5 November – International Volunteer Managers’ Day
Today is the 5th November. It’s also International Volunteer Manager’s Day, and we would like to spend some time this morning saying a big ‘thank you’ to all the people who manage and coordinate volunteers in Hackney.
During the first year of the pandemic, in Hackney the number of volunteers increased by 350% in comparison to the previous year. These volunteers were able to achieve an incredible amount supporting their local communities. But these achievements were also made possible by those managing and coordinating the volunteer response, from the delivery of essentials such as food and prescriptions, to stewarding local vaccination centres and offering befriending services to vulnerable and shielding people. This meant a considerable additional amount of work for some volunteer managers and coordinators compared to the previous period.
Another challenge for some volunteer managers was that they were not always able to continue with existing volunteering programme and had to put everything on hold until restrictions were lifted. Others had to significantly adapt their volunteering programmes to adhere with government guidelines, such as moving activities and events online.
The point is, volunteers are often able to have such a profound impact thanks to the planning and coordination of a volunteer manager or coordinator behind the scenes. Tasks are varied, from planning the volunteer programme for their organisation or group, recruiting and training volunteers, to ensuring volunteers have a positive experience. And not all are paid for their work: in many small organisations volunteer managers might be volunteers themselves.
Ongoing support for volunteer managers
At Volunteer Centre Hackney (VCH) we offer support to anyone who supports volunteers in a Hackney based group or organisation and we organise many networking opportunities to help with peer-to-peer learning. Please get in touch if this would help you in your work. Our new Best Practice toolkit page will be launched very soon and we hope these resources will help with supporting all involved in volunteer management in the borough.
One of the volunteer managers we work with has found VCH “tremendously important for recruiting volunteers. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for VCH. VCH is a brilliant place to go to if you need volunteers – and great volunteers too!”
Another colleague told us they would recommend VCH to another organisation because of our “hugely friendly and knowledgeable staff, great advice of for being completely trustworthy. Anyone in Hackney in need of volunteers asking for help from VCH can rest assured that they are in safe hands”.
So from us at Volunteer Centre Hackney, plus no doubt the thousands of dedicated volunteers across Hackney, a big thank you to all volunteer managers for your valuable contributions to our community both on this special day and throughout the year.