Build better volunteer communities

Author: stevenhall4

How The University Of East London Boosted Their Student Employability

university_of_east_london_logo-svgThe ability for universities to prepare students with the skills and experience required by businesses is critical in today’s competitive economy.

Students at The University of East London (UEL) are offered the chance to build a strong portfolio of voluntary work placements within local, national, public and third sector organisations, giving them the experience and contacts to assist them after they graduate.


Why Did They Change?

Their previous volunteer management system offered few customisation tools, meaning that they couldn’t capture some key pieces of information.  The limited reporting library also meant they had very limited insight into how much volunteering was actually happening, and if that experience was good or bad.

Frequently students and organisations would avoid updating their details simply due to the awkwardness of the user interface, this eventually resulted in a system entirely out of date.

Students were often shown opportunities which no longer existed, or contact details that had since changed. This was very frustrating for both the students and the providers of the opportunities.

jo-crook-photo2-bw“These system limitations caused us to hold back on promoting the system, which reduced our visibility on and off campus”

Joe Crook – Volunteering Manager



The Move to TeamKinetic

UEL implemented TeamKinetic with a focus on boosting their student employability levels whilst also having the ability to recruit, manage and communicate with their volunteers directly through the system.

“With TeamKinetic, we now have access to the information we need in real-time, including who has signed up and who has completed their induction, and how many hours they have logged which is vital to our volunteer programme.”

Joe Crook – Volunteering Manager

Within 4 months UEL had enrolled over 350 students and 80 providers regularly adding opportunities. By allowing students and businesses to control their own information administration of the system is minimal.

“We spend around 6 hours per week administering the system, which is great as we now have more time to promote our service to local businesses and students.”

Joe Crook – Volunteering Manager

The reduced administration has allowed UEL to focus on marketing opportunities instead of getting caught up in the logistics.  This has enabled them to utilise TeamKinetics feedback functions giving them valuable insight into the students’ experience, allowing them to develop and pass on best practice.

“The system has diversified the way that we communicate as we have started to use the functions that are available to us. We also actively use the online news feeds and case studies and this allows us to communicate to our volunteers much quicker and easier than before.”

Our community partners enjoy using the system due to its clean interface, the fact that the opportunities have an expiry date, and that they can add relevant information per position means the opportunities are always accurate and up to date. “

Joe Crook – Volunteering Manager


The Future

The success of the system has allowed UEL to focus on achieving higher conversation rates, from enrolment on the system to placement within a local business.

“We now know which students have signed up and are currently and actively volunteering on a variety of opportunities.”

The TeamKinetic platform is powerful and offers us unprecedented insight into our volunteering programme. The ability to personalise our online presence is fantastic, allowing us to customise the look of the site in line with our branding guidelines, giving us a much more professional feel to the site which is important when dealing with external businesses.

I have already recommended TeamKinetic to a number of Universities around the UK, if you want a professional looking volunteer programme, I advise you to take a look as it is superior to anything else I have come across.”

Joe Crook – Volunteering Manager


Park Champions


Welcome to the Special edition of the
Park Champions newsletter


Our Park Champions celebrated!

Last Thursday, 6th October, we were delighted to host our annual celebration event at The Podium Bar & Kitchen.
It was a fantastic evening that enabled us to say thank you to you – the volunteers who have participated in a range of activities within our Park Champion programme over the past year. Over 110 Park Champions attended and we hope all enjoyed themselves.

2016 has been a fantastic year with volunteers racking up a huge 12,800 volunteer hours. There has been an array of volunteering opportunities from providing information, welcoming guests and delivering the park mobility service at the Information Point to supporting the vast number of events including West Ham United and London Lions matches, National Paralympic Day and Sport Relief. Not forgetting those who really got their hands dirty during the conservation and gardening programme.

Take a look at the news article on Our Parklife website here:

A selection of photos are available here:

Take a look at the news article in this week’s Newham Recorder on page 2:

We are now looking forward to another exciting year in 2017, with a number of major events coming up on the Park. From the IAAF World Championships and World ParaAthletics Championships to community and sports events to help connect local people to the Park, there is sure to be something for everybody to get involved with. Once again we will be running our hugely successful Park mobility service and there will be many new roles to come with new Park partners so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities.


Congratulation to our Park Champions!

