TeamKinetic

Build better volunteer communities with FREE volunteer management software

Author: Chris Martin (Page 2 of 10)

Denise Larrad BBC Sports Personality 2017

Following on from one of our recent blog A Waterfall Begins From Only One Drop of Water TeamKinetic wanted to continue sharing inspirational stories. We recently spoke with Denise Larrad, BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award Winner at the Sports Personality of the Year 2017 ceremony. TeamKinetic is excited to announce she will be joining us at our 5th annual conference, with more details to be confirmed. First, we wanted to share her inspirational story:

Who is Denise Larrad?

A mother of two, 56-year-old Denise Larrad was selected to be a torchbearer for the Olympic Torch Relay at the 2012 Games. She was selected for her outstanding contribution to fundraising work by Asda, her employer. After being chosen to carry the Torch for the Games Denise had one sole aim – to get the people of Hinckley, Leicestershire, active.

Despite working night shifts in a warehouse, she finds time to help lead walking, orienteering, running and general fitness classes for children, families and the elderly. With a host of different activities and exercises sessions, Denise motivates and nurtures participants to be more active.

She is a trained walk leader, putting on weekly sessions for the elderly on behalf of the charity Age UK and also organises orienteering courses across the borough in town parks, woodlands and schools.

Tell me a little bit about how you got started as a volunteer?

I can’t tell you how I felt when I got this little red box with a running man in it.  It said ”you have been chosen as one of the Olympic torch bearers”.  Can you imagine how that makes you feel, you know. It was such a huge honour. Following then, I really wanted to give something back to the people of Hinckley.

How did you end up carrying the Olympic torch? 

I’ve always been a runner, I’ve run marathons and climbed up Kilimanjaro with Martina Navratilova and Gail Emms. But usually, it is just me, as there has been no need to involve anybody else. That’s why I got nominated to carry the torch.

I ran the relay with Sebastian Coe through Sheffield on the 25th June, it was brilliant. I thought to myself, I’m not going to miss this opportunity, so asked him for his autograph.

Once I had carried the flame, I came back feeling inspired and motivated by it all, to go do something within my community. I went to the Local Council and told someone there how I wanted to get the people of Hinckley moving.  The person I spoke to put me on run leader, walk leader and orienteering explorer training, so she provided me with the training for it all. I have also become a cycle leader.

What do you think is behind your continuing motivation to volunteer within your community?

I think it is what I am passionate most about, the walking, the running and general act of getting people more active. Having achieved everything so far and to receive national recognition, it’s certainly something I want to continue pursuing and hopefully take a little bit field in the future.

Were you a member of a club before you started volunteering?

No, I used to just run by myself. I never went with anybody.  Somebody on my Sport Personality video said “she’s like a dynamo, she never stops” that’s me.

What do you think society at large can do to improve people’s outcomes with these things?

This is the difficult one.  I think having someone like me helps, you need someone who is passionate and really keen to get people moving, working in the community and willing to facilitate it all. Paid and volunteer working together, a combination of both.

All our groups are welcoming, friendly and bubbly. Once people come, they want to come back again. We have a Facebook page where people can join the 140 members, I get about 50 to 60 participants each week.

http://www.facebook.com/groups/1751032761783867/

Did you/do you have support from any other organisations?

I have support from the council, mainly from the Cultural Services and the Sports Development Team. If I have any questions, concerns or need stuff printing then they provide support. But on a day to day basis it is just me, but thats okay as were pretty much self-promoted.

Did you/do you have support from any other volunteers?

No not really, I’m a one-woman crusade.  Just me.

What do you think is the key to building stronger communities and clubs?
The thing for me is the passion. I absolutely love what I do, there is nothing I like better than getting people moving, nothing at all. It’s what gets me up every morning and keeps me going.  I’m a very enthusiastic person and optimistic, glass half full.  Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same.  If they lack the passion, then they are less likely to continue participating or contributing.

Getting other people involved is key, but it bring its own challenges with it. You have to find the right people to share that passion with, nurture and train them, that’s what happened to me. Although the council trained me, it was not something they previously offered out, it was because I asked.  We have had others in my group become leaders, but they are yet to do something with it.

What do you think puts people off volunteering?

This is something I recently discussed at another conference, I think it’s time. It is going to take so much of their week away and they haven’t got the time.  We said if you can break the volunteering down into manageable chunks, so it is not all just one person doing everything and other people are sharing the load.

What do you think makes volunteers happy, how should you look after and reward them?


It’s sharing their passion.  Its sharing and helping people. Getting comments on Facebook, “I could never have done that half marathon Denise, without your help.” Things like that where you know you’ve made a difference.

I don’t think volunteers do volunteering for rewards.  I really don’t.  Prior to this year, I had never received any awards or anything, and it hasn’t stopped me for wanting to do it. It is not about the rewards it’s just to get people more active, Knowing you have done that and making a difference is the reward that is the bottom line for me.

It doesn’t have to be a free t-shirt or whatever. Unfortunately, sometimes the simplest acts can be the most rewarding or damaging.

