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Who is Rob Jackson?

Career in brief
Rob's career started in the summer of 1994 with him managing volunteer programmes at the University Of Surrey.  

After a relocation to East London in 1996, Rob took up a strategic role for the well-known children's' charity, Barnardo'sdeveloping volunteer engagement for children's services across East Anglia, London and the South East of England.

In 1999 Rob moved on to lead the strategic development of volunteer fundraising across the UK for the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB).  During this time Rob initiated and chaired the Institute of Fundraising working party that developed the UK’s first code of good practice on volunteer fundraising.  Whilst at RNIB Rob also spent time as head of the Fundraising Strategy Department with responsibility at senior management level for volunteering development, fundraising development, training and development, customer service, strategy & planning and business & market development research.

In April 2005 Rob joined Volunteering England, first as Regional Volunteering Development Manager then as Director of Development and Innovation.  During this time Rob served on the organisation's senior management team with responsibility for a wide range of development projects in: 

  • health and social care
  • sport 
  • employer-supported volunteering 
  • grant making and funding 
  • student volunteering 
  • the strategic development of volunteering infrastructure 
  • customer service 
  • co-ordinating fundraising support for Volunteering England  

Rob also led and implemented a successful merger between Volunteering England & Student Volunteering England in 1997, lead the secretariat for the groundbreaking Volunteer Rights Inquiry and secured the £1.2m contract to deliver the modernising volunteering national support service for Capacitybuilders.

In April 2011 Rob left Volunteering England and founded Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd. 

Rob has written, spoken and trained on volunteer programme management internationally for over twenty years.  He has co-authored two books on volunteerism as well as contributing dozens of articles to a wide range of publications online and offline.

Rob is an active volunteer, including serving as a member of the editorial team for the international volunteerism journal, www.e-volunteerism.com.

Rob lives in Grantham, Lincolnshire and, when he isn't working, Rob loves motorsport, The West Wing, rock & blues music and Grantham Town Football Club

Rob is a Fellow of The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Experience and achievements

  • Six years as a member of the Institute of Fundraising standards committee.
  • Chair of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 working group on quality volunteering.
  • Chairman of the working party which developed the first Institute of Fundraising code of good practice establishing industry standards for working with volunteers in fundraising.
  • Set up the Volunteer Rights Inquiry and led the secretariat for this initiative, the first of its kind in the world.
  • Former Chair of Governors at Gonerby Hill Foot Church of England Primary School in Grantham. 
  • Previously volunteered as a trustee of Volunteer Centre Westminster, a youth worker, a Church of England PCC member & a youth work committee chair.
  • Founded (in 1999) UKVPMs, the UK's first internet networking resource dedicated to British Volunteer Programme Managers, now with over 1300 members.
  • Co-editor of and contributor to ‘Turn your organisation into a volunteer magnet’, a free e-book on volunteer management used by volunteer managers worldwide.
  • Co-author of "The Complete Volunteer Management Handbook" and "From The Top Down - UK Edition".
  • Two years as Chairman and two years as vice-chairman of the Employees in the Community Network.
  • Member of the editorial board of e-Volunteerism, an international online journal on volunteerism issues.  Serve as a convening editor of keyboard roundtables.
  • Member of the Technical Working Group which developed the original National Occupational Standards for the management of volunteers.
  • Previous member of the editorial board of Voluntary Action, the journal of the Institute for Volunteering Research and judge for their 1999 Volunteer Research Awards.
  • Graduate Associate of the first Institute for Advanced Volunteer Management (IAVM) in 1998, subsequent UK IAVMs in 2000, 2005 & 2006. 
  • A faculty member at two IAVMs in Michigan, USA, in 2001 & 2002 and the advanced volunteer management retreats in Australia and Singapore (March 2009).
What people say about Rob

“Rob Jackson is one of the leading authorities on volunteering in the world. His standing is based on an impressive mix of the practical and strategic. For much of his career, he has been involved at the coalface of volunteer management. When several years ago he moved into a more senior role within Volunteering England he was able to draw on this hands-on experience and knowledge to help shape the strategic direction of the organisation and the wider volunteering movement. It is a winning combination and will hold him in great stead for a career in consultancy. Rob is an excellent project manager, an incisive thinker and a first-rate writer, facilitator and public speaker. I have hugely enjoyed working with Rob over the past few years and have drawn heavily on his wisdom and insight. I have no doubt I will continue to do so for many years to come.”  

Dr Justin Davis Smith, Executive Director of Volunteering and Development, NCVO (formerly CEO of Volunteering England)

“Rob has an immense depth of knowledge on all aspects of Volunteering. He is always a source of help when I've needed specific advice on establishing volunteering groups and his information was crucial when we were looking at forming a year 11 volunteering group at school. Rob has a great character, is warm, friendly and always approachable, he's a great help and has an outstanding, and vast, encyclopaedic knowledge.”

Mike Marshall, Managing Creative Director at eatsleepthink design limited


 “Rob has been a valued colleague for over a decade. We work together in a variety of ways, including his participation on the editorial team of the international online journal, e-Volunteerism. Rob is highly knowledgeable about volunteerism in the UK and around the world. He is a "thinker" on this subject and is able to analyse trends, put issues into context, and communicate information to others. He's also a great guy and all-around good person, with a wry sense of humour.”
Susan J Ellis, President, Energize Inc.

"Rob not only understands volunteering trends and strategy but also comprehends the day to day operational issues. He walks the talk. Rob is a great networker. He knows people – what they have to contribute and what their interests are - and is great at sharing that knowledge with others. If I want to know something, Rob will be top of my list to call. He is always a pleasure to work with – innovative, insightful and committed – and all with a great sense of humour."
Moyra Weston, Director, Weston Coaching & Consultancy


“Rob Jackson is one of the smartest people I know. He is bright, witty, upbeat, creative, hard-working, and personable. I have worked with Rob when we did training together in Michigan and in England and he has always impressed me with his abilities. He is one of those people who makes lifts people's spirits merely by entering a room.”
Rick Lynch, Principal Consultant, Lynch Associates

“I've known Rob for over ten years, during which time we've collaborated on a number of volunteering development initiatives. As a freelance consultant advising organisations on volunteering strategy, relying on Rob as an expert colleague has been invaluable. He's the first person I think of when I want professional advice or a reality-check on my work. He is one of only a few people I know who are able to operate strategically but with a focus which is firmly and passionately about what happens on the ground in the world of volunteering. I have found his energy and enthusiasm for supporting opportunities to collaborate with others for the benefit of the sector inspiring. He is one of only a very small number of people I know in volunteering development who are both vital to the sector and whom I would unreservedly recommend.”
Lynn Blackadder, Owner, Lynn Blackadder Limited


"I first met Rob Jackson at the retreat for advanced volunteer management in Australia. His presentation there made others and I sit up and take notice. Words like “leaders in the field” can be too easily thrown about. Rob has earned this title as a true leader in the volunteerism world as he leads by example through his actions and writings. His leadership of UKVPMs and groundbreaking work with Volunteering England has been an inspiration to those of us around the globe that recognise the power of the volunteering movement as well as the importance of Volunteer Management."

DJ Cronin, Blogger and Volunteer Management advocate