Once again we awarded gold, silver and bronze pin badges as a way of saying thank you for your enthusiasm, energy and dedication to the Park and our Park Champion programme.

Those that completed over 50 hours of volunteering were awarded with a bronze pin. For 100 hours of volunteering a silver pin was awarded and for an amazing 150 volunteer hours we awarded a gold pin.

If you are yet to achieve 50 hours do not worry as you still have until 31st December to claim your pin by racking up the hours – all those that have hit the required number of hours by this date will be awarded the pin. All hours will go back to zero on 1st January 2017.

A full list of the volunteers being awarded with pins to date is below, if you were unable to join us at the event last week please come to the Information Point when you are next on shift so that we can award you your pin.

Frank Scavera 736
Mark Orton 622.75
Sahidul Islam 401.5
Peter Barry 363.5
Keith Gabriel 359.25
Henry Mapperley 245
Graham Soames 227.25
Ricky Brown 203
Sarah Chapman 200.25
Edward Wingate 196.75
Olive Wenborn 187.75
Hilary Victor 183.5
Richard Darby 182.75
Lynn Barker 172
Catherine Ellis 149
Trudi Barnes 147.25
Pauline Djian 142
Viveca Dutt 140
Rohit Jobanputra 133.75
Janet Lowe 131.75
Anne Jennings 129.75
Brenda White 121.5
Christine Daniels 115.25
Jenny Marshall 112.5
Feras Al-hamadani 107
Jenni Hurme 99.5
Jacqui Gagan 98.75
Gillian Bourke 97.75
Clive Myers 94.5
Paul Harper 94.25
Alison Richmond 93.25
Jane Huntley 91.75
Oluwafunmike Akande 90.25
Ann Senior 88.5
Andy Macgarr 86.5
Lizzie Newbold 84.75
Alberto Carcaba 81
Karim El-houssami 79.75
Colin Plummer 79
Sally Elton 78.5
Laura Lincoln 77.25
Helen Roycroft 76
Di Russ 74.75
Steven Skamarski 74
Stephen Rowe 72
Pat Strange 66.25
Fatima Lee 65.5
Katie Blake 65.25
Liam Cornwall 64.5
Maggie Mathison 64.25
Lynne Ellis 62.5
Daniel Kovacs 61.5
Hasmita Shah 60.5
Ray Ellis 59.5
Shinobu Wakamatsu 58.75
Ben Waite 58.5
Pauline Martindale 57.75
Geoffrey Longster 57.5
Susan Marchant 57.25
Janet Lambert 57
Kathleen Mcenteggart 57
Janet Davies 56
Stephen  Shooman 55.75
Jean Death 54.75
Jane Astin 54
Paul Lazarus 54
Gillian Morgan 52.75
Tim Benson 52.5
Kathryn Taylor Saunders 51.25
Tom Cavanagh 50


Park Champions ride the slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit

Park Champions also had the opportunity to take on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide. It is fair to say that everybody that experienced the thrilling descent loved it!
Following their hair-raising descent the volunteers and stakeholders went on a tour of the Park with our two community guides, Di and Stephen.

More photos of the trip are available on the Park Champions Facebook group.

Park Champions – Volunteer experience feedback

To ensure that we are developing a programme that is exciting, engaging, interesting and fun for you, your feedback is hugely important. This is your chance to give us your opinions on how the programme runs currently and how you would like to see it develop.

Please do take the time to complete this survey as all feedback is greatly appreciated:

Become a runner!

The world’s best athletes are coming back to London and this is your chance to see them compete for the title of World Champion at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The London 2017 Organising Committee has launched its search for ‘Runners’ – the volunteer programme for the World ParaAthletics Championships and IAAF World Championships.

They are looking for up to 4,000 volunteers to be at the heart of the Championships, helping to deliver the event in The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and across London.

The IAAF World Championships and World ParaAthletics Championships will be the biggest celebration of athletics in the capital since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Being a Park Champion, your expertise and knowledge of the Park would be an incredible asset to the ‘Runners’ team. If you want to be part of the event please follow the link below:
Who can be a Runner?

Everyone! Whatever your background or ability, there are no barriers to being one of our volunteers.

Every Runner will receive an official volunteer uniform to wear during shifts, which you can keep after the Championships as a souvenir, and meal vouchers for The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

How do I get involved?

