Bay News Editor and reporter for NZME.

Volunteer organiser helps to run events

Theo Ursum, Volunteer Western Bay of Plenty General Manager. Photo/George Novak
Theo Ursum, Volunteer Western Bay of Plenty General Manager. Photo/George Novak

Volunteering Bay of Plenty has put its hand up to manage volunteer programmes and assist with event volunteer management.

General manager Theo Ursum says no volunteer centre in the country has done this before "so it's quite exciting".

"Currently we are talking to one organisation to become their volunteer co-ordinator. This organisation acknowledges that volunteers are very important but realises that the organisations haven't got the experience and manpower to take their volunteer programme to the next level. That's where we fit in."

"We have been contracted a couple of times to assist organisations with coordinating their event volunteers. They realised that they needed to put all their efforts into running the actual event and needed an external experienced person to coordinate their volunteers on the day."

Theo says it decided to become involved with the sector as a lot of organisations did not have a dedicated volunteer coordinator.

"Most of the time it is the manager that is also overseeing the volunteers. With the manager working hard for the cause of the organisation, it is not always easy for that person to spend enough time on developing a solid volunteer programme, running it and making optimal use of the volunteers."

"With all the experience that we have, we are keen to assist organisations on this level. A vibrant volunteer programme means happy active volunteers, and continued influx of new
volunteers which makes it easier for the manager to support and grow the organisation's services."

As VBOP is not for profit there would be a cost involved, he says.

"The organisation will need to pay for services but will be able to apply for funding for initiatives. Philanthropics are keen to see organisations working together for a better outcome, so this fits nicely."

Welcome Bay Family Music Festival event manager Antoon Moonen says the support it received in the lead up and on the day from the VBOP volunteer centre was great.

"The difference in volunteer organisation between this year and last, when we did it alone, as chalk and cheese. The management of our 100-plus volunteers, far exceeded the respectable cost for the service provided by the Volunteer Centre."

Tauranga City Council strategic and city events acting manager Jenna Quay says it is interested to understand what Volunteer Bay of Plenty is looking to achieve "and work with them to see what the opportunities are for our local event industry".

She says it recommends that event organisers use VolunteerNet via the industry body New Zealand Association of Event Professionals (NZAEP).

VolunteerNet is a free online tool connecting people with events throughout New Zealand.

It is managed by NZAEP and provides resources, tools and advice for both volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations that co-ordinate events.

The council currently drew on its own staff to act in volunteer roles if required for events.

"Council staff have been police vetted as part of their employment which is a requirement under the Vulnerable Children's Act for local government organisations," she says.

* For more information on VBOP phone 571 3714 or www.volbop.org.nz

- Bay News

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