On one occasion, I unfortunately had an experienced that made me very close to stopping everything I did. I felt undervalued and hurt during a photo shoot for a local organisation I am a run leader for.

There was myself who has been leading runs for five years and another run leader who has been leading runs for six months, we had both been asked to bring along some people for the shoot. I arrived with nineteen others, whilst the other lady, who happened to be about twenty years younger than me had bought two.

Now the photographer pretty much completely ignored me.  This lady was given a run leader vest for the shoot and I never received one. It felt so unfair, it made me feel horrible. I’m 56, no spring chicken and I’m not a super model but I was made to feel completely and utterly unwanted. It made me feel like I was completely worthless, you come away from that type of experience thinking I’m jacking this in. This sort of thing, a lack of recognition, can be more damaging and make volunteers feel worthless.  In that 1 hour photo shoot, they could have ruined 5 years of run leading.

The reality is I’m facilitating people, they are the ones who come out doors on a cold wet night and actually do it. I just keep reminding myself about that.  They make the decision that they are actually going to come and in return I will continue my commitment to them.

What are your future plans for your voluntary work?

I want to get this message out to as many people as possible, I want to share the joy of volunteering, what you can get out of it.  I want to do as much as I can whilst I am the unsung hero this year to get this message across.  I’m going to carry on doing what I’ve been doing in Hinckley, I’m not going to stop that.

I’ve got a meeting with the head of the council on Thursday to look how we can take some of this stuff a little bit further and I’m hoping to set up a charity in Hinckley to get some activity evenings in the summer for families and kids, so they can come 5 till 7 in a local park where we can do lots of fun things that involve moving about.  If you can get them young as children and involve the family, it sets them up for life.”

This insightful interview with Dennise Larrad, demonstrates the willingness and potential volunteers have with the right spark to ignite their passion. As the unsung hero, Denise represents the positive influence that one person can have in their community. With little support she has helped hundreds of people to become more active, improving their wellbeing and health. She is eager to continue her work and TeamKientic is excited to hear more about her journey in our 5th annual conference.

If you would like to know more about  TeamKinetic, volunteer management or anything discussed in this blog, feel free to get in touch.

A Waterfall Begins From Only One Drop of Water

“A waterfall begins from only one drop of water, sir. Look what comes from that…”

(The Power of One, 1992)

Waterfall

Can a single person change the world? It’s a thought that has been on my mind for some time and the recent success of the Space X heavy illustrates just how one person can make a difference. When people ask me why I do what I do, I keep coming back to this idea. When I say it aloud, it sounds conceited and ridiculous. I struggle to apply context to my wish to change the world, and that makes my ambition appear grandiose and self-righteous.  

So I have decided to change my approach to this question, and rather than making “crazy” proclamations about what I do at TeamKinetic, I have started to look at what it is we are actually doing to change our world.

The first thing to note is I have changed the pronoun from “I” to “we”. Each of us can change our own behaviour but the real magic starts when you move from “lone nut” and look to bring others with you, to start a movement! That is our ambition here at TeamKinetic. To build a volunteer management system that allows people to change the world around them; their sports club, their community group or whatever their passion might be.

TeamKinetic intends to put our money where our mouth is, as we try and be the change we want to see in the world. We believe that business should be and can be a driver of positive change for equality, for the environment and people’s lives.

One of the first ideas we had was to share the wonderful work our customers are involved in. How can we promote your successes and shout about your achievements that through TeamKinetic we have played a small part in making possible?

We want to share your stories with our other customers, system administrators, volunteer managers and sector leaders. We want to share how you have actually achieved the change you wanted in the hope that some of the best practice can be replicated, that we can all learn from each other’s failures and successes.   

So here is my first call to action. Each and every one of you, please look at your volunteers, your providers and if you have a great story to tell, something worth sharing. However small, we want to know. Volunteering is powered by stories, great stories of how people worked together to create the community they want.

We don’t need a lot, just a few paragraphs telling your story, and we will take it from there.

Submit your stories and ideas directly to me at chris@teamkinetic.co.uk and for each story, we use we will send out one of our VolunteerKinetic t-shirts to the people involved with a letter saying thank you for their wonderful work.

This will form the basis of our new resource area for volunteer managers, where eventually we will have a shared document repository for admin users to share and swap documents, a question and answer forum and all the updates and videos from our Kinetic Academy sessions.

Let’s start a movement.

TeamKinetic: How to recognise and appreciate Volunteers

Spending time to appreciate and recognise your volunteers plays a crucial role in volunteer management, helping you to retain or recruit volunteers. To achieve the systematic involvement of volunteers, they need to be recognised and appreciated on a regular basis. It is challenging to retain your valued volunteers for a long time. If you are feeling frustrated and you run out of ideas, TeamKinetic is here to help and provide you with some creative and smart ideas.

TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software provides various benefits for potential and existing volunteers, which they help you to show appreciation to your volunteers and also to keep them satisfied. First, you can send personalised emails or text messages to each of the volunteers to say ‘thank you’. Volunteers also have the opportunity to earn achievement badges when they complete a number of logged hours of work.