Applications are now open to become a runner and will close at midnight on Sunday 16th October 2016. If you would like any further information before applying, click here to visit the FAQs.

Euro Hockey 2015 – 3 Lessons Learnt


The 2015 Unibet EuroHockey Championships took place over nine days during August 2015 and was the biggest event that England Hockey had ever run in terms of volunteers and spectators.

The event consisted of 16 international teams from 11 countries and was broadcast on BBC Television. As you can imagine organising a competition of this size involved a considerable amount of work, and England Hockey knew that having the correct volunteers and using them effectively would be critical to its success.

Setting Up The Volunteer Opportunities

All opportunities were setup on the as ‘Applying’ opportunities. This meant that all volunteers were automatically informed that they were applying for a volunteer role, as opposed to it being a ‘first come first serve’ basis.

By utilising the ‘Enter a brief description’ function, volunteers were asked to leave a brief description as to why they thought they were suited to the opportunity. This enabled England Hockey to capture and short list large numbers of volunteers with relative ease.

Sessions were split into morning and evening and volunteers had to attend a minimum of 7 sessions to be eligible. This ensured that the cost of kit and training per volunteer was kept to a minimum.


Preliminary calculations suggested they would need 300 volunteers to fill 40 different volunteer roles (opportunities) ranging from team liaison officers to spectator services.

The first wave of recruitment started in September 2014 as part of a three month application window. This was followed by a second wave of recruitment in April to cover roles which had a low uptake.

By the end of the second recruitment drive 881 new volunteers had registered and 268 volunteers were confirmed on the event, with only 5 no-shows during the event.

The majority of the volunteers were from the UK but they did have some from the Netherlands and Germany.

Lessons Learnt

(1) Opportunity Not Required

The event went very smoothly with no major issues. There was one catering staff role which they had recruited for but it turned out they were not needed, but these volunteers were redistributed to other roles.

(2) Combining Good and Bad Opportunities

The one big lesson they did learn from the event was to combine the ‘Programme Sales’ volunteers based at the gates (which was a comfortable and enjoyable role) with the ‘Welcoming Staff’ based near the train station (which was a little isolated and had a high drop-out rate). By combining the roles they would be able to rotate the volunteers so everyone gets a chance to experience the arena.

(3) Dealing with Drop-outs

Organising the sessions when people dropped out, and moving people around from popular opportunities etc. This was the biggest task…making sure that they had enough numbers per session.

Although VolunteerKinetic allowed volunteers to mark themselves as ‘ Not Attending’ via the website, volunteers often contacted them by phone or email. This meant there was a manual process for the admin to complete in order to keep the system updated.

Covering the drop-outs was dealt with by sending SMS Texts via the VolunteerKinetic system, asking volunteers for urgent help filling the gaps.  This proved to be a very succesful approach which allways more than covering the short falls.


Overall a very positive and successful event, volunteers were very happy with the system, a small number of the older volunteers were unsure of how to register but this was easily managed over the phone. They managed to recruit a large number of Hockey Makers who were experienced but new to hockey.

“The biggest advantage was allowing volunteers to register online, we couldn’t imagine having to do it via email or paper applications, it would definitely would have been a huge task without the VolunteerKinetic system.”

Natasha McMorrow (Officiating & Volunteer Administrator)

How Manchester Sports Development Team tripled their volunteer numbers in 6 months

Manchester Sports Development team are part of Manchester City Council (MCC). They are responsible for the development of leisure provision through volunteering, education and the sustainability of sports clubs.

Prior to using VolunteerKinetic an annual brochure was distributed to sports clubs, leisure facilities and libraries containing information on local clubs and volunteer contacts. The process was expensive, time consuming and difficult to keep up to date.

Government spending cutbacks in 2008 led to the end of the brochures and forced the department to rethink how they communicated with the public. They were left with a conundrum; how to sustain thier volunteer management programme with a smaller budget.

A review revealed what was needed was a One-Stop-Shop for sports volunteering, which not only connected volunteers with providers, but also allowed them to measure the success of the volunteer programme.

VolunteerKinetic offered the solution they were looking for, an interenet based system that would put volutneers in touch with people who needed volunteers and also record their activity.

They launched VolunteerKinetic in 2009 with 150 volunteers taken from their original records with the aim of reaching 500 volunteers within two years. Existing volunteers and sports clubs were informed of the new system via mail shots, phone calls and word of mouth.

