TeamKinetic

Build better volunteer communities

Stevie Wonders: Signed, Sealed and Delivered (V 7.3)

Stevie Wonders: Signed, Sealed and Delivered (V 7.3)

Breathing a sigh of relief following the successful release of the latest update for TeamKinetic, I wondered just how many changes and tweaks we had made to the system since our last update.

We acknowledge as a tech-based company there is a certain expectation that we release regular updates, debugging our system, improving functions and performing general maintenance. But I would argue that TeamKinetic take customer feedback to a whole new level in terms of integrating it into our updates, where the vast majority of new functions come directly from customer requests and workshops.

Our first method is our annual TeamKinetic Conference, hosted in Manchester, where we spend the whole day listening to our clients and industry leaders t0 construct a roadmap for the development of our system.

The second is through speaking and listening to our clients through regular phone calls, emails, conversations and training sessions.

Knowing we take the time to listen and deliver to our customers gives us great satisfaction, and I believe sets us above the rest.

Having gone through the extensive testing process to get our latest version of VolunteerKinetic signed off. I re-examined the list of updates and thought a few of our customers would appreciate the shear number of changes that have been made, and would probably identify many updates in relation to conversations they have had with us.

We understand that for many, just knowing that the functions work is satisfactory, but for those who express a greater interest in our system we thought we would share a complete list of version 7.2 updates.

So as you read our list please feel free to play a bit of Stevie Wonders in the background:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inXC_lab-34

 

Volunteer Registration
New address lookup and controls for provider, Volunteers, Opportunities, System Profiles, TryVolunteering registration
The ability for Admins to HIDE emergency contact from volunteer registration pages.
Ability for Super Admin to change REGISTER AS PROVIDER button colour
Make Vol and Prov registrations optional via admin switch so the functions are hidden from the homepages

 

Volunteer Opportunities
Move Opportunity Categories to the SUPER ADMIN menu, under OPTIONS
Create more help videos for creating opportunities
Create one-way sharing limiter on the search, so linked organisations can opt to share opportunities one way with other systems
Remove Add Event section from CREATE OPPS page as this can be confusing to users
Allow providers to convert opps from regular to flexible.
Allow admin to action MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES at the same time (including authorising opportunities)
Update: Ability for OPPS to be filtered by ACTIVITY (providers & admin)
Time stamp when volunteers join an opp (this will be used for reporting and export functions)
Set character limits on the PERKS and SKILLS boxes?
Allow Documents to be uploaded to opportunities, which are visible to volunteers

 

Volunteer Manager Reports
Change provider reports so they reflect only their volunteers (YOUR VOLS and LINKED VOLS) not a global report on ALL vols on system
Move reports to 2 columns with a SIDE MENU
Volunteer HourTrades
Ability to download hourtrade data
Add toggle for HourTrade, remove from menu when off
Move HOUR TRADE VOUCHERS page to menu

 

Volunteer Surveys
Change hover over tip to Survey field – Volunteer ID Parameter Name
Add Survey links to opportunities
Add Survey link Unique Parameters (so each volunteer gets sent a unique survey which can be traced back to them)

 

Events
When a volunteer is not on any events, a notice should reflect this on their EVENTS page
Improve the layout of the EVENTS PROFILE edit box
When an admin or provider adds an EVENT there should be a default banner image

 

Address Lookup
EDIT  address lookup and controls for ADMINS, PROVIDERS, and VOLUNTEERS in 17 pages
Add select COUNTRY to all address pages
make ADDRESS LOOKUP field RED (so it is highlighted) on the Volunteer EDIT page

 

Volunteer Achievement Badges
Improve achievements page and added a download format
Allow download of achievement badges and who has attained each badge level

 

User Guides
Create PROVIDERS online user guide page
populate PROVIDERS guide with relevant information on every function

 

Volunteer Timelines
Add timeline and stats to volunteers achievements page
Allow admin to view volunteers timelines

 

Courses
Ability to DELETE an application form from a course

 

Other
Download Volunteer or Provider DATA should show ACTIVE or REMOVED fields
Auto Refresh page after a group is added or removed.
Change provider link to only show currently linked and then have a search bar/auto suggest adding new links. Only include active providers.
Ability to sort feedback on provider or volunteer by thumbs up or thumbs down
Remove the CLUB tab from providers page, if the org hasn’t purchased the module
Put Clients T&Cs above our T&Cs

Introducing TeamKinetic: Rolf Herbert -The man behind the application

I’m one of the founders of TeamKinetic and have been responsible for developing and maintaining our technical assets for the last decade. Wow that’s a weighty word….a decade.

