Unsung, not anymore: training for volunteer managers

Earlier in the year, when NCVO asked how we could support volunteer managers and those leading volunteers, they told us, ‘more training’. And in response to the survey we’ll be running four events during November and December. You’ll find more information about these below.

Involving young volunteers also emerged as an area in which volunteer managers would like support. We will be exploring this in more depth in our online discussion group on NCVO’s knowledge sharing website, Knowhow, in the coming months.

Responding to the call

The volunteering team has been looking at what support we offer volunteer-involving and volunteer-led organisations. Insights from our survey helped to develop training courses designed to support those who:

  • directly manage volunteers
  • are involved in developing strategies to engage volunteers
  • want to integrate volunteering into a wider organisational or business framework.

The events will explore how we assess the impact of volunteers, best practice in management, micro-volunteering and legal issues, and more dates are planned for next year.

Valuing volunteer managers

Although volunteer management is a growing profession, it remains largely undervalued. Our leadership role in the sector will help to make the case for the importance of volunteer managers. It will also help the professional standards of the work to be viewed in a similar light to those for funding and policy.


By bringing together volunteer managers from across sectors, we’ll be in a better position to listen to what life is like for them because we want to continue to provide a voice for the people who, every day, find ways to bring out the best in others.

And this listening exercise will also enable us to promote dialogue across sectors about the role of volunteers.

Why we do what we do

Strategic, as well as practical reasons, informed the team’s decision to host training courses. Volunteering is integral to two aims of NCVO’s current strategy.

“Aim 1. We will champion volunteering and the voluntary sector
Aim 3. We will grow and enhance volunteering wherever it takes place.”

Providing a platform

NCVO, as the national champion, and voice for, volunteering in England, already supports organisations with:

  • advice, guidance and case studies, via telephone and our Knowhow website
  • policy updates through our monthly volunteering round-up
  • Investing in Volunteers (IiV), our national quality standard
  • strategic support to local volunteer centres
  • our annual awareness-raising campaign, Volunteers’ Week, held every June
  • three free, cross-sector national volunteering forums each year.

Understanding what you want

Most popular on the Knowhow volunteering pages is the practical advice. On average, the volunteering and development team receives 51 enquiries per month and 63 per cent of those received during June to September were in the category of, ‘I want to volunteer’. A further 12 per cent were from organisations seeking to recruit volunteers.

We signpost those making enquiries to their local volunteer centre. A high proportion, 25 per cent, are from those particularly concerned with volunteer management in relation to the law. Callers are interested in everything from volunteer eligibility to insurance and safeguarding.

Creating strong teams that successfully integrate volunteering into how they deliver their mission is also of importance to organisations.

At our heart

Our commitment to putting volunteering at the heart of what we do continues. Including volunteer management training in NCVO’s portfolio of events is another way to make the role more visible and raise its profile – and to recognise those coordinating the volunteers who add value and make a distinct contribution to how organisations deliver their mission and services.

Our courses

Bookings are open for:

Safeguarding for volunteer managers at Voluntary Action Islington, Central London on 29 June
Influencing for volunteer managers at Voluntary Action Islington on 14 June
Assessing the impact of your volunteers at Voluntary Action Islington on 11 July
Good Practice in Volunteer Management at Voluntary Action Islington on 18 July

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to be notified of dates in 2016, or have questions about the events above, email Jarina, NCVO’s volunteering and consultancy development officer.

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Avatar photo Jarina is our volunteering development consultancy officer. Jarina develops consultancy and training services with the aim of improving volunteering practice across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

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