Lead national volunteering into the future

Published : Wed 11th Jan

For many of our visitors, National Trust volunteers are the face of our organisation, and every site we own depends on their hard work and dedication. But ask a few people what kind of image the words ‘National Trust volunteer’ bring to mind, and you’d probably get lots of very similar answers. And while it’s all too easy to make assumptions about this huge, dedicated group, the real picture is much more complex than most people realise – and it’s changing fast. 

While room guides are perhaps our most easily-recognised volunteers, a large proportion is busy outdoors fulfilling our conservation ambitions. They protect and conserve our gardens, parkland and coastlines –creating flower beds, checking on livestock and maintaining footpaths so our supporters can access our more remote places. But whatever the task, we’re incredibly lucky that so many people give us their time, and it’s important that we draw on a base of volunteers as diverse as the landscapes and properties we care for. The responsibility we’ve been given is huge, and it’s vital that we plan for how to evolve it over the coming years.

That’s why the role of Head of Volunteering is so important. It’s a well-established position, with the resources, budget, and profile to match. But it needs energy and fresh ideas to make sure that volunteering continues to provide both the exceptional level of service that the Trust depends on and the enriching experiences that keep people coming back. We need someone capable of bringing true thought-leadership, driving the strategic direction and development of volunteering across the Trust. Because ours is one of the largest bodies of volunteers in the country, the impact they make is also felt outside the organisation, even providing an example for other organisations in our peer-group to follow. 

The Head of Volunteering interacts with people across all levels and departments within the organisation. And with competing demands on their time and attention, they need the energy, goodwill, and resilience to stay focused on their own agenda and objectives, as well as contributing positively to the work done by many others.