As anyone that has been involved in a startup or building up their own business will know, you have to be adaptable and willing to learn….alot. It means I’ve developed a pretty wide skill set. I can provision a server, write a dynamic pivot query or build an Android app, but I’m always aware of how much more there is to learn. Whenever I read about real, focused experts explaining how to provide high availability multi node SQL servers, or build a super efficient sorting algorithm, I’m in awe of the depth of knowledge and experience they have.

Luckily for me there are plenty of excellent communities full of geniuses willing to share knowledge and ideas. They don’t get paid, they just love sharing the cool stuff and volunteer their knowledge and time to anyone that asks. I couldn’t do the wide range of tasks that are required without their help.

I don’t know how many of our volunteers are geniuses, but from the data I collate its clear that they invest a huge amount of time and effort in helping their communities. There are individuals that have logged hundreds of hours, supporting their neighbours and cities.

My own volunteering efforts are small by comparision but I do regular volunteer for charities and organisations that resonate with me. At present I’m driving for Age Concern, dropping people off at tea parties on the weekends. I’ve also volunteered with Silverline who match you with a retired person that you call every week at a set time and have a natter.

I watched my own grandad become more and more isolated once my grandma died. He lived in Tenby which was a 2 hour drive from where the rest of the family lived and he refused to move or enter a retirement home so we couldn’t be there every day. There always seemed to be an internal struggle for him; in admitting he was lonely or needing help, that admission would make his age and growing infirmity real and his independence became his most treasured faculty.

So my history tugs me towards those organisations that help keep isolated people connected. But volunteering can lead you in unexpected directions.

My wife and I were donating at a charity shop and did some hours helping out at a Barnardos shop. We read some literature about fostering, looked into it, and made a few calls.

We ended up doing short term respite breaks for full time foster families, despite not ever considering having our own children. We looked after three different young people over the next five years. I always felt a bit of a fraud as it was no trouble and mostly good fun! After a few years completing the training and course work I obtained a professional qualification in foster care.

Once you open a door there are always plenty more behind it. Keep volunteering, people need you and appreciate it, sometimes even more than you realise.

Rolf Herbert

Software Engineer

rolf@teamkinetic.c.o.uk

Introducing TeamKinetic: Steve Hall – Stepping into the Unknown

TeamKinetic …what fun we’ve had!

Tasked with introducing myself through a blog, I thought how I could best describe myself and the journey I have had so far with TeamKinetic.

There was a time when TeamKinetic was just a topic of conversation at the dinner table as Chris, my brother in law, would tell me how he and Rolf had been developing a piece of software for volunteer management. I remember Chris telling me how they ran the company out of the spare area in his dad’s office, which was often filled with construction workers and their muddy boots.

This was quite the contrast to my corporate job! I had spent seven years working for an American pharmaceutical company as IT Project Manager. I had initially enjoyed the job for its methodical approach required, with clear outcomes and a process to achieving them being visible. The job required me to travel hospital to hospital working up to three projects at a time. I was a testament to Lenny Henry and his #goodnightguarentee!

For sure I took advantage of all the free shampoo I could, my bathroom was full of them! But after that the benefits wore thin. Living out of a suitcase had become tiresome and I started considering what I could do instead; I wanted something that actually had an impact, a place where I could build something and see the results.

I decided I was in a strong enough financial position to hand my notice in and begin my journey into the unknown. I had several solo contracts that were going well and I decided that I would continue working for myself and would build my own company.

It was during one of my contracts in Birmingham, that I received a call from Chris asking for some help on the implementation of volunteer management website. Our chats continued and soon progressed into a proposition. I decided I would finish my current contract and then join TeamKinetic as a partner.

