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Better Impact's best list of conferences for volunteer management professionals around the world
By: Josie Connell, Better Impact (USA Office) Mar 6, 2023 11:16:16 AM
Conferences are one of the best ways for volunteer management professionals to connect and learn from one another. Volunteer managers require a wide range of skills, from strong interpersonal skills to proficiency in data collection and reporting. Conferences provide a unique platform for sharing ideas, strategies, and management methods to help strengthen this unique and varied skillset. And - they’re fun!
In this post, we’ll offer a look at the benefits of attending volunteer management conferences as well as a list of recurring conferences around the world.
Why are conferences important?
Attending conferences can provide huge benefits professionally and personally. Here are four major reasons to attend the next volunteer management conference in your area:
Grow your network: Networking…obvious, yes, but there are unique benefits to networking at a conference that you don’t get elsewhere. It’s hard to think outside the box when you are focused on the day-to-day of running your program. Conferences give you the opportunity to meet and learn from other volunteer managers that work in different types and sizes of organizations and have different backgrounds and experiences. This lends itself to offering fresh perspectives on solutions to challenges that you have in common. There’s nothing like talking through things (in person!) with peers working in a similar role and learning about their programs.
Expand your knowledge: Learn, learn, learn. It’s probably the main reason we attend conferences. This benefit can’t be understated. Between the workshops, breakout sessions, speakers, and resources (and networking!) often covering an annual theme, you’ll have tons of information to absorb. There is something refreshing about returning to work after a conference with new ideas and renewed motivation.
Develop your creativity: Managing volunteers comes with unique challenges. In addition to that, many volunteer engagement professionals fulfill a combination of roles in their organizations with their hands in marketing, development, HR, or staff management. Creativity is essential when working with volunteer-based programs – and with people in general! Learning from and talking one-on-one with other professionals in the field can give your creativity a much-needed boost, even if you don’t attend a conference to network formally.
Enhance your resume: While conferences and other continuing education opportunities are not the same as work experience, including them on your resume is a great way to show future employers how much you care about your profession. It demonstrates that you are pursuing professional growth and interested in understanding what is current and relevant in the volunteer management world. All things that will make you an even better candidate!
Fun fact: A study by PromoLeaf revealed that 70% of Americans prefer attending in-person conferences.
Volunteer Management Conferences
Check out the list of conferences below that you and your team could consider attending.
- Australian National Volunteer Conference - Hosted by Volunteering Australia, this annual event is "dedicated to fostering an inclusive and open discussion on the future of volunteering and highlight practical and innovative approaches to reimagine volunteering in Australia."
- Volunteering Tasmania State Conference - Hosted by Volunteering Tasmania, this annual conference aims "to support the volunteering sector in professional development."
- Volunteering Victoria State Conference - This biannual conference hosted by Volunteering Victoria is "dedicated to advancing effective, sustainable and inclusive volunteering across Victoria."
- Professional Association of Volunteer Leaders Ontario (PAVRO) LiVE Conference - PAVRO's annual conference reflects their mission to "build individual, organizational and community capacity to effectively engage volunteers through the professional management of volunteer resources."
- Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada (VMPC) National Forum - VMPC is dedicated to advocacy, capacity building and networking, it connects and empowers a network of professionals and passionately elevates the quality of volunteerism in Canada.
- Volunteer Toronto and TAVA Conference - Volunteer Toronto and TAVA host this annual joint conference to educate, connect and support volunteer engagement professionals.
- Volunteer BC & BCACG Conference - Co-hosted by BC Association for Charitable Gaming (BCACG) and Volunteer BC, this 2-day annual conference is held in October for non-profits, charities, and volunteers.
- VolCon - This annual conference is jointly organized by two prominent NGOs, Bhumi and iVolunteer, and aims to ignite the spirit of volunteerism by bringing together NGOs, corporations, intermediaries, and other organizations in India that actively engage volunteers.
- International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE) World Volunteer Conference - IAVE's biannual conference welcomes the global volunteer community in a new location for each event. This is accomplished through supportive networks such as their Global Corporate Volunteer Council and their Global Network of Volunteering Leadership and through global convenings such as their biennial World Volunteer Conference.
- Volunteer Management Hybrid Conference (VMHC) - Brought to you by AL!VE, Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada (VMPC), and Better Impact (that's us!), this annual conference is presented in a unique and fun way to over 50 remote locations and 900 attendees.
