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Blog: How volunteering as a Volunteer Manager gave me Insights, Connection and Purpose

Avi Kay
Anne Tommerbakk

In March 2020, I was excited to start as a Volunteer Management volunteer with the Helen Bamber Foundation. Little did I know we were on the brink of a year of back-to-back lockdowns. My first day in the office was cancelled last minute, and a few days later, I left my flat in London to go and stay with my parents in Norway until ‘the worst had passed’. And guess what? I’m still in Norway. To this day I have only ever volunteered remotely.

Working Remotely

I have been volunteering since September. Every Tuesday, I sit down with my laptop, have a catch up with my manager Avi, and then start working on my tasks for the day. The nature of my role means that my to-do list differs every week, ranging from data entry to survey analysis to updating volunteers’ records. All of these tasks help towards managing and supporting the many volunteers who support the Helen Bamber Foundation every week in a wide range of roles.

Feeling Connected

I’ve also been involved in the Operations Team, which has allowed me to gain an understanding of what goes into running an organisation, and the structures and processes that enable everyone at the foundation to carry out their work. What I’ve enjoyed most about volunteering at the Helen Bamber Foundation, has been the feeling of connection with all of my colleagues here, staff and volunteers alike.  

Part of something bigger

Working with people in a wide variety of roles (whether that’s medical, legal, therapy, counter-trafficking, housing and welfare or community and integration) has helped me to see that I am part of something bigger, and that together we are achieving something really important.

The impact of volunteers

My role is a bit “meta”: I’m a volunteer who helps manage other volunteers! But, this work has shown me just how great an impact volunteers have. I know that everything volunteers do for the Helen Bamber Foundation contributes to helping someone, which makes me feel accomplished as a volunteer and proud to be part of the organisation. 

A unique experience

I am glad to say that volunteering remotely hasn’t lessened my experience in any way, and I have been very fortunate to be in a role that could easily be done remotely. The social aspect of coming into the office every week may be missing, but the sense of community I feel when talking to other volunteers is still strong. Volunteering remotely has left me with a completely different experience than many other volunteers, but I have enjoyed every part of it. I have now finished my studies in London, and I don’t know if I will return to the city, but I hope to continue volunteering with the Helen Bamber Foundation for as long as they’ll have me!