Yes NCVO! Let’s Be Bold!

This is ‘being bold for volunteering’:  Free resources for volunteer coordinators. Finding out what we need to know.  Fighting for the services that rely on the added value of volunteering.

Stuart Etherington' New Year Letter To the SectorDear Stuart,

Thank you for your New Year letter:  thoughts on the current situation for the voluntary sector.

It’s long!  It took me a while to read it and I had to look up solipsis but here I am with a response!

You say that you – and we – need to ‘be bold for volunteering.’   I see volunteers and coordinators being bold every day; I read your letter several times and really wasn’t clear exactly how NCVO will be being bold in 2017.

…So I have some thoughts to share!

Make resources for volunteers coordinators free. 

You say yourself how important vounteers are.  Some of the best projects happening in the UK right now are completely volunteer led and run, yet your quick guides are nearly £7  and your (brilliant) Impact Assessment Toolkit with resources is nearly £100.  NCVO training is fully out of a small organisation’s league.

I don’t think things should be free for no reason.  But I think an umbrella body that exists solely to support the voluntary sector (and has property assets in central London) should be supporting the very smallest grassroots groups and organisations.  This investment will reap far-reaching dividends.

A surprisingly small number of people can name a UK charity.  Volunteering’s extended value includes a much wider understanding of a project’s services – and use of their services.  Bold support for volunteer coordinators would only enhance the profile of voluntary organisations, and and understanding of the value of what they do.  Be bold for Volunteer Coordinators!

Update us with information that supports our day-to-day decisions.

I work with hundreds of organisations a year and many are confused in a constantly changing environment.

I have an example:  The right to volunteer of asylum seekers and those without a right to work in the UK.

  • I can find no evidence in your resources of the very bold work that Refugee Action did to secure a change in Home Office Guidance since then.
  • I can find no clarification since the increase in fines for employers around ‘right to work’  (which has exacerbated confusion, despite being nothing to do with volunteering.)
  • Your information sheet ‘Visas and Volunteering’ was last updated 2011.

I know of Volunteer Centres doing their own research, as am I, doubling up each others’ precious time.  I have developed learning resources* in which I can’t yet say “the NCVO guidance is…”  because, despite requests, there is no guidance.

You can find things out for all of us, and let us know.  Be BOLD!

Fight. Yup. Fight.

Volunteering includes CAMPAIGNING.  Fighting for the ‘health and care services that are under great pressure’ that you tell us about in your letter.  Fighting to include the volunteering that brings massive social value, and to retain the statutory paid roles that our society needs.

We all have opinions.  You however, are in a crucial role not only to have opinions, not only to voice them but also to act on them, on behalf of all of us.

Yes!  Let’s Be Bold!


*Who Can Volunteer: Age, Immigration and Welfare Conundrums is running on 20th April at 11am. 




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