- Volunteer Ireland National Volunteer Management Conference - Hosted by Volunteer Ireland, the National Volunteer Management Conference enables and enhances volunteering through the promotion of best practice in volunteer management.
- New Zealand National Volunteer Conference - Hosted by Volunteering New Zealand, this annual conference aims to empower attendees to meaningfully lead, advocate for, and develop volunteers and volunteerism in Aotearoa New Zealand. (Note: this conference was put on pause during the pandemic.)
- Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM) Conference - This annual conference is "by volunteer managers for volunteer managers" and aims to bring together some of the best speakers from the sector. People who are at the forefront of volunteer management and thought-leadership, and those from outside of volunteer management, who will challenge and provoke us to think differently.
- Association of Volunteer Service Managers (AVSM) Conference - This annual two-day conference, focused on the hospice and palliative care sector, usually takes place in autumn, with a program packed full of inspiring keynote speakers, workshops and short talks on critical topics.
- Heritage Volunteering Group (HVG)Conference - Held annually in November, the goal of HVG's annual conference is to bring together leaders and practitioners from across the sector, providing a national platform for connectivity and sharing new ideas. HVG focuses on organisations affiliated with the Heritage Lottery Fund, from the natural to the built environment, from volunteer led organisations to national museums, trusts, and groups.
- gofod3 Conference - This annual flagship event is organised by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) in collaboration with the voluntary sector in Wales. Unlike any other event in Wales, it is a space to learn from, motivate and inspire one another. It offers a rare opportunity for the third sector to come together and effect change in Wales. With over 70 different masterclasses, panel debates and workshops taking place over the course of the week, there’s something for everyone.
- Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference (CIVC) – Annual volunteerism conference with special sessions specifically for managers of volunteers hosted by The Illinois Volunteer Management Network in cooperation with the Illinois Dept of Human Services and the Serve Illinois Commission.
- Colorado Conference on Volunteerism (CCOV) - Hosted by the Directors of Volunteers in Agencies Colorado, this annual conference aims to help participants continue to grow and build their volunteer programs.
- Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA) Volunteer Engagement Conference - MAVA's annual conference echo’s their mission which is to advance the power of volunteerism to deepen community impact through uplifting community voice, building connections, providing education, and promoting advocacy.
- North Carolina Association of Volunteer Administration (NCAVA) Annual Conference - This conference is provided annually by NCAVA to help fulfill its mission to provide education and leadership towards effective volunteer management in North Carolina.
- Points of Light Conference – This annual conference is a global gathering for people who are passionate about civic engagement from one of the largest organizations dedicated to volunteer service.
- Society for Healthcare Volunteer Leaders (SHVL) Annual Education Conference - The SHVL conference is for management and volunteers in the healthcare industry with volunteer management specific sessions.
- Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism & Service-Learning - The annual Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism and Service-Learning aims to increase service and volunteerism across Tennessee and encourage service leaders and participants to collaborate to address needs in Tennessee while utilizing service as a vehicle for education and change.
- Texas Volunteer Management Conference – The TVMC, is an annual conference for current and emerging volunteer management professionals in Texas and throughout the world.
- The National Extension Conference on Volunteerism (NECV) - NECV, hosted by Oklahoma State University Extension, is an opportunity for sharing and learning with colleagues from around the country who are interested in the latest trends and research in volunteerism.
- Virginia Volunteerism Summit - The annual Virginia Volunteerism Summit (formerly the Virginia Volunteerism and Service Conference) is the Commonwealth’s leading event for non-profit and corporate leaders of volunteers and AmeriCorps members. Hosted by The Virginia Serve and the Virginia Service Commission.
- Wisconsin Volunteer Coordinators Association Conference - This annual conference has been running for more than 50 years and has a goal to offer all attendees access to quality educational opportunities, a chance to interact with peers, and make new connections through each individual session and/or activity.
As you can see, there are a lot of amazing conferences for volunteer engagement professionals from which to choose. If you’ve never been to one, consider registering for the next one in your area!
Have you attended any of the conferences listed above? Let us know how it went! Leave a comment below with the conference you attended and some highlights.
Did we leave out your favorite volunteer management conference? Please let us know in the comments!
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