HAZEL FINNEY, VOLUNTEER WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF VOLUNTEER MANAGERS

Hazel is a volunteer with the Association of Volunteer Managers (AVM), and Lead for Volunteering at Community Impact Bucks (CIB). She volunteered with CIB as their Expert Volunteer Coordinator, before applying for her previous staff role at the organisation as Volunteering Adviser. She has also volunteered with the national charity Auditory Verbal UK as Expert Volunteer Adviser, and Chiltern Citizens Advice as a Marketing Strategist.

How long have you been volunteering?  The majority of my volunteering has taken place in the last 8 years – but when I was at school I also volunteered as a helper with my local Brownie pack, and in a role that would now be described as a befriender.

What drew you to start volunteering and what attracted you to these roles?  I volunteer with the Association of Volunteer Managers because the work that it does to support people who recruit and manage volunteers, and to professionalise volunteer management, is absolutely fantastic – so I’m more than happy to help the organisation in any way that I can.  I volunteered with CIB and Auditory Verbal UK when I was considering a new career in volunteer management, and both roles provided me with excellent experience and insight into the profession.  The volunteer role with Chiltern Citizens Advice was an opportunity for me to dip my toe into the charity sector for the very first time, and it proved that I had a lot of transferable skills gained from the corporate world.

What difference has volunteering made to you personally?  Volunteering has opened up a whole new world of experiences, people and possibilities.

Has your volunteering experience helped with your career?  Absolutely!  Volunteering enabled me to gain the experience necessary to transition from the private to the charity sector.  I used to be a Marketing Manager, and now I’m doing something very different – although my communications skills come in extremely handy for when I’m running campaigns to promote volunteering in Buckinghamshire, writing blogs and putting together and delivering training courses and workshops.  Volunteering with the Association of Volunteer Managers has enabled me to increase my national network within the volunteer management profession.

What are the most challenging bits of volunteering?  I’ve really enjoyed all of my volunteer roles, and it can be quite easy to want to give more and more of your time.  But, of course, this isn’t always practical, so it’s necessary to keep this at front of mind and rein yourself in when necessary!

What difference does your volunteering role make to others? I hope that my volunteering has enabled charitable organisations to improve the lives of their beneficiaries by giving them increased capacity to deliver their services.

Would you recommend volunteering and if so why?  In one word – yes!  I’m a passionate believer in the power of volunteering to enhance both volunteers’ lives and the organisations that they support.  It is a low risk strategy of trying something different, using existing skills, and learning new ones, building confidence, meeting new people – the list of benefits is huge!  If you’re considering volunteering – don’t hesitate – just give it a go!

There is a volunteer role out there for everyone – visit Community Impact Bucks or call 0300 111 1250

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