If you’ve never heard of International Volunteer Managers Day, it’s a celebration of the profession of volunteer leadership.
When I took on a Volunteer Coordinator role at Humankind over ten years ago, I often felt like I was working alone. Now, there is easy access to a diverse network of people locally, nationally and internationally who are directly or indirectly involved with volunteers and willing to talk, share and learn.
In line with this year’s theme, ‘Helping others help’, the focus of our volunteering team is to enable people to make a difference to themselves and others.
“I really enjoyed my time volunteering. All staff were extremely helpful and kind. Being a volunteer, my confidence has grown significantly, and I have found the experience very rewarding.” – a Humankind volunteer
Many of us across Humankind have had our own experience of volunteering. At one point I was doing five voluntary roles for various organisations, on top of my position here, and I really wouldn’t recommend that! But when I took a step back and focussed on one role that really filled my heart with joy, I knew that’s where I wanted to invest my personal time.
That’s what our volunteers are doing: investing their time, and we need to ensure that they benefit from that precious investment. My volunteering experiences have guided me in my role as Head of Volunteering, to continually listen to volunteers and develop our offer, so that we can ‘help others help’.
So far this year, 78% of volunteers said that their main motivation to start volunteering with us was ‘to help others’. For them to achieve this, we need people who can support and mentor them along the way.
We asked colleagues in our Volunteering team to nominate people across Humankind who they saw as real ambassadors for volunteering. You can read how they feel about this nomination, and volunteering, below.
Ann Hall, Head of Volunteering
Since being with Humankind I have supported many volunteers through our service. They have enriched the Greens and its residents so much, and many projects would never have got off the ground if it were not for their support. Many of our volunteers bring their own lived experience and are looking at giving back now they are in a better place. I feel so lucky to be able to give them this chance and see them flourish. I always have time and space for volunteers and thank them all for selflessly giving their time to us.
Louise Morley – The Greens
I just want to say that working in my role has been extremely challenging at times. But I must say this has been the most rewarding role I have ever had. To work within the team here at Enable in Enfield is a joy, where we work so well together to support people and volunteers.
To see them change and grow is a privilege that I get to witness daily. The dedication and commitment of my volunteers and peer mentors is truly inspiring and I look forward to coming to work, which is not something that I have experienced in any role previously!
Mark Owen – Enable
Volunteering is something that is close to my heart, having started out as a volunteer myself 22 years ago.
I am now in the fortunate position of working with volunteers daily. I line manage the Ambassador, Apprentice and Volunteer Lead within CDDARS, and I have the pleasure of interviewing candidates for our Ambassador Programme, as well as celebrating with them at their graduations.
Volunteers bring so much to our service, supporting people and our colleagues, as valued members of our team. I truly believe we would not be as successful a service without their support.
Vicky Haughey – County Durham Drug & Alcohol Recovery Service (CDDARS)
I truly value the work of volunteers and I always try to encourage the wider team to recruit and support them. I started in this sector as a volunteer.
Volunteering helped me realise the type of work we do in this sector was something I wanted to pursue as a longer-term career. My next opportunity took me to London as a Criminal Justice Worker for a drug and alcohol charity in Hackney. That experience after my studies provided me with the skills, experience and knowledge that I needed to apply for roles.
I like to see us recruit more volunteers in Forward Leeds to help people access opportunities to guide their future career choices. The volunteers are an added value to any service and a real bonus, more than they may realise. They can support the team around them, become part of the team and be part of our wider succession planning strategy. It’s a win for everyone. I love to hear about volunteers who have secured a permanent role with us and see them flourish and progress. It’s exciting to see all the different passions they bring and the added value they contribute to our service delivery.
Helen Cook – Forward Leeds
Although my role within the Community Development Team is mostly administrative, in my two years of involvement with Flourish in Nature, I have been the main contact for most of the people we support who have gone on to become Activity Lead Volunteers for Flourish in Nature.
The role of Activity Lead is so important to the continuation of Flourish in Nature, as we provide training to enable these Volunteers to lead groups in outdoor and sports activities, which we could not possibly provide without them.
They are the backbone of Flourish in Nature and an important part of people’s recovery. All our Activity Leads have provided positive feedback about the opportunities they have been involved in and have enjoyed their journey with Flourish in Nature, which I always find so gratifying.
Lynne Cirasuolo – Together, Devon