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Volunteer Centre for Our City


“If I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all cities in the world. In the particular is contained the universal.� James Joyce 1944




Who we are


Our core values


Strategic intention


Strategic themes

Theme 1


Theme 2


Theme 3


Theme 4


INTRODUCTION We are pleased to present our Strategic Plan 2017-19. We have invested time researching and consulting with our stakeholders and we appreciate this contribution and insight from over 100 volunteers, volunteer-involving organisations, policy makers, funders, decision makers, sector leaders and our staff, volunteer and board team. All views and suggestions were listened to; ensuring our strategy, and our organisation, remains relevant, proactive and welcoming.


Although a new organisation, we are built on a solid legacy of quality and service delivery. We believe that the creation of Dublin City Volunteer Centre in 2014, through a merger of the city’s two existing volunteer centres, has enhanced both our capability and our capacity to serve the entire city. Our research confirmed our organisational strengths, which include our position within Dublin city, our presence as a resource for all volunteering matters, our emphasis on quality placements and our openness to possibilities. We will continue to build on these strengths to overcome the challenges that we will encounter in the course of our work. In particular, we acknowledge the challenges that are real in our city, such as people experiencing homelessness, inequality, unemployment, isolation, living with disability and mental health issues. We will continue to facilitate, support and showcase volunteering opportunities, while using volunteering as a tool to promote community engagement, positive social interaction and active citizenship in Dublin City. Our new Strategic Plan, with its four themes, provides us with a clear framework to guide and progress our work over the next three years. Our overriding intention is to deepen relationships and collaborative working so as to progress volunteering as a significant contributor to enhancing social inclusion and wellbeing within the city. The primary measures of our progress will be continued fidelity to the spirit of volunteering; an enhanced appreciation of volunteering as a valuable contribution to individual and societal well-being, along with the number and quality of volunteer placements and volunteering experiences within organisations working towards social inclusion and cohesion in the city. We are ready for our work over the coming years and we look forward to being the Volunteer Centre for Our City. We appreciate your support in helping us work towards our vision of a vibrant city where every person feels connected to their community through active participation in voluntary activities. Jack Clarke, Chairperson and Edwina Dewart, Manager. 3


DUBLIN CITY VOLUNTEER CENTRE (DCVC) was formed in 2014 from a merger between Dublin City North Volunteer Centre and Dublin City South Volunteer Centre. The Company is Limited by Guarantee (CLG) and governed by a Board of Directors. Although an independent company, we are part of the network of twenty-one Volunteer Centres and six Volunteer Information Services, affiliated to Volunteer Ireland. We are the hub for volunteering within Dublin city and cover the area, as is defined, by the Dublin City Council administrative boundaries.

A vibrant Irish society where every person feels connected to their community through active participation in voluntary activities.

OUR MISSION To promote the value of volunteering and increase the range and quality of volunteering in Dublin city.

WHAT WE DO Our work is anchored on social inclusion principles and policies. Volunteering fits well within the social inclusion policy framework because volunteering is a way of encouraging and supporting members of society on their journey towards reaching their full potential.

· We offer support, encouragement and guidance to organisations and individuals who have made a conscious decision to contribute to society through good practice volunteering.

· We support people seeking to volunteer their skills and time with nonprofit organisations.

· We serve community and nonprofit organisations by providing information, training, resources, matching, Garda vetting and support in all aspects of best practice volunteer management and leadership – ultimately helping them to

OUR WORK is aligned with the strategic objectives set out in the Quality Standards Framework for volunteer centres in Ireland. We celebrate and share our work through collaboration with other organisations, research and networking.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jack Clarke, Chairperson Eimear Hurley, Company Secretary Hilary Royston, Treasurer Seán Mullan Geraldine Comerford

fulfill their mission/objectives through volunteer engagement.

· We reach out to community and promote the value of volunteering through briefings, information sharing and hosting of volunteer-focused events.

We have a core team of six staff and a team of volunteers whom we engage to support the depth of our work. The Centre relocated to bigger premises, on Aungier Street, in the second half of 2014, which has enabled us to involve a greater diversity of volunteers in our work.

For more information on our staff and volunteers see 5


As an organisation that supports best practice in volunteer leadership and engagement we believe our core values should actively guide our actions and ways of working. When evaluating the effectiveness of our strategic plan we will also measure whether we have “lived out” our values.

EMPOWERING recognise that volunteering is · We a journey and our approach is to help people to help themselves through: dedicated one-to-one support; information; follow-ups; the opportunity to advocate for themselves or enabling support workers to empower their clients into volunteering. will provide and develop the · We right resources and supports for Volunteer-Involving Organisations (VIOs) so that they in turn can build quality volunteer programmes. will champion and challenge · We both great and poor volunteer management practices so that the sector and everyone benefits.

CREATIVE seek to be open and · We welcoming of new ideas and in our engagements with people. Managing complex challenges is not offputting. Rather, we will approach challenges with a spirit of curiosity and seek to find innovative solutions. do not presume to have all the · We answers on an individual basis but will seek to maximise the collective abilities of our team in creative ways; thus adding to the enjoyment of our work. digest information in a · People variety of formats and our desire is to be creative and imaginative in our resources.

COLLABORATIVE will seek to build on our · We relationships with our current and future partners in order to progress new initiatives and create an enabling environment for volunteerism. value people and relationships · We and will seek to balance a personcentred approach with the demands of our work – both internally and externally. will share our resources, · We research and experience in a spirit of learning and reciprocity with our sister Volunteer Centres and the wider sector.

supports and information · The we provide will be tailored, yet realistic, to help manage everyone’s expectations.



We created this Strategic Plan through consultation with our stakeholders during the last quarter of 2016. The methodology was open, inclusive and involved background research, an open e-consultation hosted on DCVC website and a series of internal and external stakeholder consultations. Over one hundred people contributed their views to the strategic planning process. We are grateful to all who gave of their time and considered input. Through this process we confirmed that our work is valued and needed. In particular we know that volunteers enjoy volunteering and that careful matching, good reliable information and strong support enhance their volunteering experience. We will continue to offer this support through our volunteer placement support services. We know that organisations value the contribution of volunteers to progress their work, much of which encompasses social inclusion priorities. These organisations are eager to honour best practice in their volunteer management processes and practice. We will continue to offer support to organisations through our volunteer support services, volunteer management, Garda vetting, information briefings and workshops.


OUR STRATEGIC INTENTIONS FOR 2017-2019 We have set the following strategic intentions for our work over the next three years: • We will welcome all who seek to volunteer their skills and time for the greater good. • We will continue to register, support and guide volunteers through our website, workshops and support services. • We will support organisations to harness and value the contribution that volunteers offer, to progress the work of their organisations, through our ethical and quality standards, workshops, resources materials and support. • We will align our work with current government policy and priorities of social inclusion, integration, community engagement and well-being. • We will work alongside like-minded organisations in Dublin city, with a particular emphasis on carefully selected social inclusion themes. • We will bring attention to what feels good, ethical and enjoyable about volunteering and bring more of this to the fore in our work to support volunteers and organisations. • We will strengthen our governance, organisational capacity and practice to ensure that our work is in line with the highest quality standards set for volunteering. • We will track and monitor the impact of our work particularly as it contributes to progressing social inclusion themes within the city.




STRATEGIC THEMES FOR DCVC WORK 2017-19 We will anchor our work on four strategic themes as depicted below:


EXPAND AWARENESS OF VOLUNTEERING Theme One centres on expanding awareness of volunteering in the city.




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OUR WORK UNDER THIS THEME WILL INCLUDE: 1. Developing our promotional material, messages and information so as to reach our target audience(s). 2. Promoting volunteering as worthwhile on many levels (e.g. health, well-being, psychological, employment, engagement) and sharing the stories of volunteering experiences to deepen awareness. 3. Advertising volunteer roles through our website, I-VOL and other digital platforms. 4. Providing targeted Volunteer Information Evenings and Events (VIEs and Volunteer Fairs). 5. Supporting and disseminating research that raises awareness of volunteering, the spirit and value of volunteering. 6. Encourage positive media coverage of volunteering, community engagement and active citizenship. 7. Outreaching in a targeted way, into the city, so as to expand awareness of our work in support of volunteering.

PROGRESS INDICATORS TO TRACK: We will know that we are making progress on Strategic Theme One when we see the following signs: •


Refinement of our promotional material and website to reach specific target audiences. Production and purposeful dissemination of stories of volunteering through DCVC website and wider media. DCVC contribution to meaningful and targeted research that expands understanding and appreciation of volunteering and its value. Positive feedback on volunteering experiences from volunteers and VIOs as evidenced through our surveys.




ENCOURAGE COMMUNITY Theme Two is all about community and the contribution that volunteering makes to community engagement, community integration, community participation and community development and enrichment. Our work under this theme during 20172019 has two strands and will include the following actions, many of which are a continuance and strengthening of our existing work:





1. Registering those interested in volunteering. 2. Providing an up-to-date database of volunteering opportunities and support for volunteers searching for suitable opportunities online, 3. Matching volunteers to placements. 4. Working actively with volunteers and in particular those who are most vulnerable. 5. Supporting volunteers through one to one and group/cluster engagements, as appropriate, in accordance with need. 6. Providing feedback forums for volunteers to share their stories. 7. Creating a dynamic hub for volunteering and active citizenship. 8. Developing peer support arrangements for volunteers to maximise engagement, social interaction and networking.

PROGRESS INDICATORS TO TRACK: We will know that we are making progress on Strand One of Strategic Theme Two when we see the following signs: •

• • • • •

Steady increase in numbers registering interest in volunteering (I-VOL tracking) with particular emphasis on social inclusion themes. Profile of people volunteering. Profile of VIOs mapped onto social inclusion themes. Creation of peer support arrangements that work well for volunteers. Creation of feedback forums and metrics to track volunteer experiences. Positive feedback received on volunteering as evidenced through our bespoke tracking methods and metrics.

1. Being a hub of support for organisations. 2. Designing and delivering a range of supports for volunteer involving organisations including volunteer management training. 3. Strengthening our response to the needs of organisations and responding to their calls for support and resources under specific themes, e.g. good practice governance, social inclusion, participation, research, information, themed briefings and one to one mentoring. 4. Providing a fast and efficient Garda Vetting service. 5. Encouraging the use of multiple screening tools to support best practice and to ensure the safety of the people that use the services. 6. Developing innovative support systems, resources and arrangements for those organisations that most need our support and guidance. 7. Listening and responding to the needs of volunteer involving organisations, and integrating this work into our social inclusion goals.

PROGRESS INDICATORS TO TRACK: We will know that we are making progress on Strand Two of Strategic Theme Two when we see the following signs: • •

• •


Repeat use of our services and supports by our current cohort of VIOs. Increase in the number and profile of VIOs seeking, using and appreciating our supports, with specific emphasis on social inclusion themes. Positive feedback on our Garda vetting services and other supports provided. Design of additional resource materials and supports for VIOs in tune with identified needs.




CULTIVATE CONNECTIONS Theme Three is about the way we want to work with and alongside other organisations who serve Dublin City as a community. Our intention is to cultivate connections with our colleagues in other organisations. The rationale is to maximise all our resources, support each other’s work and drive our shared social inclusion priorities. In particular we are eager to continue partnerships with organisations that we have worked with and supported in the past and deepen this work. We are also keen to seek out new specific partnership and collaboration opportunities that fit our social inclusion priorities. We note that the DCC Development Plan for the City refers to ‘a new energy for civic participation, social entrepreneurship, volunteerism and collaboration across the community, cultural, corporate and institutional sectors’. We want to work with like minded organisations, in a spirit of reciprocity, to align our work with these high level goals.

OUR WORK UNDER THIS THEME WILL INCLUDE: 1. Continuing our work in partnership with Volunteer Ireland and our sister Volunteer Centres in the City and beyond. 2. Being part of the development of the volunteering infrastructure along with Volunteer Ireland. 3. Further developing our age friendly work. 4. Seeking opportunities for collaboration with organisations locally, nationally and internationally including universities, colleges, social enterprises, corporate and community organisations. 5. Working to ensure our partnerships progress a specific social inclusion theme or work with a specific group, e.g. people experiencing homelessness, people living with disabilities, members of the travelling community, people who have experienced migration, refugees, asylum seekers, older people, youth, etc.



Theme Four is about being a reliable organisation that is committed to organisational development, good governance and financial stability. Our intention is to do this through our adherence to best practice governance, quality standards and strategic decision making to meet our stated objectives and agreements with our funders.



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PROGRESS INDICATORS TO TRACK: We will know that we are making progress on Strategic Theme Three when we see the following signs:


We will know we are making progress when we see the following:

Three new collaborative projects with strategic partners, based on specific social inclusion themes, in each year of our plan. Strengthened working relationships with specific organisations as evidenced through case studies detailing the progress of collaborative work on social inclusion themes. Progression of actions set out in the VI/ VCs WeBT Action Plan 2017.

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Producing annual work programmes; including a communications plan, to structure our work under each of the four strategic themes. Signing up to The Governance Code. Managing our financial resources correctly and transparently in line with our funders’ requirements. Tracking and evaluating the contribution that our work makes to deepening awareness of the value of volunteering and progressing social inclusion in the city. Committing to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and networking with a view to strengthening our organisational capacity and competence to respond to evolving needs of the city. Developing our internal systems, supports and policies for those who volunteer in DCVC to model “best in class” in volunteer management and leadership. Building reflective practice into our way of working to strengthen our praxis in line with the quality standards.

Preparation, implementation and tracking of our annual work programme completed and approved by our Board. Full compliance with The Governance Code. Completion of three CPD activities by DCVC team annually and development of a suite of resources to support those who volunteer with our organisation. Integration of reflective practice into our way of working (2 per annum feeding into review of our work programme). Achievement of Quality Standards award (Volunteer Ireland).


Dublin City Volunteer Centre Unit 4, Whitefriars Aungier Street , Dublin 2 D02 XT21 01 473 7482 CRO 401909 / CHY 16525 / Charity Registration 20059736

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Profile for Dublin City Volunteer Centre

Volunteer Centre for Our City  

Dublin City Volunteer Centre Strategic Plan 2017 - 2019.

Volunteer Centre for Our City  

Dublin City Volunteer Centre Strategic Plan 2017 - 2019.