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Investing in Volunteers

Collaboration for a Sustainable Future - A Strategy for Volunteer Engagement 2020-30


Volunteering is part of the DNA of the Institute and is a vital ingredient of RTPI membership. An active core of volunteers from across the UK, Ireland and across the world collectively contribute to the ongoing success of the Institute and it is testament to the RTPI’s value that 10% of our members directly support delivery of our strategic objectives and member services.

Our volunteers are active, engaged members who share our vision for the planning profession and ambitions for the RTPI; and who, through a combination of attitudes, thoughts, behaviours and actions, help to shape the success of the Institute by supporting the delivery of our activities for the benefit of the wider membership, our members’ communities, and the organisation in itself. They also, in the case of Planning Aid England, directly deliver services to the public.

We have published this strategy to provide our volunteers with a clear framework for their activities.  It aims to ensure they have the support they need and can make the most of our volunteering opportunities as part of their personal development.  We will also use the strategy to allow us to learn from their experiences and to show the value they add.  It is therefore a key foundation in delivering on our Corporate Strategy for 2020 -2030 and its ambitions to become the world’s leading professional planning body.   

Sue Manns, RTPI President in 2020                                  

Victoria Hills MRTPI, FICE, Chief Executive



The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is the world’s leading professional planning body; our ambition is to promote healthy, socially inclusive, economically and environmentally sustainable places. We champion the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. Using our expertise and research we bring evidence and thought leadership to shape planning policies and thinking, putting the profession at the heart of society's big debates. We set the standards of planning education and professional behaviour that give planners, wherever they work in the world, a unique ability to meet complex economic, social and environmental challenges.

Our volunteering objectives

Our volunteers, members and staff are our greatest assets. All our volunteers are members and we want to empower them to achieve our ambitions and to realise their goals by ensuring they have the resources, skills and authority they need, and that they can see the tangible difference their efforts achieve.  The involvement of volunteers is a fundamental principle of the RTPI for several key reasons:

  1. Volunteers offer direct member insights of planning and provide invaluable professional expertise and perspectives;
  2. Volunteers add the Institute’s capacity to achieve our strategic objectives and to add value to our membership proposition.
  3. The development and maintenance of our regional and national networks is vital to creating a strong RTPI community and enabling knowledge exchange and peer support;
  4. There is a personal benefit to our members by being involved in volunteering, such as career enhancement, CPD recognition, a broader professional network, or a sense of personal satisfaction; and
  5. Our members’ local communities and professional networks value the involvement of RTPI volunteers through delivery of direct public support services

Central to the delivery of our Corporate Strategy is the ambition to recognise and enhance the support and involvement of volunteers: developing our plans and priorities around volunteering has been a collective, iterative effort with staff and volunteers involved or consulted in a variety of different ways. This is so we can inspire our members to newly volunteer or to continue supporting their Institute in a variety of ways.

This strategy sets out a clear vision for enabling our members to make a real difference to our work and to the communities in which they work. We want every RTPI volunteer  - whoever they are, wherever they are based and whatever their role – to have a consistently positive experience, now and in the future, from the moment they choose to offer their time and talents until they step down from their role, recognising and celebrating their achievements and the impact they have on the RTPI, our members, and the communities we support.

Implementing our strategy

For each of the four strategic objectives we are developing a detailed implementation plan identifying our priority actions, our timescales for delivery, activity leads, and our anticipated outcomes.

RTPI President Sue Manns FRTPI and special guests discuss the importance of volunteers in our special video below:

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