By utilising the power of the internet they reached 500 sport volunteers in less than six months, and to date they have over 5000 active volunteers registered on the system.

Richard Fuber – Volunteer

Richard Fuber“I started volunteering during the comonwealth games in 2002, but during this period I had to wait for a news letter to come through the post. The new system sends me weekly news emails and SMS texts, it also lets me to search for opportunties whenever I want, so its much easier for me and has meant that I am much more involved in volunteering.”

Craig Abel (the administrator of the system) currently spends two days per week managing the volunteers, allowing him more time to get out of the office and promote their volunteer programme.

As a result of this sucess the VolunteerKinetic system has been rolled out by GreaterSport across the whole of Greater Manchester. All the systems are linked together giving each sports development team the opportunity to share their volunteering opportunities, which has proved very useful for large events. It has also meant that GreaterSport can capture all the volunteer numbers and logged hours for each region, without having to chase around asking each local authority for figures.


“The Social media (Facebook, Twitter and WordPress) functionality within the system is an effective marketing tool that allows for volunteer led promotion, access to a much richer dataset, a wider range of KPI reports and an understanding of the geographical spread of volunteers. The soon to be released Smartphone app will only accelerate the growth of an already sucessful volunteer programme for us.”

CSP News: Manage Your School Volunteering Programmes

New VolunteerKinetic Update Allows Your Schools To Manage Their School Games, Sports Leaders, Duke Of Edinburgh And Citizenship Awards

The new features in VolunteerKinetic version 6.5 have been specifically built to assist CSPs with managing their schools volunteer programmes. By implementing VolunteerKinetic you would be giving schools in your area the ability to promote and manage all of their own volunteer opportunities, leaving you to view the reports and concentrate on promoting sport across your region.

Allows schools in your area to:

  • Register on your system and customise their own student facing webpage
  • Create volunteer opportunities and limit them to their students or specific groups of students
  • Students can register on your system and automatically be linked to the school
  • Schools can communicate with specific groups of students
  • Students hours can be logged and authenticated

Allows you to:

  • Report on your volunteer programmes in real-time.
  • Removes the need to chase up schools for volunteer hours
  • Create custom area lists so you can search for volunteers or logged hours by bespoke regions (eg. North, Central, South)
  • It also acts as a natural pathway to keep volunteers interested in volunteering after they leave school as they can still join other opportunities on your system.


Why It Is Important For Volunteers To Link To Facebook and Twitter

When volunteers first register they end up on their social media page where they are given the option to link their new account with their Facebook or Twitter account.  Many volunteers are keen to join a specific opportunity or are unsure about what messages will be sent to their social media account, so they choose to skip this step and rarely return to the social media page to complete the link.

Spreading The Word

Every time a volunteer Joins An Opportunity or Logs Hours the system can automatically send Twitter or Facebook messages which help promote your system to their friends.

Screenshot2If one of their friends clicks on the link at the bottom then it will take them to the specific opportunity on your site.  This acts as a effective way of promoting your site not only to their friends but the friends of their friends via Re-tweets and Sharing  of Facebook Posts.

Google Rankings

One of the key ways that Google ranks your webpage is by trawling through the internet and seeing how many times it appears.  When an opportunity is created the web address for the opportunity appears once on the internet, but if your volunteers share it then it will appear many more times (as shown below).  This will make a huge impact on your Google score pushing you higher up the rankings.


How do I get my volunteers to link to Facebook or Twitter?
Administrators frequently come into contact with their volunteers during group registrations, inductions and at opportunities.  Do not be afraid of asking the question “Are you telling your friends about all the good work you are doing via Facebook or Twitter?“.

CaptureMany volunteers will not be aware that they can link to social media at any time by going to PROFILE > SOCIAL NETWORK from their menu.

Others may be afraid of sharing their information, but you can put them at ease by informing them that the system does not capture any of their data from their Facebook or Twitter account.  Reassure them that they can unlink their social media accounts at any point with a click of a button.

You can also send out an email or SMS text to all volunteers asking them to link up their account, a prompt every six months will not annoy the volunteers who have already linked their accounts, and will also act as a reminder to those who haven’t.

If you have any further questions regarding this subject then please do not hesitate to raise a support ticket or phone the support line.


