The Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN), together with The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) hosted their first in-person volunteering event since the pandemic began. The event was designed to help charities confront the changes that have occurred post pandemic, to reengage and reenvisage volunteering within the Jewish community and the wider sector.
Daniel Levy, Chair of JVN opened the conference, welcoming almost 100 people, including CEO’s and Volunteer Managers representing over 40 charities. Speakers included Joe Saxton, founder of nfpSynergy and Heyheyjoe, Catherine Johnstone CBE, CEO of the Royal Voluntary Service who organised the NHS response during lockdown and Shaun Delaney, Head of Volunteering Policy, and Partnerships with DCMS. Keith Black, Chair of the JLC closed the event.
Volunteering, the bedrock on which our society is built has suffered enormous challenges over the past two years. Pre-pandemic changes were accelerated by Covid with charities discovering that volunteers as well as the roles they filled were changing. Keynote speaker, Joe Saxton, supported this by sharing data revealing more younger volunteers have taken up roles in the voluntary sector than ever before.
The conference allowed CEOs and Volunteer Managers the space to come together to explore the power and value of volunteering. The goal was to help charities think differently and reshape the way they view volunteering with the need to recognise that trends have changed. Regular volunteering has become more transactional, and volunteers are looking for hybrid rather than traditional roles. We need to build skills and improve social mobility and life chances through volunteering possibilities.
Catherine Johnstone, CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, said “The pandemic reminded us of the importance of a deeply rooted civic society. For some members of our community volunteers provided a critical lifeline and helped buffer some of the harshest impacts of the pandemic. As we try to navigate continued national and global uncertainty we all need to work together to pay forward the inspiring and remarkable community spirit we have observed over the past 2 years”
Our keynote speakers were able to highlight the challenges, explore the lessons of the pandemic and reflect on ways to move forward. As Shaun Delaney, Head of Volunteering Policy, and Partnerships with DCMS says: “Volunteering looks completely different now. Resources such as emotional support, better training and flexibility are needed to help volunteers return.”
One of the attendees, Mushka Cohen-Gluck of Jewish Care, posted on LinkedIn, “Very inspiring morning at the Reigniting Volunteering Conference organised by The Jewish Volunteering Network with a fabulous panel of industry experts Joe Saxton Catherine Johnstone CBE Shaun Delaney. It was great to meet fellow volunteer managers and discuss all aspects of our jobs and share ideas and resources. I am already receiving emails from people I met today to talk about collaborations with their organisations or to share ideas on things we have discussed. It is great to have in-person events back!”
Another attendee, Volunteer Manager Jo Selwyn, also of Jewish Care, commented, “Thank you for a wonderful thought-out conference that you held at Hammerson House last week. Firstly, the setting was so inviting, light and spacious, food delicious and your speakers where both enlightening and informative. I really enjoyed it and especially liked how you invited CEO’s and Managers so that they can both make a difference together. It was a genius move and one I hope will prove very successful for Jewish Care and the future of volunteering.”
Nicky Goldman, JVN’s Chief Executive stated, “We need to understand how these changes will impact the Jewish community which has been built on volunteering. Charities would find it almost impossible to operate without volunteers who support our services - those who sit on trustee boards, committees, raise money, as well as support the face-to-face programmes. JVN works in partnership with charities to support them in developing robust volunteer strategies.”
Michelle Janes, Co-CEO of the JLC added “We were delighted to partner with JVN to highlight the need to invest in developing volunteering infrastructures within our community. I believe we have a real opportunity to understand the needs of our organisations and our existing and potential volunteers. We can do this by understanding and appreciating the changes we have witnessed during covid in trends and behaviours and to purposefully plan to re-engage and reignite volunteering.”
JVN will running a follow up session in June with volunteering consultant, Rob Jackson
If you have any questions, or for more information, contact [email protected]