Volunteering Victoria 2017 State Conference
8 May 2017 at 12:03 pm
Volunteering Victoria is about to kick off its inaugural state conference and CEO Sue Noble discusses the importance of this event to the not-for-profit sector.
This is the only conference in Victoria focussed specifically on volunteering, which will involve both leaders and managers of volunteers, as well as the volunteers themselves. There are just six weeks until the two-day event kicks off at the Rydges Melbourne.
Why is the Volunteering Victoria 2017 State Conference so important?
Volunteering is crucial to the way of life of many Victorians. Important as it is, the good management of volunteers is often overlooked and under resourced. An event like this is an opportunity for leaders and managers of volunteers from around Victoria to come together, to share their experiences and to learn.
Our theme this year is the “Power of Association” – we know that we are stronger together and a conference like this offers an opportunity to strengthen our resolve which is to ensure that volunteers and volunteering are well supported in Victoria. Designed in consultation with the sector, our sub themes Leadership & Stewardship of Volunteering, Sector Collaboration and Valuing and Repositioning Volunteering address the emerging trends in contemporary volunteering. We know that good volunteer management results in a strong volunteering community and volunteer workforce which is essential for the delivery of so many services and event activities.
What are the benefits for someone who attends this conference?
There are so many benefits for both individuals and their organisations who do such great work in the community.
There are opportunities to make meaningful connections with like-minded people, develop new relationships and new ideas that can help organisations reach their strategic objectives. With fresh ideas, participants can strengthen their volunteer program, resulting in greater impacts for their beneficiaries. Conferences can often result in a renewed sense of enthusiasm for a role, leading to attendees being more productive in the workplace. It’s also a great opportunity to network with influential people, advocate or raise the profile of an organisation amongst delegates, colleagues, volunteers or advocates for the organisation themselves.
You have marketed the conference as being innovative – what are some of the innovations you are introducing?
For us, it’s important that the conference is as interactive as possible. We want to make sure people are engaged and have an opportunity to share their experiences. We don’t believe that just because someone stands at the front of a room that they know more than everyone else. Following consultation with our members, we are running several highly interactive plenary and concurrent sessions that call on the collective knowledge of the sector. These include Brain Dates – where delegates can put forward a question and another delegate can help to answer it in a one-on-one session. There are fireside chats with the presentation of an idea to a group, which then takes the idea, in an open forum, and runs with it. The group drives its own learning, taking on multiple perspectives on the same issue.
We’re also very focused on how to take conference learnings back to the organisation so we have our Ideas into Action session, which summarises the great ideas explored throughout the Conference program and ways we can action the ideas when we leave and go back to our day-to-day roles. It is an important session that will recognise the great ideas posted on the Big Ideas Board.
You are also hosting a session just for volunteers as well, tell us about that.
Our Volunteer Forum Enthuse! Ignite! Empower! is just for volunteers. We thought that you couldn’t have a conference about volunteering and not actively engage with the volunteers who provide the workforce for so many organisations. They deserve the opportunity for professional development, too.
The forum is for those new to volunteering and those who’ve been around for a while. As well as empowering, connecting and informing participants the forum acknowledges their time, effort and contribution to their organisation and the community.
It may even feature some special surprise entertainment as well!
You can find out more about the conference program, international and national guest speakers and register to attend at www.volunteeringvictoria.org.au/conference-2017