Pivot Online Conference 2020

Register below.

The pandemic has resulted in a pivot in our delivery methods, our 2020 Pivot Volunteer Conference will be going ahead as scheduled on Wednesday 21 October as an online event.

Connecting, innovating and collaborating has never been more relevant or more vital. Join us virtually through a 1 day conference on Wednesday 21 October, we will explore the current and future state of volunteering. This is followed by a 3-part Volunteer Manager seminar series, exploring the essentials of volunteer management for 2020 and beyond. This series kicks off in November.

The Pivot Conference theme “Linking vision to action” challenges leaders and managers of volunteers to translate new ideas shared at Pivot into action within their organisation and practice.

Through Pivot, attendees are empowered to meaningfully lead, advocate for, and develop volunteers and volunteerism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Leaders and managers of volunteers will be inspired by a range of speakers who are experts in their fields. Pivot is a chance to connect with peers, and to share and learn together. With a range of International and New Zealand practitioners and thought leaders, participants will leave inspired and invigorated with skills and ideas.

There are two key events:

  • Pivot online conference: Wednesday 21 October.
  • Rob Jackson’s Volunteer Manager Seminar Series (3 x 1hr sessions, 11 Nov, 25 Nov and 9 Dec).


We are doing things a bit differently this year

Our bookings will be managed through Humanitix this year and events can be booked separately.

Our 2018 and 2019 conferences sold out, so secure your place today. We are offering a limited number of early-bird tickets this year! Pricing is as follows:

Pivot online conference: Wednesday 21 October 9.30 to 2.30 – We are offering a limited number of early-bird tickets this year starting from $75.
Rob Jackson’s Volunteer Manager Seminar Series – 3 x 1 hour sessions for $69.

Tickets are limited. Booking fees and GST will be charged on top of this.

Registrations are now open. Fill out the form below to attend. Early bird prices currently apply.


Volunteer Manager Seminar Series - Book Now

Pivot Conference Schedule

  • 9.30 am – Opening, karakia, introduction to the day. 
  • 10.00 am – Keynote – Chris Jarvis, Realized Worth: Virtual volunteering
  • 11.00 am – State of Volunteering – Panel discussion
  • 12.00 pm – Choose from: Citizen science or New ways of working
  • 12.30 pm – Choose from: Recruit more volunteers or Enabling impactful service  
  • 1.00 pm – Elevating the Voice of Volunteers – Hear directly from volunteers.
  • 2.00pm Networking and connecting.
  • 2.30pm Closing.

Please note that our timetable may still be subject to a tweak or two.

Speakers and Presenters

Click on the images below to learn more about our speakers for the day.

Karen Smith


Karen is our previous Board Chair at VNZ. She completed a PhD thesis in 1999 titled 'The management of volunteers at heritage attractions: literary heritage properties in the UK' at Nottingham Trent University, working at the University of Greenwich before moving to Victoria University of Wellington in 2003 and rising to full professor in 2017.

Smith's research focuses on the management of volunteers, particularly at large sporting events. She has conducted projects related to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, London 2012 Olympic Games (funded by the International Olympic Committee) and the Rugby World Cup 2011 (funded by Sport New Zealand).

In the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours, Smith was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to education and volunteering

Karen Smith

Teana Macdonald

Youth intern, Wellington City Mission

I am a young adult who grew up here in Wellington. I am passionate about using the skills and talents I have to create community and journey alongside people from hardship to wholeness. After completing a social justice gap year in 2019 through the NZ Church Missionary Society, I started a job at the Wellington City Mission. I am currently doing a youth internship here. As apart of this I am looking into youth engagement in the volunteering space. Alongside this I do youth work in Porirua.

Teana Macdonald

Michelle Kitney

Chief Executive at Volunteering New Zealand

Michelle brings a valuable mix of management and leadership skills, and the ability to work collaboratively and innovatively. She is well known and respected within the sector and is passionate about increasing recognition for the value and impact of volunteering. Michelle has a background in communications, marketing and community engagement, and volunteer leadership. She has previously worked for a social enterprise, in the public sector and within the publishing and training industries and holds several governance leadership roles in the community sector.

Michelle Kitney

Scott Miller

CEO of Volunteering Victoria

Scott joined Volunteering Victoria in July 2018 as the organisation’s new CEO. In his previous role, Scott was Chief Executive of Volunteering New Zealand’s for 3.5 years. His extensive cross-sector experience in public, private and NGO roles ensures the organisation’s people, purpose and priorities are both sustainable and sector-leading.

Scott is active internationally, consulting on democracy, civil society and volunteering.

