JVN organises two volunteering coordinator forums

It’s been a very busy few weeks here at JVN – getting schools linked in with volunteering opportunities for the Yoni Jesner Award scheme, researching new website requirements, not to mention the day-to-day business of matching volunteers and organisations! But what’s been keeping us particularly busy was our Spring Volunteer Coordinator Forums: our 2nd Regional Forum in Leeds and our 6th in London, both held earlier this month.

So much of what we do is working with the organisations behind volunteering, figuring out what support they need from JVN now and in the future, as well as how we can all work better with our volunteers.  The idea behind the Forums is about doing more than keeping in touch via phone or email – bringing together volunteering professionals from our organisations to network and learn.  I was really delighted to see two rooms packed full of people passionate about volunteering.

The first event in Leeds was really great to see and I saw many of the same faces from our 1st dedicated Regional Forum at The Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Community Centre, which is a great endorsement of what we’re trying to do.  Organised by Es Rosen, our Regional Manager, the event was practical and varied, covering topics such as how to provide volunteer training and support, as well as looking at the big picture – how can Regional organisations work with a more limited number of volunteers across a wider geographical area.

L-R Lia Bogod, Susie Gordon, Rebecca Weinberg, Leonie Lewis, Es Rosen, Rabbi Jason Kleinman

One idea that we suggested was the idea of Regional volunteering fairs, say in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and more, where charities could showcase what they can offer volunteers – a way to bring people together and promote volunteering, which is what I – and JVN – is all about!  Let us know what you think about the idea.

Our second event took place at Jewish Care’s HQ in Golders Green. The main item on our agenda was Volunteering 2.0 – how charities can use social networking to build relationships via Facebook, Twitter and more.  Jamie Ward-Smith, social networking guru and founder of the Red Foundation, introduced some of the key concepts.

Jamie asked how many participants were using social networking sites for personal or work use and I was pleasantly surprised to notice how many charities within our network use websites such as Facebook and Twitter.  We also did a networking competition with people asked to write on a piece of paper something they were passionate about, then go around the room to get people to sign up to their interest. I don’t think any of us were particularly surprised that the person expressing an interest in ancient weaponry had zero interest(?!) but those touting chocolate or beach holidays proved most popular.  There were only a few suggestions of bribery, and the chocolate-loving volunteer coordinator was, you’ve guessed it, rewarded with a box of kosher chocolate.

L-R Hannah Ashleigh (Board of Deputies) Emma Grant in purple (Kisharon) L-R back Michelle Bauenrfreund (Mitzvah Day) Leah Gaffney (Tzedek) Lia Bogod.

It really was a great event – Simon Morris, Chief Executive of Jewish Care, welcomed and introduced us to the building. And we were also joined by many of our non-denominational charities including Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance, Volunteer Reading Help and one parish, St Andrews United Reform Church, which was really great to see.  Many thanks also go out to our Forum Committe (Carol of AJR, Jo of Jewish Care, Gloria of Norwood, Selina of JWA, Leah of Tzedek and lovely Lia, formerly of WJR) without which the day wouldn’t have been possible.

I look forward to the next Forums with delight, if not a little bemused trepidation, as volunteering is growing bigger and bigger each and every day.  If you’re someone who would like to help us put on the next one and learn all about it, JVN is actually looking for a new intern, so do take a look at the website job description and apply.

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Categories: JVN News, Leonie's View

Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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  1. Not grim, quite rainy and very snowy up North – JVN visits Manchester | The Jewish Volunteering Network Blog - March 15, 2012

    […] on ideas from previous volunteering forums to establish regional networks to support local charities, volunteers and communities, JVN made two […]

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