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SWD's Volunteer Coordinator, Alyson Wardle, and Programs Coordinator, Emma Norris, attended the Volunteering NSW's State Conference in early June. As a volunteer-led organisation in which SWD's volunteers give over 5000 hours of time annually, it's crucial to be on top of changes and innovations within the sector so we can strive to better serve those who come on board and give so much of their time.
Alyson explained, "The conference was attended by volunteer managers, CEOs and Board Members of volunteer organisations, corporates who run employee volunteering programs, government departments, tertiary institutions, and those with a general interest in volunteering."
Alyson felt inspired and motivated by the level of effort and the professionalism that volunteer managers make in large and small organisations.
"Being among people who are in the same role and networking with others who not only have a common interest but broad knowledge of the industry was exciting," Alyson said.
"There was one gentleman from Better Impact who was exceptionally interesting, with answers to the problems coordinators often face, like having one-on-one conversations with all volunteers and making sure the best systems and processes are in place. The day was full of education, information, and tools for success for existing volunteers and when new volunteers come on board."
Communication is often a challenge for volunteer managers, given the numbers of people usually involved and the diverse geographical locations.
"One of the core roles of the Volunteer Coordinator is to have personal communication with the volunteers. That is workable with SWD volunteers," Alyson said. "Setting aside time each day to have one-on-one conversations with volunteers is one of the takeaways I got from the day. I gained some helpful insight about how to be a more productive and personable volunteer co-coordinator. I hope I can put the knowledge I gained into practice."
Gemma Rygate, CEO Centre for Volunteering (centre), with Emma (left) and Alyson (right)