Wednesday 22nd April 2020

The tenth annual National Volunteer Management Conference will take place on Wednesday 22nd April in The Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS), at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The tenth annual National Volunteer Management Conference will take place on Wednesday 22nd April 2020  in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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Check out the 2020 Conference programme

NVMC Conference Programme 2020

This year Rob Jackson, one of the leading authorities on volunteering, will kick off the day by challenging us to rethink how we understand and engage 21st century volunteers. Anshu Gupta, inspirational speaker and founder of community development NGO ‘Goonj’ in India will speak about changing the language of giving and receiving; prioritizing the dignity of the receiver and putting the decision-making back into their hands. We will also be hosting a discussion on developing strategic partnerships between corporate and community organisations, exploring how community organisations can communicate the value of their expertise and positioning within the community.

Our masterclasses this year will cover a range of topics from maintaining volunteer motivation to inclusive volunteer recruitment and LGBTQ+ inclusion. We will explore successes and insights from expanding volunteer programmes and share learnings around building strong and cohesive volunteer networks. Our presenters will be discussing trends affecting volunteering and participation, advocating for the value of volunteer management, and myth busting the garda vetting process.

We are delighted to have BHP Insurance and Medtronic as this year’s conference partner, with support form the Ireland Fund.




Rob Jackson

Understanding and engaging 21st century volunteers

This session will look at some of the key ways in which society is changing and how these changes affect volunteerism. We will also discuss what leaders of volunteers can do to update their practices to accommodate these changes, further enhancing their engagement and retention of 21st century volunteers.



Anshu Gupta

Changing the language of giving and receiving

21 years ago Anshu took up an unconventional idea; talking about Cloth as a neglected basic need. That set him and his organization Goonj on a journey of looking at development issues from a different lens. Given his training in journalism and advertising, from very early on Anshu shunned words like charity, donation, beneficiary from Goonj’s vocabulary. With his strong belief in the power of language influencing the mindset and perspective of a person, he strategically used a new language of dignity, respect, empathy and stakeholder involvement to move the narrative from the aid centric development work to dignity led empowerment of rural communities. Goonj’s work under Anshu Gupta’s leadership is challenging and changing the way the economically poor and their neglected issues are viewed by the rest of the world. In his talk Anshu will touch upon these and many other learning’s from working with urban and rural masses with some innovative ideas, breaking many norms of development work.


Panel Discussion

Developing Strategic Partnerships Between Corporate and Community Organisations

Featuring: Alma Curran, Medtronic; Aoibheann O’Brien, Food Cloud Hub; Terri O’Brien, Volunteer Ireland.




Mark Callanan

Insights and Successes from Community First Responder Volunteer Programme

Mark is responsible for supporting and developing the Community First Responder network and its fantastic volunteers who make up an integral link in the chain of survival. In this masterclass Mark will share how the National Ambulance Service is continuing to support these volunteers, how they are successfully building a strong and cohesive network and promoting effective volunteer management practices throughout the many volunteer groups active across the country.

After qualifying as a Paramedic with the National Ambulance Service in 2014, Mark Callanan was promoted to a managerial role in 2017. Currently one of three Community Engagement Officers (CEOs) posted across the country with the responsibility of supporting and developing the Community First Responder network and its fantastic volunteers. Mark holds a Diploma in Emergency Medical Technology from UCD, BSc (Hons) from University of Limerick and has recently completed an MSc in Leadership and Innovation in the Public Sector.


Jason Flynn, Cian Galvin & Barbara Kilbride.

Insights and Learnings from Expanding Volunteer Programmes

In this masterclass you will hear from volunteer managers who are working with over a hundred volunteers to over 2000. Volunteer managers from Alone, Depaul and St Francis Hospice will share their expertise and learnings around adapting volunteer programme structures as you grow, gaining staff support, delegation and providing a person-centred experience for volunteers as programmes increase in size.

Jason Flynn is the Volunteer Co-ordinator at Depaul, Cian Galvin is the Volunteer Manager at Alone and Barbara Kilbride is the Coordinator of Volunteer Services St Francis Hospice Dublin.  All three organisations and have achieved and maintained the Investing In Volunteer (IiV) Quality standard, which demonstrates their commitment to their volunteers and developing world class volunteer programmes.


Sergeant Jim Gould & Superintendent Niall Featherstone

Myth Busting the Garda Vetting Process

This masterclass is designed specifically for those already involved in providing Garda Vetting services. It will be an opportunity to delve into specific details of the process that can cause confusion. Jim Gould from the National Vetting Bureau will be challenging some of the common misconceptions around Garda Vetting and giving you the information you need to streamline your processing.

Jim Gould is the Head of Compliance at the Garda National Vetting Bureau. Jim is a member of An Garda Síochána for 25 years and has been working in the vetting area for 12 years. Superintendent Niall Featherstone is the Chief Bureau Officer at the Garda National Vetting Bureau. He is a member of An Garda Síochána for the past 29 years and has been working in the vetting area since 2018. Niall was the National Chief Crime Prevention Officer and held roles in Garda Training, Community Engagement and Operational Policing. Niall oversees all functions of the GNVB including E-Vetting, Compliance and Specified Information.