Eight years on I have never looked back. As the company has grown, our systems improved and our client base ever expanding, I have found gratification and enjoyment in my role! Each time we develop a new function, release an update or meet a new client I get excited that we are genuinely helping others.

As I am the ‘Implementer’ (cue mischievous face for comical value) I spend most of my time speaking and visiting our amazing clients. The interpersonal aspect of a job is something I value highly, wanting to work with people who are happy and also wanting to make a difference is very rewarding.

Each day brings a new task and challenges, every time a new one pops up I write it on a yellow post-it-note and put on my monitor, then upon completing them, I get to scrunch it up and throw it away, with deep satisfaction. My life a much happier nowadays, I spend more time with my family, I have a job that I wake up happy to go to, and I feel like I am making the better impact in the world.

Steve

Implementation Consultant

steve@teamkinetic.co.uk

If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please feel free to contact me.

Introducing TeamKinetic: James Carr – Could I be d’Artagnan?

Continuing our celebrations of #IVMD17 and the latest update to VolunteerKinetic 7.3, we’d like to introduce our newest addition to the team, James Carr.

Much like d’Artagnan, my journey began by setting out in search of a new beginning.

I was ready for a challenge, using my skills and knowledge to prove myself as capable.

My studies in Sport Management had equipped me with the theoretical knowledge needed and a handful of short-term internships had given me the practical opportunity to apply it. I enjoyed the dynamic nature of marketing, from understanding the needs of the target audience to creating strategise and analysing results. I also realised how important it was for me to believe in the company, its purpose and values.

When I was invited to an interview at a small business office in Manchester for the role of Marketing Coordinator, I knew such an opportunity had arrived.

Despite all my preparation, on the morning of the interview, my apprehension began to build. With clammy hands, a dry mouth and my collar feeling like it had shrunk an inch since setting off that morning; I eventually arrived at the entrance.

The moment I met the three men who greeted me I relaxed. Perhaps it was their warm welcomes, the light-hearted small talk or just the overall friendliness of these guys that made me so at ease. As we spoke I realised that their work was more than just a job. Collectively they were driven by the goal of delivering a product focused on: building better communities through volunteering.

Of course, those “three men” were TeamKinetic – Chris, Rolf and Steve!

Thankfully, our introductions skipped any duels! In a short space of time, I gained a real understanding of their camaraderie, the crucial role each played and the extensive knowledge that each possessed in understanding their client’s needs.

In the interview, I shared my vision for a  Boxing Club at the University and the story of how I turnt it into a reality.

I coached my club each week, drilling them on technique, fitness and skill. My success measured by the numbering regulars and increasing new members who turned up. I learnt the importance of organisation, communication and leadership.  My experience volunteering equipped me with skills I had never considered before, which I now hold to be invaluable.

Like me, TeamKinetic had their own vision. They wanted to enhance the ability of volunteers managers with a system that engaged volunteers, made their management simpler and more intelligent. Although they had already been working hard to make this possible, they needed someone to help market their brilliant product.

This was certainly something I could do. Thankfully, they thought so too!

Since settling into the team I have learnt so much more about those who make TeamKinetic possible. I have also had the opportunity to speak to some of their clients, who expressed how much they like working with TeamKinetic and their application.

Now my role is to support the company through marketing the great
service they deliver for the likes of Manchester City Council Council, Glasglow Volunteer Centre and Cardiff Metropolitan University.

With a real love of sport, volunteering and marketing, I am excited to begin this opportunity alongside everyone at TeamKinetic.

“All for one; one for all.”

James Carr

Marketing Coordinator

If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please feel free to contact me at:

james@teamkinetic.co.uk

Introducing TeamKinetic: Chris Martin – What has Volunteering ever done for me?

Volunteer Managers have reason to celebrate this week with International Volunteer Managers Day on the 5th November and TeamKinetic released their latest updates on VolunteerKinetic 7.3!

We decided to take this opportunity to introduce or remind our beloved Volunteer Managers of who TeamKinetic are. Throughout the week we will be releasing a series of Blogs on each of our team members, with their story in volunteering and TeamKinetic.

