Conference Buzz

Conference Buzz…

Conference has become a big part of my life and certainly allows me to use my ‘control-freakishness’ for good! This will be my fourth year (phew!) of planning conference and each one has presented a different challenge in terms of organisation. However, as the conference looms – which it does for me, I’m afraid – I also get a real buzz of excitement, knowing that I’m going to be catching up with the best volunteer managers I know!
The first year I was responsible for planning conference, one member said in closing “I didn’t yawn once”, which was certainly my highlight! Another year, I learnt all about ‘managing with a light touch’ and was inspired by the St Nicholas community neighbours scheme. In previous years, I’ve learnt all about SUMO wisdom and building mountains from molehills, how to measure the impact of volunteering and considering how to better involve disabled volunteers.
In addition to my own learning, the feedback I get to read through about conference makes it all the more enjoyable. Last year, members said:

“It was a great conference. I came away feeling more confident and feeling more positive about
some things we have to deal with day to day with volunteers.”

“This was my first conference and I found it extremely valuable, not just the sessions but networking
between sessions and learning best practices and how others have overcome frustrating situations”

“Workshops were very good. The short talks were excellent. It’s always good to hear new things
that people are doing. This is where my thoughts and actions come from. Happy to do a short talk
next year”

Comments like these make planning with the Exec, trawling through comments from previous years and lots of organisation, well worth it. I can’t wait to see you at the 2019 Conference in Glasgow!

Gillian Austin
Head of Volunteering and Community Engagement
The Hospice of St Francis