As the clocks go back and autumn sets in, the season of AGMs is almost upon us! Many local groups and organisations hold their Annual General Meetings between October-December, where they present their most recent financial accounts, celebrate their achievements and look ahead to what they hope to do in the future. It is often the time when Trustees are formally nominated, accountants are appointed and where some of the formal processes involved in running our organisations are undertaken. Importantly, AGMs also provide a fantastic opportunity to thank staff, trustees, volunteers and service users for their commitment, hard work and support.
As we all know, volunteers and volunteering are the lifeblood of many local groups and organisations – some of whom are run entirely by unpaid volunteers, and others are dependent on a small volunteer army of committed and dedicated people, often local residents, without whom their services simply couldn’t operate. Volunteer roles span everything, from running organisations (as Trustees or Board Members) and providing back-office support, through to front line services in our offices and out in the community.
How we recruit, support, retain and reward our volunteers is often a tricky business – for organisations of all sizes. The Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre (www.hfvc.org.uk) is there to help local organisations and match people who are looking for volunteering opportunities with local groups looking for help. NextDoor and Comoodle (see below) can also be a way to find volunteers and for individuals to volunteer to offer their skills. However, retaining the goodwill and continued support from volunteers needs to be considered, particularly if your services are dependent on them. The ways in which we can show volunteers our appreciation is of course endless – from a simple group or individual thank you message, a more public statement of thanks at your AGM and in your annual report, to a Christmas party or annual celebration, or even levering in some freebies from a corporate sponsor – we reap what we sow by showing our volunteers how much we appreciate and value their efforts.
We would love to hear your ideas on how we could individually and jointly celebrate and acknowledge local volunteers. We would like to remind you that volunteer groups can also be nominated for a Queens Award for Volunteering. The deadline each year is in September for awards the following year and further information is available from: www.qavs.culture.gov.uk
Finally – we’d love to help to promote your autumn events and meetings – please email firstname.lastname@example.org to have them included in our events calendar and in our next newsletter.