Wednesday 10th April 2019

The ninth annual National Volunteer Management Conference took place on Wednesday 10th April in The Marino Conference Centre at The Marino Institute of Education, on Griffith Avenue, in Dublin.

View the full conference programme here.


2019 saw the launch of new research on “Migrant Participation in Sports Volunteering” conducted by Volunteer Ireland in partnership with Sports Ireland and Dublin City Volunteer Centre. During our plenary sessions we were treated to a key note from Prof. Dr. Lucas Meijs, professor of “Strategic Philanthropy and Volunteering” at the Rotterdam School of Management, as well as a panel discussion on new ways to define and expand volunteer roles.

Our masterclasses explored the importance of change management, embracing short term and episodic volunteering, how best to develop relationships between the corporate and community sectors, handling volunteer performance issues, how to care for your mental health as a volunteer manager, and insights and successes shared from the volunteer programme at Depaul.

We are delighted to have BHP Insurance as this year’s conference partner.



Prof. Dr. Lucas Meijs

The future of volunteering

Professor of “Strategic Philanthropy and Volunteering” at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands. Lucas’s research focuses on Civil Society, volunteer/non-profit management and corporate community involvement. He has served for seven years as a member of the Dutch Council on Social Issues, the official advisory body of the Dutch Government and the national task force for Volunteering Policy.

Lucas will speak about the position of volunteering and volunteer energy in contemporary society. How does volunteering relate to broader civil society? Who are the new stakeholders? What can be done to create an even better future for volunteer involving organisations?


Peter Smyth

Launch of Research Project – “Migrant Participation in Sports Volunteering,”

Peter is currently Research Director at Sport Ireland having previously worked as Secretary and Corporate Services Manager. In his role he commissions and manages research into key sports policy issues, particularly around all aspects of participation in sport.

The research being launched today was carried out by Volunteer Ireland in collaboration with Sport Ireland & Dublin City Volunteer Centre. It involved a short survey of migrants registered on I-VOL (the national volunteering database) and several focus groups facilitated by Dublin City Volunteer Centre. The presentation will provide an overview of the key findings from this research.


Lisa Byrne

Insights and Successes from Depaul’s Volunteer Programme

Lisa Byrne has been involved in the not for profit sector for nearly 14 years. Since 2010 Lisa’s role has involved developing and implementing a volunteer program in the cross border homeless organisation Depaul.

This masterclass will explore practical tips and tools to enrich your current practices when auditing, recruiting and retaining your volunteers. Lisa will share how Depaul used the Investing in Volunteers (IiV) quality standard to create effective volunteer management practices and an effective organisational strategy. She will share insights from Depaul’s implementation of good quality volunteer management practices and how they maintain these on an on-going basis.


Terri O’Brien

Employee Volunteer Programmes: Thinking Outside the Box

Terri manages the Corporate Volunteer Programme at Volunteer Ireland. Terri offers consultancy to companies on developing and implementing their employee volunteer programmes. She also leads on Investing in Volunteers. Terri will be joined by Sacha; previously the manager of Dublin City South Volunteer Centre, now a consultant in the Community & Voluntary Sector, focusing on quality standards, communication and best practice in all things volunteer related.

An innovative and interactive workshop for companies and charities to explore unique and meaningful ways of engagement. Share examples and brainstorm new and different ways to create effective, innovative and sustainable employee volunteer programmes and projects. You’ll come away with tangible ideas, a fresh perspective and new connections.


Lizanne Frawley

Change Management in Volunteer Programmes

Lizanne Frawley the Learning & Development Specialist at Cats Protection is a learning specialist working in the area of organisational development. A 20 year background in the voluntary sector including Citizens Advice, Volunteer Now and a range of small organisations has included both operational and strategic roles. People dynamics form the foundation of Lizanne’s work with the creation of meaningful volunteer experiences as her motivation.

Two of the most challenging change issues I have experienced in volunteer programmes resulted in conflict, factions and walkouts. In these times, wise words from others, simple models and theories arrived like small life-rafts. This interactive workshop explores these and how, with even small changes, volunteers are at the heart of positive change plans and activities.


George Gillespie

Managing “Flexivols”- One off, Short Term, Episodic and Ad hoc Volunteers

George is the has Manager at Volunteer Now Enterprises and has been involved in promoting volunteering and developing & organising a range of volunteering projects for 20 years. He is the key contact for development and support, to embed volunteer best practice based on Investing in Volunteers standards for 1,750 awards for all grant holders in Northern Ireland. He has delivered training from Bahrain to Brussels on a wide range of Volunteer Management topics.

Volunteers with very little time or sporadic time to volunteer; how do we recruit them, make it a me aningful experience and hope to retain them? This workshop will explore and offer ideas on how to build these roles to be vibrant and motivational, how to give real and meaningful feedback, recognising these volunteers’ contributions and offer further suggestions on how we keep “flexivols” involved.


Stuart Garland

Handling Volunteer Performance Issues

Stuart is the Training & Programmes Manager at Volunteer Ireland, with 26 years of experience in the community & voluntary sector Stuart is recognised as Ireland’s leading specialist in the field of Volunteer Management and Leadership Training. He has developed volunteer programmes for close to 100 events & festivals. He is a lead trainer in the use of Volunteer Impact Assessment and IiV. He was a member of the Associate Faculty of NCI and is working on the development of accredited volunteer management & leadership training with NUI Galway.

Performance problems are gaps between what is expected from volunteers and what is actually happening. In this session we will identify some of the causes of volunteer performance issues and examine options for dealing with volunteer performance gaps and support for changed behaviour. We will explore some frequent volunteer performance difficulties and explore common techniques of disengaging a volunteer.


Aisling Doherty

Five Ways to Well-being

Aisling is an IUHPE r egistered Health Promotion practitioner working in the mental health and charity sector for over ten years. Aisling’s roles have always involved working with and supporting volunteers in a variety of capacities. Currently as Mental Health Promotion Manager with Mental Health Ireland she oversees the delivery of mental health and well-being programmes and initiatives.

This workshop will increase awareness and understanding of how to implement actions that will support your mental health and well-being as a volunteer manager. We will explore the definitions of mental health and well-being and gain a deeper understanding of the steps we can take each day which will look after our mental health and well-being. The workshop will focus on research carried out by the New Economics Foundation of evidence based actions to improve personal well-being.


Previous Conferences

National Volunteer Management Conference 2018

View the programme