To kick things off, I thought I would write my blog first. My topic of choice:

What has Volunteering ever done for me?

As I start to write this blog, I’m reminded of the scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where John Cleese as the Head of the Judean Peoples Front asks what have the “Romans ever done for us?”, if you have never seen this before, please take two minutes to enjoy this clip.

It is often hard to see the impact of volunteering has whilst actively participating in it. At the time when I undertook my voluntary roles, it was to fulfil a specific need that was being neglected or because someone close to me would ask if I could help.

Only upon reflection can a true appreciation of volunteering and its impact be noticed. In both my personal and professional life, volunteering has built longstanding relationships, that I still value today.

As a younger man, I remember wondering how I would continue some form of swimming once I had completed my lessons. I wanted to keep the competitive aspect that I enjoyed but did not want to continue into highly regimented adult swimming club that was on offer. My options presented themselves as either hanging up my goggles for good or travelling excessively to join another more sociable club. Neither one did I find particularly attractive.

Instead, I wanted something at my local pool, where I could continue developing my ability, maintaining enjoyment and friendly competition.

It was then, I saw a need for a local water polo club!

My friend and I decided that we could run this together. So we planned a pitch for the pool manager and after successfully convincing him of the potential our idea, he agreed to give us a slot.

The catch, however, was that the only available slot was 18:00 -19:30… on a Friday!

At the age of 18, this would break into essential socialising time and we wondered if we could get the attendance we desired. Disregarding this constraint, we decided to go for it and accepted the time slot!

By no means was it an easy ride from there, as the club required a big commitment for two teenage lads, demanding time spent planning, coaching and running the club as a whole.

Of course, we enjoyed doing it, but I would be lying if I said it was always easy going, as sometimes it really could be a pain in the backside!

At times it took some real perseverance to push the club through but the next two years saw us build our club to the level we desired! Eventually, my time to leave for University came, but we had built a club that had gone strength to strength, continuing in existence today (twenty years later!).

With the benefit of hindsight, I can look at that experience differently now. I developed planning skills, interpersonal skills, worked out how to get things done within a public-sector environment, I developed relationships that I still use professionally and friendships I still value today.

Many of the benefits of volunteering cannot be effectively measured, certainly when I started my volunteering journey neither had I considered too.

But now, I think differently. These experiences helped me identify elements of social capital that before I had never considered, and now would never underestimate or value.

I went on to become a qualified Physical Education teacher and set up a business around sports coaching, this journey started at that water polo club, not through any specific long-term plan but to some extent, due to the direction of travel that was started with this experience.

For the last eight years, I have worked in the sector and have grown to appreciate how complex peoples’ motivations to volunteer can be. Often it is beyond the simple reason of being ‘fun’ that we give our time but in the knowledge that we are helping to make a difference.

Since founding TeamKinetic, these beliefs and experiences have driven me daily. We have made it easier to find and be involved in Volunteer opportunities, whilst making it easier to recognise hard work and commitment in a way that is engaging and simpler for organisations that depend on their amazing volunteers.

I hope you will join us on our mission to build stronger more engaged communities, and if you find yourself asking the question, what has volunteering ever done for me, you too, can tell your story about how it has changed your life for the better.

If you fancy having a talk please feel free to email or call me!

Thank you,

Chris

Sales Director

Chris@teamkinetic.co.uk

Congratulations GreaterSport on your #GS1Million achievment

Local sports charity GreaterSport set the target in 2010 to achieve 1 MILLION people regularly active across Greater Manchester by 2017.

Partners across the County worked together to ensure more people had the opportunity to be active.

The most recent Active People Survey shows that the 1 MILLION target has been exceeded with 1,045,758 people regularly active in Greater Manchester.

We have loved being involved with GreaterSport and helping them achieve this fantastic milestone. Well done to everyone that has been involved!

Community

TeamKinetic is a proud Manchester company, and I am unashamedly Mancunian. My town. I often jokingly refer to as the centre of the universe when in other cities and countries. So the despicable actions of an individual on Monday night in my city have cut to my core. I have experienced anger, sadness, confusion, back to anger and now resolve.

