The Jewish Volunteering Network held its annual conference focusing on ‘Strength in Unity – Building a Volunteering Culture’ with eighty-five delegates, including CEOs and Volunteer Managers from 44 charities. This year’s conference looked at volunteer time pressures and skills potentially hindering an ability to engage in traditional volunteering.

Nicky Goldman, Chief Executive of JVN, explained: “With many charities facing similar issues, they must always evaluate why they need volunteers. If volunteers are asking for more skills-based, time-flexible opportunities, charities must understand how they can create roles that not only support this need but also enable the charity to deliver on its mission, while ensuring meaningful volunteer engagement.”

Keynote speaker Stuart Andrew MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Gambling, and Civil Society, spoke about different programs and research the Government supports to enhance volunteering. Dr. Allison Smith, Head of Research & Insight at the Royal Voluntary Service, addressed the future of volunteering. She said: “We are stronger and more impactful when we work together. The conference is a great way of meeting others with a passion for volunteering.”

Dominic Pinkney, CEO at HFVC Group & Camden Volunteer Centre and Co-Chair London Volunteer Centre Network, spoke about supporting volunteers and volunteer managers. He noted: “This has been a great conference for charities to learn and share how to make changes and adapt to this new culture. With limited resources, it is not easy to do but I have seen charities make changes and increase their levels of volunteer involvement and support.”

Participants split into four workshops. Diana Squires, Pilotlight, shared how they use skills-based volunteering to bring charities and corporates together to create strategies to resolve issues facing the charities. Brian Channer, Black Policy Institute, held a session about how charities need to offer more diversity in volunteering opportunities, how to engage with volunteers, and measure volunteer impact. George Fielding spoke about accessibility and creating inclusive spaces. He discussed how each person will bring different strengths to the charity. Kirsty Marrins, a digital communications strategist, focused on communications channels.

The conference showed that charities must be creative and strategic to engage people to volunteer. Charities must build new networks.

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