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SEPTEMBER 2013: 19th Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference
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9/10/2013 to 9/11/2013
When: 9/10/2013

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19th Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference 

10-11th September 2013, Sheffield Hallam University, UK


This is the primary UK conference for the voluntary sector and volunteering research community. It brings together academics, practitioners and policymakers with a shared interest in the voluntary sector and volunteering. It also attracts some delegates from overseas and this provides an opportunity for networking with researchers from different countries and contexts. In 2013 the partners who have been responsible for organising the event in the past – NCVO and VSSN - have been joined for the first time by IVR a development which reflects the increasing interest in volunteering among participants. 

Our aim is simple: to provide the opportunity to share new, emerging research, and then to make the most of the evidence base by connecting researchers with the policymakers and practitioners who use research. 

The conference is your ‘open space’ to share new and existing research, so this call for papers is an open invitation to all researchers working on or with the sector and on volunteering. 


We are inviting proposals - either for individual papers or entire sessions (3-4 papers or a panel) – which address the three main aims of the conference: 


We would welcome proposals for papers that: 

·        focus on issues of internal organisation – such as leadership; accountability; governance; financial management; strategic planning; and performance improvement; 

·        explore and discuss the ways in which voluntary sector organisations interact with their environment – such as their relationships with government, their interaction with businesses and the ways in which they co-operate, collaborate and compete with other voluntary organisations; or

 ·        address issues of volunteering and volunteer involvement including motivation and rewards, volunteer management and other ways in which the work of volunteers can best be organised to provide successful opportunities for volunteering.



We would welcome proposals for papers that analyse and explore the implications for volunteering and voluntary organisations of: 

·        developments in ‘horizontal’ policies which impact on volunteering or the voluntary sector as a whole - such as the ‘Big Society’ and government expectations about the role of voluntary action; the promotion of giving time and money; and commissioning; or 

·        changes in ‘vertical’ policies which affect the work of organisations working in specific fields of activity (such as the welfare of older people, children or those with disabilities and people in need of advice and information) and users of their services. 


We also welcome proposals for papers that: 

·        report on the findings from recent research on the voluntary sector and volunteering; or 

·        make a contribution to the theoretical understanding of any aspect of voluntary action.



You can submit a proposal for either a single paper presentation or for a whole session. In all submissions, please be sure to include your name, organisation and email address. The deadline for all submissions is 15thMay 2013. Please email your proposals to Proposals will only be accepted in the template provided (click here to download the template)

1. SINGLE PAPERS: Parallel sessions will offer a balance of presentations and discussion time. Typically, sessions include three 15 minute presentations, followed by substantial discussion. All papers presented in the parallel sessions will also be available in the conference proceedings, so that, where appropriate, more detail can be provided.

Submission: You should send us a 400 to 600-word summary of your research. We welcome submissions discussing preliminary findings as well as those on completed projects. There is no need to include references at this stage.

2. THEMED PANEL SESSIONS: In panel sessions, researchers and practitioners will discuss a theme, with audience participation. Submissions for panel sessions should list panel members and give a clear overview of the topic to be discussed. Please also make it clear whether the proposed session consists of linked papers on a shared theme or involves the discussion of a topic by a panel of commentators.

Submission: Please submit a 400 to 600-word proposal that provides an overview of the theme to be discussed and the form the discussion will take. This might be a workshop, debate, panel or structured discussion or a suite of papers on related topics. If the format consists of papers on a shared theme, please submit brief abstracts for each of them as well as the overarching proposal.


If your submission is successful, we will ask you to send us a longer 2500 to 4500-word paper or papers for inclusion in the conference proceedings. We will give details on the preferred format of the paper when we confirm acceptance of your submission. 


Each year NCVO offers a prize for the best paper submitted to the conference. Papers will only be considered for the award if they are received by the deadline of 31st July 2013. The prize will be awarded for the paper that best meets the criteria of research quality; practice or policy relevance; and accessibility of style and approach.



If your proposal is accepted you will still need to book and pay for a place at the conference. Louise Rogers ( will be in touch to arrange your payment.



Abstract of 400-500 words to be submitted

5pm on 15th May 2013

Notification of accepted submissions

3rd June 2013

Full paper of 2500-4,500 words and 150 word abstract for the conference proceedings to be submitted

5pm on 31st July 2013

Deadline for Early Bird rates

5pm on 24th July 2013

The conference

10th–11th September 2013




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