Volunteer managers feel work goes unrecognised

Most volunteer managers feel they don't receive enough recognition for their work and lack the opportunity for career development, according to new research.

The survey of 200 volunteer managers from around the UK by the Association of Volunteer Managers is published today to coincide with Volunteer Manager Appreciation Day.

Whereas 69 per cent say their line managers understand the challenges they face, 57 per cent say their roles have a low status. Fifty-four per cent feel the element of their jobs that entails managing volunteers is an afterthought in their job descriptions.

The main cause for concern for 76 per cent of respondents is the lack of a clear career development path. A further 45 per cent feel there is a lack of suitable training and 64 per cent say the emphasis for some programmes is on recruiting a certain number of volunteers, rather than finding the right people for the tasks.

“Most of us fell into the role by chance, but think it’s a great job and would like to see it made easier for others to get into it,” said Debbie Usiskin, one of the founders of the Association of Volunteer Managers. “The survey shows that most of those who are volunteer managers are not planning to move on to something else, but are in it to stay.

“We formed the association because we felt that volunteer managers needed a voice and someone to campaign for more clarity and access to specialised training.”

Justin Davis Smith, acting chief executive of Volunteering England, said: “Volunteer managers play a key role in inspiring, recruiting and supporting people who want to change society for the better, but their contributions are all too often overlooked and underestimated, as highlighted in today's research.”

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