Our Volunteer Coordinator Support Network recently explored The Vision for Volunteering during an information and networking event at Voluntary Action Coventry.
The Vision for Volunteering provides a framework for improving the volunteering landscape over the next 10 years, and is a response to the changing volunteering environment, volunteer expectations and experiences.
The Vision creates opportunity for VCSE organisations to rethink how they work, share power and practise meaningful inclusivity with volunteers.
It is a movement, rather than a plan or strategy, and our response will vary depending on our locality voluntary sector’s unique organisational needs and capabilities. In Coventry, we can learn from national data, the volunteering climate in our own City and start by making small changes with a focus on evolution, rather than revolution – with a view to making volunteering appealing, accessible and meaningful for anyone who wants to offer us their support.
- Awareness and appreciation so that volunteering becomes part of everyday life at all stages of life and is seen as important and enriching. Volunteers can decide when and how to engage rather than completing a prescribed task and are involved in the design and leadership of the activity they are contributing to.
- Power is needed for volunteers and communities to build the future they want. Enabling all who want to volunteer to do so, valuing experience, creating flexibility, asking who is missing or excluded, and creating the conditions for communities to take decisions for themselves. Those supporting volunteering need to treat volunteers as equals, be accountable to them and support emerging ideas even if disruptive of the status quo.
- Equity and inclusion mean that the benefits of volunteering are equally distributed, with inclusive cultures fostered. Listening to excluded groups to break down barriers and making it easy for people to give their time and energy to the causes they care about.
- Collaboration should be a natural part of voluntary activity. Volunteering must move on from being purely a transactional relationship focused on task or service delivery, to one that is adaptable to expertise, interest, and capacity of volunteers. A future where people do great things together because they want to.
- Experimentation is to be encouraged as part of everyday volunteering, being able to be creative and ask questions about what needs to change. Creating a learning culture, one that is less fearful of developing innovative solutions to engaging and supporting volunteers.
The Vision for Volunteering team have a series of online conferences planned to explore the individual themes in more detail, starting with Awareness and Appreciation on 11 January. Register to attend here:
Our Volunteer Coordinator Support Network is a VCSE Alliance member support service. We offer regular opportunity to gain advice and feedback, network with peers, and connect with others across the city with volunteer management responsibility. Read more and get involved here: