Supporting, encouraging and recognising the work of our volunteers and staff

| November 14, 2018

As part of the RSGB’s five-year strategy, we strive to enhance support and recognition of our volunteers, as well as developing ways of working with them more closely. With just 11 full-time and 5 part- time members of staff managing all of the commercial and operational functions of the Society, our 800-plus volunteers, who deliver local and national services, are the backbone of our organisation.

Regional advice and support activities are coordinated locally by District Representatives (DRs) and regionally by Regional Representatives (RRs). To enable our representatives to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information relating to all of the Society’s activities, a project is underway to update and improve the availability of information through our website.

How can we ensure that our volunteers feel part of the organisation?
Our volunteers need to know the differences that their efforts make to the success of the RSGB.

We have many opportunities for self-development or to take the lead in one or more of the Society’s wider roles. We have over 20 specialist Committees and Groups, each with a specific focus and all need continued injection of new and updated expert input. Several Committees have formal recognition outside of the RSGB and are represented by our volunteers in Government and academic policy groups, both in UK and internationally.

Work is in progress to develop clearer definitions of individual Committee responsibilities and a better way of ensuring interaction and sharing of information between our experts. It is important that the views of all interested Members are properly represented through the appropriate Committees. The volunteer structure within the RSGB is being examined to ensure that it continues to meet the changing needs of our volunteers and Members.

How can we improve our communication with our volunteers?
The RSGB is committed to improving the communication with both its Members and volunteers. Technology allows for efficient distribution of information to volunteers. We centrally administer many targeted email circulation lists that keep volunteers up-to-date with news and changes, together with RSGB Affiliated Club News and GB2RS news bulletins. Plus, of course, there’s RadCom, sent to all Members.

The Volunteer Leadership Team (VLT) was launched in 2018 to provide a vehicle for formal interaction between the Regional Teams, Committees, Honorary Officers and the Board. Mixed working groups during the meetings ensure that input is captured from all the volunteer groups. Focusing upon specific topics at each meeting ensures that the Board is alerted to the needs of volunteers and can more confidently make decisions based upon meaningful input.

How can we better prepare our volunteers for the roles they undertake and regularly update them?
To be effective, volunteers must be regularly kept abreast of changes to policy and aware of organisational changes and projects.

Proposed changes are carefully cascaded to relevant groups of volunteers in a planned order to ensure that each receives the necessary information in advance of publication in RadCom, GB2RS and on social media. Where time allows, and for larger initiatives, the VLT is briefed ahead of any wider publicity to ensure that our volunteers are able to confidently answer queries from Members and clubs.

Training for the Regional Team has been in place for some years and efforts are being made to ensure that new appointees receive training soon after appointment, together with regular updates for existing DRs and RRs.

How will our volunteers know that they are fulfilling the organisation’s objectives for their role?
Every volunteer deserves regular feedback on their performance. It is important that volunteers not only secure personal satisfaction from their efforts, but that they are also aware of the benefit of their efforts to the wider organisation. Honest, constructive two-way feedback is encouraged.

Committee Chairs, Honorary Officers and the Regional Team report to their respective Board Liaison Member. Any shared or major issues are identified and tabled at each Board meeting.

Further support and training will be given to Committee Chairs, Honorary Officers and the Regional Team to ensure that volunteers know the value of their individual contributions.


  • Further development of the Volunteer Leadership Team (VLT) – three meetings are planned for 2019 (March, July and November). A small planning group drawn from the VLT meets regularly to consider suggested meeting topics and priorities. Ideas for future VLT meetings may be sent to John Rogers via email to
  • Initiatives are underway to improve the toolkit available for Regional and District Representatives in supporting clubs and individual Members. These additional resources build on the already popular seasonal club briefings highlighting news and progress.
  • The volunteer organisation of the RSGB is being studied by a Board member to establish if any changes are necessary. The objective is to improve and clarify volunteer communications between each other, the Board and HQ. An interim report for discussion and consideration is expected by early 2019.
  • An ongoing review to update the terms of reference of all Committees and Honorary Officers is to seek clarity of purpose. This work started in 2017, and will identify and seek to resolve overlaps in responsibility between Committees and fill any gaps.
  • We have seen a recent increased number of responses to advertisements for committee and other volunteer vacancies. The recruitment and selection process will continue to be transparent and is based on experience and knowledge. All short-listed applicants will have the benefit of an interview, either face-to-face or via Skype. Current volunteer vacancies are listed on the RSGB website at or for those Members interested in seeking election to the Board, please send an email to
  • Work to increase feedback to volunteers and provide individual support continues. Whilst a formalised process would be time- consuming, we must ensure that all volunteers are able to discuss any issues in an open and constructive manner and any priority issues addressed (and actioned promptly, where possible).
  • We are increasing the links with external Specialist Interest Groups (SIGs) who may not have an obvious or designated route for communication with the RSGB. An additional Honorary Officer has recently been appointed who will co-ordinate the dialogue with all SIGs. Early discussions have been very positive and we look forward to more closely supporting the groups.

What further should the RSGB be doing for its volunteers? If you have ideas or requests that you would like to share then please email them straight to me via

Ian Shepherd, G4EVK, RSGB Board Chairman

Category: RSGB Strategy 2022