Manchester was where TeamKinetic was born, working with Manchester City Council 8 years ago, we built the first version of our Volunteer Management Platform. Our colleagues in Manchester City Council knew that its people were its true capital, that if we could make it easy for the people of Manchester to give their time and skills, they would do this freely and they would make this city a beacon for best practice for volunteering.

So, it was with extra confusion I found myself watching the news and hearing how this young man, who was born in Manchester has committed this heinous and cowardly act. I found myself questioning my city and to some extent the impact of my last 8 years of work. As an individual who has worked for most of his professional life as a teacher in Manchester, then on helping to build communities, I was left feeling frustrated, disappointed, and sad. Had my work be a waste, had we failed?

But yesterday evening I listened to the amazing stories of bravery and generosity that were told, from a homeless man running into danger to help the injured or how taxi drivers took young people home free of charge, how the people of Manchester rallied to offer accommodation, to raise money and to provide food and refreshments to those that needed them, to give blood and then to stand shoulder to shoulder against this mindless hate in a beautiful demonstration of the spirit of the city.

Events like that on Monday, born of hate, are designed to test our resolve, to instil a sense of fear across our city. They are a reminder to the us all that extremism continues to fester in the dark corners of our communities and there are people out there that are attracted to the rhetoric of hate.

It is with fresh resolve then that I move forward with our work, with the knowledge that the majority of people of Manchester, Britain and the world share our optimism in the human spirit. That the depraved acts of individuals and small numbers of extremists do not drive us apart, but bring us together to reinforce our shared humanity and drive us to continue to make our communities stronger and more resilient. We know this work will be difficult and there will be more dark days ahead where our resolve will be tested again, but working together, helping each other we will beat the hate with love and kindness.

The team at TeamKinetic send their heartfelt condolences to everyone that was affected by Mondays attack and we make the promise that we will continue with our work to help to build stronger communities in Manchester, the UK and the world.

Why TeamKinetic has gone mobile

As TeamKinetic makes it iOS application available to its customers and existing volunteers, we discuss the evidence that has driven this change and our hopes of making volunteering even more accessible.

The march of technology is relentless, and the pressure on organisations in sport and the 3rd sector to offer multi-channel and multi-platform solutions to better engage with their stakeholders continues to grow as they compete for attention against a sea of other content. These trends mean that making TeamKinetic available on mobile was essential.

mobile usage by country – Comscore

The data shows that the time spent on mobile has surpassed that spent on other web-enabled devices, and this trend is consistent in developed and developing economies. It is not a case of “if mobile is important?”, but to acknowledge its predominance in the decision-making process for future development.

Dominance of multi-platform applications

The evidence is clear; consumers now expect a multi-platform product that allows them to switch between the different versions of the platform, undertaking some tasks on their desktop and others on their phone or tablet. With other data suggesting these browsing choices are time of day dependent.

on-line device usage by time of day

When looking at how to engage with your audience, in our case volunteers. We have to accept these trends and offer a product that can cater to the desires and expectations of the user.

Using the mobile platform, both in its native application format and via the mobile browser, not only have we been able to increase the potential reach and time available to browse, we can also access additional functionality.

The use of GPS and geo-location services, open-auth protocols to make signing in and staying signed in easier and using the camera or address book are all examples of technologies that work particularly well on a phone to improve customer experience. Our founding belief at TeamKinetic is to always keep the volunteer and their experience central to our design philosophy, so the decision to create the app was easy to make.

This is our first step of many as a truly multi-platform company, no doubt we have plenty to learn if we want to recreate our desktop experience on a much smaller device, but working with our customers, that’s our ambition. The rewards for success for our customers, the Sports Clubs, charities and communities are potential too great to ignore.

We must constantly challenge ourselves to look at our organisations and consider how well we provide services and how accessible they are. We must push to deliver to stakeholders the experience they have come to expect.

TeamKinetic products will provide that level of service at a fraction of the cost of in-house development.  Please get in touch to see a demo of our system and how it might improve your stakeholder engagement, build your community and change your world.

