International Volunteer Mangers Day : Changing the Tune of Volunteering with Autism

Time for the Voluntary Sector to increase Neurodiversity  


To mark International Volunteer Managers Day, on the 5th of November, Dublin City Volunteer Centre is bringing together charities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experts for an event titled “Changing the Tune of Volunteering with Autism”.  The event will celebrate the amazing work of volunteer managers and ask how volunteer programs can become more neurodiverse.  

Despite what you might think, increasing Neurodiversity in the volunteer sector would not be charitable act. Inclusiveness breeds innovation.  In a recent research project, Accenture, and associates discovered that companies implementing best practices in hiring and supporting people with disabilities, are outperforming their counterparts in monitory terms1. During the research, 45 companies stood out in areas of disability employment and inclusion. They had, on average over four years, 28 per cent higher revenue, double the net income and 30 percent higher economic profit margins than their counterparts.2  

Tech giants, like Google and Microsoft, have realized the relationship between inclusion and innovation and so, are advancing to opening opportunities to beyond the ‘Neurotypical’.  But can the volunteer sector similarly advance?  

To answer this pressing question, Dublin City Volunteer Centre is bringing together Volunteer Managers of Charities from across Dublin, including Engineers Ireland, Oxfam and The Irish Cancer Society on the 5th on November, at The Mansion House. On the day, the Volunteer Managers will be met by experts of ASD, from Aspire ProductionsAutism Initiatives IrelandGheel Autism Services,  Specialisterne and WALK.  Through, a World Café and a panel discussion, attendees will collectively draw a map, to follow in the footsteps of Tech Giants.  

The event was not just organised with the benefits that inclusivity can bring to the Volunteer Sector mind, but also the benefits volunteering can bring to a person with ASD. Unemployment among people with ASD is a staggering 80%3. Therefore, a steppingstone into the workforce is much needed for these individuals and that is exactly what volunteering can provide! Volunteering has been an established way of increasing employability4 

We hope this event will be a step in a positive direction for the Volunteer Sector and individual with ASD.  

Dublin City Volunteers Centre created this event as a result of their own experiences of managing volunteers with extra support needs and seeing a gap in our training and supports for people with ASD. 

“We meet with many people eager to volunteer that have ASD, but who are apprehensive due to fear of rejection because they have ASD, or concern that their needs would not be met/understood while volunteering. We wanted to bridge this gap in understanding of ASD and make it easier for organisations to be both inclusive” Lucy Ray, Outreach and Placement Officer at Dublin City Volunteer Centre.