Scott Miller

Shawn Elise Tierney

Litter Intelligence Programme Manager

Shawn Elise Tierney is the Litter Intelligence Programme Manager for Sustainable Coastlines. She leads the team on this ground-breaking programme to recruit, train & support citizen scientists to monitor beaches for rubbish to build a national database and action platform. She is passionate about waste-reduction, community collaboration, and protecting the natural environment.

Shawn Elise Tierney

Chris Jarvis

Realized Worth, RW Institute (RWI)

Chris Jarvis is a co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Realized Worth, a global agency focused on the design and implementation of employee-led volunteering and giving programs. His work with companies around the world is helping to mobilize employees to make meaningful contributions in the communities where they live and work.

Widely known for his thought-leadership in employee volunteering, workplace giving and corporate social responsibility, in 2011, Chris was asked by the United Nations Office of Partnerships to design and launch the first private sector led initiative to achieve the post-millennial Sustainable Development Goals through corporate volunteering. Chris serves on the board of IMPACT 2030, the only business led effort designed to unite companies in their corporate volunteering efforts to address the United Nations’ Development Agenda.

In 2015, Chris and his partner, Angela Parker, launched the RW Institute (RWI), a think tank focused on advancing the practice and theory of corporate citizenship through innovative projects, research, analysis and public policy change. RWI is comprised of an association of stakeholders who are committed to removing existing barriers and promoting the practice and theory of corporate volunteering on a global scale.

The goal is to help practitioners be more successful – whether they are clients, engaged formally or not. Chris believes the work these men and women do as part of corporate citizenship is critical to addressing the huge social and environmental issues facing our global society.

Chris Jarvis

Rebecca Miller

Head of SEEK Volunteer

2020 has been a year of change and opportunity. Come along to understand from SEEK Volunteer the shifts that have occurred in volunteer intentions, coupled with the changes in the labour market, which will help you be more targeted with your volunteer recruitment.

Rebecca Miller

Annabelle Klap

St John

Annabelle leads Talent Sourcing and Volunteer Sustainability at St John New Zealand, an organisation with a workforce that includes over 3,500 paid staff and 10,000 volunteers. Leading a team of 15 talented specialists, her team are responsible for recruiting over 3,000 internal and external roles across ambulance, commercial, charitable and corporate business units every year as well as a smaller team who support the volunteer sustainability strategy, implementations plan and initiatives. In 2018 Annabelle was asked to develop the next 5 years Volunteer Sustainability strategy for St John. This strategy seeks to support and enhance the multi-million dollar equivalent contribution that St John’s volunteers make, and that the organisation relies on, in order to deliver its programmes and services to communities across New Zealand.

Annabelle Klap

Leisa de Klerks

Manager of Volunteer South in Dunedin and Waitaki

Leisa is the Manager of Volunteer South in Dunedin and Waitaki. She has spent the last decade working in the volunteer sector and has set up volunteer programmes and supported volunteers across the country.

Leisa de Klerks

Conference contributors

Anna Wong

Volunteer Coordinator, IHC

Anna works for IHC as a Volunteer Coordinator based in Auckland Central/West and has been involved in the volunteer sector for six years. Her current role involves recruiting and training volunteers to be in a friendship with people with intellectual disabilities; facilitating these friendships; and creating awareness and inclusion of people with intellectual disability in their communities. Anna volunteers herself, building houses and shelters with Habitat for Humanity in Fiji and New Zealand.

Anna Wong

Sue Vyas

National Volunteer Manager, Blind Low Vision NZ

Worked with Blind Low Vision for 15 years, last ten years as a volunteer professional. We have over 5000 volunteers including street appeal collectors. Around 2000 are engaged directly or indirectly with our clients and staff; and as guide dog volunteers.

Blind Low Vision NZ volunteers are a diverse group of people who provide support with Technology, Recreation, Fundraising, Guide Dogs, Collage Book Production, Library, Accessible Formats, Administrative functions and Vision Support. They complement a wide range of services to empower people who are blind, deadfblind or have low vision live the life they choose.

Sue Vyas


Volunteer Manager Seminar Series

Join Rob Jackson, a respected and world-renowned expert in the voluntary sector. Journey with Rob as he helps you to get even better at engaging, leading and managing your volunteers. These will be delivered by zoom, and the cost of $69 +gst and booking fees covers all three sessions. The dates for these are:

  • 11 November, 10.00-11.00 am – “Understanding the context for volunteer engagement” 
  • 25 November, 10.00-11.00 am – “Developing meaningful volunteer roles / recruitment top tips” 
  • 9 December, 10.00-11.00 am – “Supporting volunteers”
Book Now

The conference was everything I expected and more; great opportunities to learn, share, and network. 

Volunteer Marlborough

Well organised; the speakers were excellent and I really enjoyed the day. Thank you

Department of Corrections

Thoroughly enjoyed the day and the opportunity to connect with others and share best practice around volunteerism. 

Scouts New Zealand