How can NGBs do more with less in this new world of funding from Sport England

So as the dust settles on another funding announcement from Sport England, it’s clear we are definitely in uncharted territory. With many National Governing Bodies (NGBs) receiving significantly less than in sport-england-active-nationprevious periods we look at how the role of the volunteer will become essential in improving our sporting institution’s resilience.

The last round of funding covered 46 sports between 2013 and 2017 and with a total value of £493 million. The newly proposed £88 million spread across 26 sports, with four sports accounting for just under 50% of that funding is a deep cut to our sporting infrastructure. Sport England, operating in these austere times, have had to make some tough decisions and their new approach of encouraging NGB’s to focus on their “core market” may prove to be the best opportunity for a return on this significantly reduced investment. Only time will tell.

Further announcements are due in February, but it is doubtful that any major changes or reversals will be announced. What is clear based on the announcement yesterday is it is going to be a challenging environment for this next funding cycle.

So what do NGB’s do now?

Beyond getting all their members to start buying lottery tickets here are some ideas and thoughts that we thought it would be useful to share.

If all the NGB’s stopped existing tomorrow, would people still be playing sport this weekend?

I know this is something of a loaded question, of course, they will, but, only by relying on the ubiquitous and passionate volunteer-led sport across the country. NGB’s are still vital to the efficient delivery and development of their sports, but now they must learn to effectively leverage their volunteer base if they want to see their sport flourish under such deep cuts.

 

The growth of NGB’s over the last 20 years through the cash injection offered via lottery funding changed them in many cases into fully professional businesses that thought in terms of customers. They were more income-driven and had significant overheads to cover, as is typical during periods of rapid organisational growth. Of course, this led to improvements in a range of areas such as safety, facilities, professional levels of training, policy, etc.. and some of these improvements were drastically required. But in that jump to a more professional world, some of our traditional voluntary infrastructure struggled to keep up.

It is here that we think NGB’s can make some drastic gains with their core market. By understanding the many roles played by people at local, county, regional and even national level and what engages and motivates those individuals to give up their time is the area which could have the largest potential impact.  How many of these functions are volunteers, even though many may not self-identify as such, is one of the many questions NGB’s need to answer. How do you upskill these people, how do you empower them and how to ensure you do not rely on the same individuals undertaking all the work every week.

This next four years is an opportunity to reinvent many NGB’s from the ground up, to look at how you make them local led grassroots organisations that can simultaneously grow participation, membership and customer base. To do this requires two of the most valuable resources available, people’s time and enthusiasm.

NGB’s will have to become much better at responding to the demands of their stakeholder base, of directly engaging and understanding what the volunteers who operate their clubs and county organisations want and need.

In 2016, there have never been more ways to participate at a local and hyper-local level. With more channels available via social media; new ways to raise capital via crowdfunding and peer-led lending. NGB’s that thrive will use this technology to drive the benefits and stories about their sport locally and nationally. This will not be a top-down marketing campaign as these are often very expensive, but it will be a bottom up user led movement. An example of the type of user led content I refer to can be found on line; right now there are 13.3 million Parkour and 4.6 million Freestyle football user-created videos on YouTube.

It will be the role of the NGB’s to make it easy for participants, volunteers, helpers, and officials to create and/or find existing communities where individuals can engage directly. We have used these concepts and ideas as we have developed our volunteer management platform TeamKinetic and we continue to try to build using these principals:

  • Empower people to do it for themselves.
  • Reward and recognise them and when they do, do it in a way that appreciates what motivates them.
  • Make getting involved easy to find and then intuitive to undertake.
  • Share your successes and your failures with your community so that everyone can learn.

Our technology is not for everyone right now, but we know these principals superseded the digital realm. Not everyone wants to engage via their computers or phone, but the principals stand no matter how you look to engage with the people who make your sport happen. We find its a combination of people, policy, process and technology that allows an organisation to scale the use of volunteers effectively.

