are always trying to enhance social inclusion for individuals with an ASD including Asperger Syndrome. Volunteering is a crucial part of that; we hope by raising awareness of the condition to Volunteer Managers that this may lead to more individuals with an ASD accessing volunteering.

Thanks to all of those that came to our training session “Managing volunteers with an ASD” course in May. We also delivered a bespoke version of the course to staff at Thames 21 which was thoroughly enjoyable.

The feedback for this course was positive so we have decided to schedule in some “tour” dates. We are hoping by calling it a tour that this will make it seem Rock n Roll and exciting! But hopefully there wont be any TV’s thrown out of hotel windows!

Managing volunteers with an ASD UK TOUR.

The course content includes.

> what are ASDs?
> recruiting a volunteer with an ASD
> effective support strategies
> group discussions based on shared experiences
> case study exercises

15th September Miami
22nd September New York
16th November Los Angeles

Let me know if you would like some more information regarding these training sessions and I can send it through to you.

Session & webinar broadcast

webinarJust a quick post to thank those of you who attended our workshop session ‘Aiming for Excellence: The Future of Professional Development in Volunteer Management’at the EYV11 Road Show event in London last week.

We were delighted with the response and participation from our live audience – especially the very insightful questions that were asked of our panel!

If you signed up to join us via webinar broadcast, we apologize for our loss of feed. Despite lots of effort to pre-check the tech at the venue, it let us down on the day unfortunately. We want to thank you for your patience and reassure you that our next broadcast on December 8th will be coming direct from the Volunteer Centre Warrington ‘cupboard’ again so all communication will be resumed.

And….all is not lost because as I type, we are pulling together a podcast and resources with the fantastic content from our panel; featuring Rob Jackson and Martin Cowling and EYV11 Volunteer Management Champions Carl Cadman and Laura Hamilton. Look out for my blog post later this week via i-volunteer @suevjones for more.

That’s all for now.

Aiming for Excellence – Professional Development in Management

Hi there,

Just following up from my recent posts about our trip to the EYV11 road show in London and the panel discussion session we hosted, focusing on the Future of Professional Development in Volunteer Management.

Here we have created a set of resources using the content from the session, which we hope you will find useful and inspiring.

Go to ivo.org to access them and please do forward the link round your networks, and continue the discussion either via the comments section on i-volunteer or here on UKVPMs. This is a subject which needs much more thought and debate, but hopefully you will agree we have provided a useful starting point from which we can continue to move the profession forward.

Indeed, linking in with this theme is the subject of our next webinar broadcast here at VC Warrington. Please join us on December 8th at 2pm to ensure your views are heard, as we focus on ‘Making a Noise’: What Volunteer Managers need from leaders and decision makers. The session is free and you can sign up via https://www.gotomeeting.com/

We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Inclusive volunteering focus group

Hi all

In 2011, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Scope produced a guide focusing on how to involve young disabled people (aged 16-25) into volunteering programs. This was produced in hard copy format and available on request in other formats. The guide was aimed at volunteer involving organizations.

We are currently looking to update this guide. Early indications are that it would be useful to produce a second guide to volunteering for disabled people.

We would like to invite disabled people (those who have volunteered/currently volunteer/have never volunteered), to a focus group meeting on Friday 18th November 2011 from 11am to 3pm (refreshments provided and agreed travel expenses reimbursed) at Scope Head Office at 6 Market Road, London N7 9PW. People’s views on barriers to volunteering and the information and support they feel they need to both start and continue volunteering will be invaluable in helping us with this guide.

We would be grateful if you could promote this focus group to your volunteers/customers. If you have any queries, or would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact Nicolas Clark (Scope) or Anita Maullin (Leonard Cheshire Disability) contact details below.

Many thanks for your assistance and we look forward to seeing you on Friday 18th November, please RSVP (by Wednesday 16th November).

Including volunteers in key organizational policies

Hi all,

I’m currently writing a strategy for developing a national volunteer program and am advising that where the organization has the same duty of care to paid staff and volunteers, that volunteers are included in organizational policies, such as:

Health and Safety
Safeguarding vulnerable Adults

Just wondered what everyone else does? do you include volunteers in any other organizational policies, or do you keep your volunteers policies separate?

Thanks!

Hi Ally,

In general terms we would suggest

Volunteers are included in the organizations Health and Safety Policy Equal Opportunities and/or Diversity Policy Safeguarding policies (where organizations require them)

We also encourage organizations to have a separate Problem Solving Policy for volunteers, that is separate and different to the Staff Grievance procedure.

Please do let me know if you would be interested in the Volunteer Management Charter and Health Check- which covers the above. We also have the option for groups to self assess and get a generic action plan by doing it online at www.surveymonkey.com

We generally include volunteers with staff in the policies, however like Jennifer we have a Complaints Procedure that is separate and different from the staff grievance procedure. Also, the staff disciplinary procedure isn’t appropriate for volunteers; so we have a procedure which sets out the action which will be taken in the event of misconduct, unacceptable behavior or persistent unsatisfactory performance by a volunteer.

In some cases where there are small differences between what is right for volunteers and what is right for staff, we cover them under a single policy but mention in it the differences. For example our Expenses Policy provides that Personnel traveling as part of their Impetus volunteering or duties may claim reimbursement of their travel expenses, except that employees may not claim for travel to or from their normal place of work. Also, a volunteer working away from home for more than four hours in a day or who is required to work across a lunch or dinner period may claim the cost of food up to £5 if food has not been provided.

All the best.

Health / Medical Questionnaires for Volunteers

I have recently been approached by a group wishing to clarify the position regarding health questionnaires and volunteers. Staff at the project currently need to complete one, but should volunteers?

Could anyone clarify if completing a questionnaire is/is not appropriate please? If so, should it be the same form as paid staff or a different one?

Many thanks

I was concerned to read this email about volunteers and medical questionnaires. I thought I remembered such a topic being discussed by the group a few years ago?

Surely what is relevant to a volunteer and his or her volunteering placement is whether he / she has a medical or health problem that might be affected by the volunteering activity? A full medical questionnaire could be taken to be intrusive (and a real barrier to volunteering) unless there is a real ‘need to know’.

It all comes down to having a duty of care to the volunteer to ensure that he or she isn’t adversely affected by any volunteering activity he or she is doing. This is really basic volunteer care and any risks should be pinpointed by a proper risk assessment of activities. I use examples of matching a volunteer befriender with chest problems/ asthma with a client who smokes heavily or has a houseful of furry pets Or/ having a volunteer with heart or back problems involved in activities such as moving furniture or visiting a client who lives several floors up a housing block Or/ having volunteers deal with stressful placement that could affect the volunteer without arranging for regular, specialist support.

When arranging a suitable placement, one method that I’ve used for ages is enquiring if the volunteer has a health problem that a project needs to be made aware of. This could be a volunteer who has epilepsy, or needs regular medication or be diabetic and need breaks to eat or inject insulin etc. This can then alert the project that should anyone be taken ill, they are aware of the condition and take suitable steps – including knowing who to contact on the volunteer’s behalf e.g. family member, partner, GP etc.

It’s useful for everyone if a project asks volunteers to fill in an ICE (In Case of Emergency”) form completed for each volunteer which is kept at their place of volunteering that’s updated as and when necessary. But a full medical questionnaire?