Our work is important, we need to build greater support for it

That was the message delivered in Volunteering Victoria’s National Volunteer Week event, Advocacy: Skills, Methods and Means.DSC_0838

A crowd of volunteer managers and those involved in volunteering gathered from organisations as diverse as Dept of Justice, Austin Health, Salvation Army and the Adidem Group (owners of The Body Shop) to hear about what’s worked from our panel.

It’s challenging times to win support for your cause, but is more important than ever. Campaign consultant, Sylvia Csanyi, who has worked for the Greens and now Volunteering Victoria, explained the necessary skills and practices that good advocates require to a successful advocacy campaign strategy. You can access Sylvia’s powerpoint slides here. Dionne Kasian-Lew, CEO, The Social Executive, made an excellent point about speaking to your audience in a language that they understand. Zoe Waters, Director, Volunteer Services Department, Barwon Health pushed the audience to push themselves, their management and their team to elevate the importance of what they do. Finally, Shane Genziuk, Manager, CGU Help Services, gave us an insight into a corporate volunteering program and how it needs to be justified to management as it is a significant cost, but with huge benefits.

The feedback we have been received for the event has been wonderful (if you attended and would like to submit your thoughts, you can still do so here):

  • It was the first professional development opportunity that I have attended that focussed on strategy and how to influence “others”. Great to see training now offered to those that have worked within the volunteering sector for a while and are looking at a more strategic approach to their work.
  • I really loved hearing from Zoe Waters and found her very motivating. I also appreciated that there was quite a bit of time left at the end for questions. The topic of advocacy is of particular interest to me so I really enjoyed the session.
  • Topic, panel discussion, presentations, question time. Great format, and well done on working to elevate the importance of volunteering in the corporate/NFP sectors.

Volunteering Victoria would like to thank all those who attended the event, those who gave their time to speak, particularly Tara Cantwell or facilitator, our hosts the State Library, and especially to our event sponsor, NAB, who announced their exciting million hours of volunteering initiative.

So ends another National Volunteer Week. It’s been huge, thanks to all those involved in spreading the word. Based on the feedback from this event, there will be more resources and events coming on advocacy, so watch this space!

DSC_0828