The Volunteering Brain Project

Volunteer Scotland are working in partnership with ACOSVO to co-design a new leadership approach to volunteering. 

Brain Project Gateway

The shared aim is to support the Scottish Government’s ‘Volunteering for All’ Framework for growth and inclusion. To work with sector leaders to shape new thinking on making changes in our volunteer engagement and shared future.

Covid-19 has brought a potential for renewal in volunteering, and shared learning for change. Through the Scotland Cares campaign over 35,000 people signed up to volunteer and there is a unique opportunity to generate their engagement locally, and nationally. There will be a complementary programme to invite a cohort of these into a ‘Brain bank’ response where we aim to attract new leaders into the sector and help address the anticipated need for new talent.

To kick start the project we hosted a focus group session on Wednesday, July 29th for ACOSVO members and voluntary sector Chief Executives to help shape and design a 9-month initiative on the future of volunteering in Scotland.

The participation from across the sector has been refreshing and insightful, with around 20 participants supporting each session and taking on the role as a System Steward to identify provocations that will help re-knew the conversations and thinking on volunteer engagement. 

Using the Human Learning System approach, which is completely new to all the participants, has opened up conversations and thinking differently leading to examining a day in the life of volunteering and questioning our ‘normal’ practices for volunteer engagement.

The focus groups, along with a wider influencers group, have identified provocations for consideration - all focused-on volunteer engagement:

  • Hospitality; in terms of welcome, language and listening. 
  • Informal and formal; challenging comparative formality and structure. 
  • Diversity and inclusion; exploring associated barriers, myths and good practice

The last session for the working group takes place on 3rd December 2020, which working groups will consider how to these provocations will help support the Volunteering for All Framework.