Our Favorite Conference for Leaders of Volunteers is Back!

Our Favorite Conference for Leaders of Volunteers is Back!

Did you attend the 2017 National Summit on Volunteer Engagement Leadership in St. Paul, Minnesota? If so, you know how valuable the experience was.

Attendees praised the conference for serving as a forum that harnessed the energy and flexed the strengths of our community of passionate leaders.

#VolMgmt bloggers recapped their key conference takeaways, too — from the importance of having a mentor in the field to leaving a greater impact on volunteer engagement than you found it (and eight more perspectives in between).

This year’s conference, again hosted by the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA), will follow up on last year’s discussions, exploring next steps and beyond. So if you missed it last year, there’s plenty of reasons to attend this year’s conference.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what two of your peers are looking forward to:

Sarah Berres
Sarah Berres, volunteer coordinator, Metro North Adult Basic Education

Working in education, I spend a lot of time in training to better understand our students and teachers needs. As the only volunteer coordinator, I’m also responsible for our foundation, outreach, and communication. You can see how my time is limited.

I’ve always struggled to see the full cost value of me attending conferences when there is little that addresses my specific training needs. As volunteer managers, we are responsible for such diverse roles in our organizations and play a key part in their overall success.

The 2017 National Summit, hosted by MAVA, was the first conference I attended that addressed each of my roles and responsibilities. At this conference, every single person around me “got” what I do and why I do it.

I was able to implement a takeaway from each of my sessions thereafter.

I successfully persuaded my supervisor to allow me to purchase a volunteer training book. After the “Advocating for Your Cause” session, I spoke with our director about recruiting volunteers to engage in organizational lobbying. And, most importantly, during the conference, I connected with volunteer managers from across the country and left feeling more energized about my work than ever.

MAVA supports the needs of each volunteer manager, no matter your organization or how many “hats” you wear. There is a depth of content at the MAVA conference that focuses on your personal and professional development as a volunteer leader.

At this conference, volunteer managers celebrate each other and the value we provide our communities. Anyone working with volunteers would benefit from this conference and I am looking forward to another inspiring few days with people who “get” me.

I hope to see you at the 2018 MAVA Conference!”

—Sarah Berres, volunteer coordinator, Metro North Adult Basic Education

Kristina Wilkes
Kristina Wilkes, senior volunteer coordinator, Museum of Science & Industry Chicago


The volunteer management profession is at a very unique point in its history. The Silent Generation, baby boomers, and millennials are all joining the volunteer population with different goals and with different needs in mind.

Trying to identify and adapt to the changing environment can sometimes feel like an exercise in reinventing the wheel. The opportunity to attend The National Summit on Volunteer Engagement in St. Paul, Minnesota last year was something I hoped would help me bridge my personal knowledge gaps.

There were many wonderful moments during the Summit that I shared with my colleagues when I returned to Chicago. Hearing Betty Stallings and Susan Ellis talk about professional growth was inspiring and had me enthusiastic about what my future in the industry could be.

Sharing frustrations over the limits of volunteer management software with others in the same situation was a cathartic exercise. Even thinking about volunteer insurance issues was something new and different, and a valuable way to spend my time. However, the largest takeaway for me was just how young this industry felt.

We aren’t just reinventing the wheel in volunteer management; in many areas, we have the opportunity to be the inventors.

From best practices in volunteer recognition to adapting to the changing needs of volunteers, the future of our profession is being written right now! Attending events like the 2018 MAVA Conference will only help you build partnerships that will shape what it means to be a leader of volunteers over the next decade and beyond.

No matter where you’re located, get to Minnesota in 2018 and help us elevate our profession. It’s happening now, and you have a unique opportunity to invent the wheels that propel us and our industry forward.”

—Kristina Wilkes, senior volunteer coordinator, Museum of Science & Industry Chicago

 

Early-bird registration for the 2018 Mava Conference | Volunteer Engagement Leadership: Next Steps & Beyond is now live through April 2. Learn more and register.

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