Volunteers' Week 2023: A moment to thank volunteer coordinators

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Volunteer Organisers' Forum
26 May, 2023

As we go into #volunteersweek we wanted to take a moment to say a huge THANK YOU to all volunteer coordinators across the city! Many volunteer coordinators are volunteers themselves (if involved in an entirely volunteer-run organisation), and some voluntarily take on additional responsibilities to go the extra mile (more about some of these people later), and all help ensure volunteering in Bristol is the powerhouse of volunteering that it is. 

‘Being a volunteer organiser is a full-on job. You’re continually juggling an organisation’s wants, needs and motivations with the wants, needs and motivations of a diverse range of volunteers, who are giving up an often limited, and always valuable, resource - time. Whether your organisation is big, or tiny, budgets remain tight yet somehow meaningful ‘work’, that changes lives, continues to happen. That work often would not happen, or at least not happen as regularly, effectively, safely and to scale, without some volunteer organising happening somewhere. We particularly want to thank seven specific volunteer coordinators who set up and organise VOF, to help ensure volunteer organisers are supported, have opportunities for professional development and are connected to their volunteer managing peers. ’ - Sarah Hickie, VCSE Development Advisor and former volunteer coordinator. 

If you are working in Bristol as a volunteer manager, coordinator, organiser - or someone-who-has-something-to-do-with your organisations’ volunteers it’s quite possible you’ve benefitted from attending a ‘VOF’, also known as the ‘Volunteer Organisers' Forum, but, who exactly is behind VOF? 

Calling themselves the volunteer organisers of the volunteer organisers’ forum (got that?) Nia, John, Hannah, Molly, Francesca, Frances, Sarah and Lisa are the team behind all things VOF. This includes the very popular, quarterly, in person, VOFs, taking place across the city out at community venues, and a new online space for volunteer coordinators to ask and answer questions, and work together to share tips, tricks, knowledge and moral support. An online, ongoing, VOF, if you will. 

In person VOFs are themed, and past topics discussed have included: social prescribing and volunteering; a community engagement approach to volunteer recruitment; supporting neurodiverse volunteers; rewarding and recognising volunteers; service user to volunteer pathways; digital inclusion; pro-bono volunteering and lot of others! There are talks, presentations, breakout sessions and time for  networking. ‘It’s amazing to see a big, enthusiastic group of volunteer organisers, often 50 at a time, in a room, chatting about the things that matter to them and their roles. Supporting each other and collectively working to make volunteering even better, and more sustainable, back at their organisations.’ - Sarah  

If you’re a volunteer organiser who’d like to join the VOF you can... 

Sign up to the VOF mailing list: VOF Bristol (list-manage.com) 

Find the in person events on eventbrite: Bristol Volunteer Organisers’ Forum Events | Eventbrite 

Join the online VOF: Link coming soon!