Version 6.5 Update

Version 6.5 of VolunteerKinetic has now been rolled out across all systems. It represents a minor update to the software and contains the following key features.

Ability to Share Opportunities With Other Systems

You can now request your system to be linked with another system, allowing you to promote your opportunities to a wider cohort of volunteers. This update originated from GreaterSport where all 10 local authorities and 3 university systems have now been linked together across Greater Manchester, so when a provider or administrator creates an opportunity in any of the 13 systems they are asked if they want to share with their larger network.

How To Link Systems

1) Raise a support ticket detailing which system you want to be linked to.
2) Once your system is linked, you will see an additional question when creating opportunities (shown below), if you change this option to YES then the opportunity will be made available across all systems within that linked group.

Example: If you are only linked to one other system, by selecting YES your opportunity will be viewed by volunteers on both systems.


These external volunteers will be able to join the opportunity and the provider of the opportunity will be able to see the volunteers basic information and communicate with them in the normal way. So it will look and feel no different to the volunteers or providers.

The logged hours will belong to the system the opportunity is created in. But admins will be able to see a report showing how many hours their volunteers have done on external opportunities.

If you would like your system to be linked to another organisation the please let us know (obviously this will require consent from all parties).

Custom Areas

Administrators can now setup and search volunteers via their own set of geographical areas. So when the admin goes to the FIND VOLUNTEERS screen and clicks on the TOGGLE MORE SEARCH OPTIONS button they can choose to search for volunteers who come from their defined area list.

To do this you will need to raise a support ticket requesting an AREAS template, we will then send you an Excel spreadsheet with a list of all Outcodes in the UK.

Note: Outcodes are the first part of a postcode eg. L2 4GH the outcode would be L2, or M32 5KG   the outcode would be M32.

Once you have completed the spreadsheet and sent it back, we will upload it to your system and the extra fields will appear on the RESIDENT IN AREA dropdown as shown below:


Provider Groups

A number of our customers will be using VolunteerKinetic to manage support programs such as Sports Leaders programmes or Duke of Edinburgh which includes recording and monitoring young peoples volunteering activity.

In this release we have enabled providers to create their own groups and move their volunteers between these groups. This will allow schools, that are providers to place their students in their corresponding class or Sports Leaders group and target opportunities and communications to them directly.

In addition we now allow volunteers to register via providers profile page, this automatically links the volunteer to the provider so the provider can see their logged hours and communicate with them.

Providers can also direct volunteers to a REGISTER AND GROUP page (shown below) this looks the same as the normal providers profile page but it allows volunteers to select a provider group when they register (eg. sports leaders L1) this will automatically put the volunteer into a specific provider group saving the provider the hastle of manually grouping them.


Reporting Snapshot

Just a quick change at the top of the REPORTING > REPORTING & ANALYSIS page to give some basic stats about your members. This shows the same opportunity stats as on the home page but also adds average age plus minimum and maximum age.

Interestingly this has brought to light an issue where genuine accounts have been added with seemingly incorrect birthdates giving some very young volunteers! It appears that people are entering the right day and month but not the correct year.

We will look at ways to make this less likely and will also be contacted all younger members (<16) to ask them to check and correct their profiles if their birthdate is incorrect.CaptureThere are also the usual small improvements, bug fixes and layout changes that all help to put a shine on the user interface. Still big news to come about version 7, TeamKinetic and our national site.

Manchester VSB cross the 35,000 volunteer hours mark

Manchester VSB crosses 25,000 volunteer hours

Manchester VSB crosses 25,000 volunteer hours

Manchester City Councils Sports Development team were the first to utilise the power of Volunteer Kinetic with the introduction of Manchester VSB. Since their rollout in 2010 their volunteer numbers have increased dramatically from 30 to over 4600, with volunteer now logging over 35,000 hours.

The VolunteerKinetic system is managed by Craig abel who spends less than one day per week administering the system, allowing him to spend the majority of his time promoting their volunteer Programme.

Here are some hints on how you can do the same:

  • Let VolunteerKinetic do the work, don’t get bogged down with entering information for volunteers or opportunity providers.
  • Get yourself to where potential volunteers gather, whether thats University Freshers Fairs, national competitions or any related major event.
  • Always make sure there is more than enough opportunities for volunteers to look at.
  • Make sure the opportunity titles catchy and interesting.
  • Always include any perks in your description no matter how small you think they are.

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