Cultural Volunteer May 2011

Welcome to May’s edition of Cultural Volunteer

Thanks to those who sent kind words about the re-launch of Cultural Volunteer. I was really pleased to receive the comment that CV is ‘full of resources that are appropriate for our needs and is very time-saving in bringing them together in one place’, since this is exactly what I’m trying to achieve. All comments and suggestions for improvement, case studies or items of general interest are very welcome. I’m still sorting out my database, so apologies, and please let me know if I’ve listed you twice.

In this issue …

What do you take to mean by ‘staff replacement by volunteers’? Is it different to ‘staff displacement’? Read my article on Staff replacement by volunteers – a hot topic that’s not going to go away any time soon. Picking up on a report in the Museums Journal (online) earlier this year about Hampshire Museums looking to replace staff with volunteers at four of its heritage venues, I explain the terms used in the debate and unpick some of the key issues.

Volunteers’ Week, 1-7 June, is nearly upon us! It’s not too late to organise an event to celebrate the contribution of your volunteers.

Arts & Business has been selected as an official partner of the Office for Civil Society as part of the national work programme for the European year of Volunteering 2011, leading on arts and culture in England. Using their business network, A&B plans to offer arts organisations volunteers who can advise and help on topics including marketing, business planning, IT and catering.

Free guidance comes from the Department of Education (England only) on the employment of children which will be of interest to those of you involving young volunteers, and from Help From Home’s guide to micro-volunteering and how to set up projects.

I highlight three interesting and very different museum volunteering case studies from MLA. And I also bring to your attention more free resources courtesy of our American cousin Energize Inc – the international training, consulting and publishing firm specialising in volunteerism.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has released the findings of its Taking Part survey on public engagement in sport and culture, which includes a chapter on volunteering in sport and culture. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be anything surprising in there on the arts / heritage front.

This month I’ve taken part in a virtual consultation group organised by Volunteering England on internships and how they are run in the voluntary sector. VE is currently drafting guidance which I’ll share with you as soon as it’s available, and I’ll be commenting on its relevancy to our sector.

Finally, Arts Professional Magazine commissioned me to write an article on what a successful volunteer programme looks like, and this is being published soon. I decided to focus on what a successful volunteer programme feels like, looking at the experience of the volunteer, and I’ll upload the text to CV for the next issue. Since I’m advocating that organisations take stock and listen to what their volunteers have to say about their experiences, it’s a good time to launch my new service for those interested in having a volunteering heath check – a strategic review of your programme – in the form of a two and a half hour consultancy tailored to meet your needs. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

Best wishes


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