If you would like to know how we can help you reconnect with your volunteer base, how our systems and research can empower more people to get involved and how you can recognise those people; who support your organisation week in, week out. Our work and that of our partners as part of the Join In consortium is available, and we are keen to talk to all NGB’s on how we can help you do more with less. Feel free to contact me at chris@teamkinetic.co.uk or call our office on 0161 914 5757.

TeamKinetic take a closer look at the new Sport Englands volunteer strategy

The announcement earlier this year that Sport England had identified volunteering as a key area for investment and development in their “Towards An Active Nation” strategy document was widely welcomed. Today’s latest release “Volunteering in an Active Nation” is the next step in the realisation of that objective.

vol-active-nation

If you have been involved in sport at almost any level, you would have been keenly aware that it does not happen without the combined efforts of 100’s of people.  From the top of sport to its very grassroots volunteers are essential.  For so many years there was an assumption that organised sport just happened! This is a view TeamKinetic did not share, and we set out to change that seven years ago when we built VolunteerKinetic. It’s with a sense of excitement we have been waiting to see what Sport England had in mind to re-imagine the sports volunteer landscape.

The acknowledgement in the document for the Sport and Recreation Alliance and our consortium of partners is something we are really happy with, although it is still early days we have been really busy behind the scenes since we were passed the baton by Join In.  Our hope is that through the work of the partners in the consortium we can provide a range of digital tools, research, campaign experience and support that will be invaluable in helping Sport England realise their vision. This will start this month with Sports Personality of the Year, and hopefully early in the new year, we will have even more to shout about.

The strategy commits to a £26 million investment, taking us to 2021, with £6 million available in the first round in February 2017.

The two initial funds are called

  • The Opportunities Fund – targeting people from disadvantaged areas.
  • The Potentials Fund – targeting 10 to 20 year olds.

Each fund is worth £3 million, and it seems quite clear that Sport England is very keen to widen volunteering to be more inclusive and representative.

THE OPPORTUNITY FUND

Initially making it clear that disadvantaged can mean many things to a broad range of communities, they go on to say they are looking for partners who are trusted in their local communities and will consider bids “which contain smaller elements of sport and physical activity.”

Maybe most telling is the final statement;

“To emphasise our commitment to reaching this new audience, we’re aiming to award at least 50% of the fund for projects run by partners who are new to Sport England or even new to sport and physical activity.”

This seems to fit with the information we have had before today’s announcement with Sport England keen to look beyond the more traditional and established sport offer.  We think this fund provides some interesting opportunities for traditional organisations such as County Sports Partnerships and Local Authorities to work with less traditional partners such as youth and health groups, to provide infrastructure and support through volunteers for volunteers.

THE POTENTIALS FUND

Sport England have identified the benefits of “youth social action” which has been the focus of the #iwill campaign run by Step up to Serve. This campaign was recently granted a £40 million extension until 2020 by the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Step Up To Serve CEO Charlotte Hill presented the keynote speech at our annual conference this year at Manchester Metropolitan University. The #iwill campaign offers an opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the role of youth social action and provides a route for young people to get involved.  We advise every organisation who works with volunteers, to got to the #iwill website and make a pledge now.

The strategy does lack detail on what it may fund, but it does contain the provocative line “We’ll be looking for projects which connect with the lives and aspirations of 10 to 20 year olds. Sport and physical activity should be involved, but it doesn’t have to be the sole focus. We’re looking for brilliant ideas.”

We hope this allows for the type of innovation and creative engagement that will inspire young people to help lead this work.  We will be looking at how we work with our current customers and those we have been speaking with for some time, to help integrate our digital tools to provide the type of experiences and bring to life the brilliant ideas young people have.

The document makes numerous mentions regarding “digital” and its importance.  We will be working hard over the next few months to understand what that means and how to maximise our platform and its related connections.  We will be exploiting all our years of expertise in the sports volunteer sector to make sure VolunteerKinetic remains the most powerful volunteer management system available.

I think that pretty much covers the main elements as we understand them, please share your opinions with us on this latest strategy announcement.  We are keen to know what you think and how you might be able to benefit, or if you think Sport England may have missed anything.  We believe that this is where the hard work starts and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.  If you want to join us on this mission, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

 

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