Annette Holman

Innovation in volunteering and participation

Exploring the trends affecting volunteering and participation with examples of innovative practices and emerging new ideas.

As an innovation foundation, Nesta are advocating for a ‘people powered’ approach across their work and with the organisations they support. This session will explore some of the current societal trends that are affecting volunteer participation such as developing technologies, increasing time pressures and generational disconnection, and look at some examples of innovative organisations and practices that have been developing in response to these. You will learn about different examples of people powered approaches that are enabling people to give their skills, experience and time in more innovative ways.


Rob Jackson

Valuing Volunteer Management

In this session we’ll look at the essential role of the leader and manager of volunteers. What do we know about Volunteer Managers? How do / should they operate within 21st century organisations? How can we effectively lobby for more support? With a mix of presentation and group discussion this workshop will leave you with at least one action to help you gain more influence within your organisation.

Rob has written, spoken and trained on volunteer programme management internationally for more than twenty-five years. He has co-authored three books as well as contributing dozens of articles to a wide range of publications around the world. Rob worked for Volunteering England for six years, as Director of Development and Innovation, before going on to establish Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd and now provides consultancy, public speaking and training services on a range of topics, with strategic volunteer engagement remaining at the core of his work.


Sasha Johnson

Maintaining Volunteer Motivation

Much research has been done on what motivates volunteers to volunteer, and guess what, there isn’t one answer. Volunteers have very different motivations and over time these motivations can change. In this workshop we’ll look at the methods we can use to motivate volunteers during their time with our organisations, and we’ll focus on the specific challenges that relate to keeping long term volunteers positive and engaged with your organisation.

Sacha is a consultant & trainer, working in the Community and Voluntary sector since 2012. Sacha has worked with Volunteer Ireland on projects including Quality Standards, Making it Matter, Investing in Volunteers, Event Volunteering, and now in a capacity building role to support Volunteer Centres to deliver training locally. Sacha was previously the Manager of the Dublin City South Volunteer Centre and has a keen interest in supporting organisations to develop high-quality volunteer programmes.


Dannie Lønne Larsen

Inclusive volunteering – volunteer recruitment in many colours

Many associations are really good at involving different types of volunteers, but there are still some groups that do not participate in voluntary activities to the same extent as others. It may be people with different disabilities or people with a different ethnic background. It may be due to lack of time and desire or lack of knowledge about opportunities, but it may also be because they experience different barriers or do not feel invited into the volunteer community. Dannie Lønne Larsen’s presentation focuses on diverse organisations and recruitment and on the individual’s resources and opportunities to contribute, so they can experience the joy of being a volunteer for the benefit of themselves and the voluntary communities.

Dannie has been volunteering for the last 25 years and has in the last 14 years been working professionally with civil society and volunteering; 6 years in one of the largest Volunteer Centres in Denmark, and the last 8 years as development consultant at Volunteer Centres and Self-Help Denmark, the national Volunteer Centre with 65 local volunteer centres and 11 self-help organizations as members.
Inclusive volunteering – volunteer recruitment in many colours


Lorraine Tansey, Cameron Keighron & Brandon Walsh.

Exploring LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Volunteer Programmes

Diversity is a cornerstone of a volunteer programme. Have you had the opportunity to explore LQBTQ+ inclusion topics? This Masterclass is facilitated by volunteer managers with extensive experience in engaging people with this subject in a safe, inviting and learning environment. Come along to navigate terms, build confidence and create a plan of action for your volunteer programme.

Lorraine Tansey is the Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway’s student volunteering programme, ALIVE. Which seeks to foster civic skills in students. Lorraine teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Volunteer Management and Leadership at St. Angela’s College Sligo. Cameron is the current NUI Galway Students Union Education Officer, they have been working in LGBT+ activism and training for the last 5 years and are the current Chairperson of AMACH! LGBT+ who run Teach Solais in Galway city.  Brandon is the current Vice President for Welfare and Equality in NUI Galway Students’ Union and believes it is very important to open up a dialogue around LGBT+ experiences and encourage small changes that have a huge impact for minority groups.




Kitchen Table Conversations

This informal session is an opportunity to network, share your thoughts and learn from each other’s perspectives. Hosts will briefly introduce a topic and then lead a conversation with those around the table; giving delegates a chance to share knowledge and meet new people from across the Community & Voluntary sector.


“Change management in volunteer engagement.”

In Conversation with Tony Goodrow.

All the way from Canada, CEO and founder of Better Impact, Tony will lead a conversation around change management in volunteer engagement. He will discuss the challenges that adoption of technology creates; exploring team leads different approaches; older volunteers perceived/real aversion to technology, as well as automation of training and data security and privacy.


“A Family of social entrepreneurs”

In Conversation with Anshu, Meenakshi & Urvi Gupta.

Being a social entrepreneur, a partner to one and the child of social entrepreneurs… There are many layers to Anshu, Meenakshi and Urvi’s story. At one level it’s a normal nuclear family living its life in the capital of one of the world’s biggest democracies but beyond the surface it’s a life rich with conversations, ideas, conflicts and hopes for a better world and their every day work to find their own place and journey in the many world’s they traverse.