Rewards

And most importantly, volunteers can have the opportunity to turn logged hours into vouchers defined by the organisation.

hour trade

Additional Ideas:

Give appreciation certificates/awards: Certificates/Awards are the formalised form of appreciation for the volunteers. In this way, volunteers receive an official certificate of their effort and job for the company.

Handwritten note: A handwritten note is characterised as a greatly efficient way of appreciation. This form describes why you recognise your volunteers and it should be confidential to them. Through this process, you show that they are valuable members of the organisation.

Publish Volunteer Stories on Your Blog/Website: A personal conversation with the volunteers helps them to be adapted easier and feel closer to you. You can arrange 15’ minute’s interview to ask them about their experiences and get to meet them personally. Then from these interviews, you can create wonderful stories and blogs of your volunteers and also it would be a valuable way to emphasise the importance of their work.

Gift ideas: You could offer some special low-cost gifts including candles, chocolates or inspirational small cards in order to create a more friendly and comfortable environment for the volunteers.

Letter of reference: Offer a letter of reference is a greatly beneficial aspect for the volunteers. It is an advantageous form which helps them in their future jobs.

Volunteers are a fundamental aspect of an organisation because they demonstrate the sensitive part of companies. Moreover, when an organisation or charity works with various volunteers, it shows that they want to give more opportunities to people in order to work hard and be involved in a business environment.

Thus, TeamKinetic has developed contemporary software to show appreciation for the volunteers and award them in different ways, including opportunities to earn achievement badges, personalised texts to say ‘thank you’ to the volunteers are some of the benefits that TeamKinetic provides to the potential customers/volunteers. Through this way, TeamKinetic shows that volunteers are valuable assets of organisations and you need to find different ways to keep them satisfied.

And do not forget….

“The heart of a volunteer is not measured in size, but by the depth of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others”

Make sure you follow TeamKinetic to access exclusive updates on our volunteer management software and access to more ideas that will benefit your volunteers make sure you follow our social channels:

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TeamKinetic: New EULA and Data Policy

On Friday 26th January 2018 our new EULA and Data Policy was enacted.

Since 2016, organisations have been preparing for the reformation of data protection in the form of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). For many organisations operating within the third sector, a certain apprehension has loomed, driven by concerns for their volunteer’s database.

TeamKinetic, as providers of volunteer management software, wanted to offer reassurance to our beloved customers and those interested that we are aligned with the new legislation in preparation for the 25th May 2018 deadline.

As the biggest change to data legalisation since the Data Protection Act, GDPR is poised to revolutionise how individuals can manage organisations use their data.  TeamKinetic have undertaken an extensive review of all our policies and procedures with the imminent launch of GDPR and have made some changes to some of our most important agreements.

Below is a concise summary of the major changes made. However, we strongly recommend you read the more detailed policies accessed in our Terms & Conditions which includes full details [click here]

If you have any concerns after reading this, please get in touch with me at chris@teamkinetic.co.uk.

 Things that have not changed

TeamKinetic will still never sell your data to a 3rd party.

We are still registered as a data controller with the Information Commissioners Office (ZSA036104)

Privacy by design, Privacy by default

We have always taken user privacy seriously at TeamKinetic, carefully balancing that with the desire by our users to access the opportunities they are most interested in seamless fashion.

The new policy is significantly more detailed. The significant changes are outlined below:

  • As a company, we have explored in much greater detail the role of data usage across our business, and this is reflected in our policy introduction, legislation, and scope. We felt it was important to establish what parts of the business this document will directly address.
  • GDPR requires a much greater level of detail on what user data is collected, we have tried to make it clear what data we are collecting and in what context we will be using that data.
  • Since our last policy review, we have added an iPhone and Android applications which make use of additional phone features. As part of our GDPR policy review, we have added a stand-alone “Mobile” section that addresses the specific differences between mobile and traditional desktop usage.
  • Data sharing is essential for the operation of the TeamKinetic, but we want our users to feel confident that the data they trust us with is being shared Our new Data Protection and Privacy Policy identifies what data is shared with whom in much greater detail.
  • TeamKinetic collects a range of data including personal data, some of which is of a more sensitive nature, we also collect a range of metadata which we use to improve the performance of the software. Our new Policy identifies the types of data that are collected and how we use, share and store that data.
  • Tracking and analytics systems such as Google and Nielsen are fundamental to the operation of the internet. These systems track user and site behaviour online and require TeamKinetic to provide a range of anonymous data; the new policy explains our approach to these systems.
  • Social media plays a significant role in TeamKinetic, and as such we have identified the role of social media specifically in the use of data in these platforms.
  • We explicitly define that all TeamKinetic data is stored in the UK.
  • As part of our policy review, we have established Information Governance best practise guidelines that now forms part of all company employees ongoing training and induction. These guidelines are listed in detail.
  • Finally, we have added sections to our policy that deals with “Subject Access Rights” and “Compelled ”

These policy changes have been reflected in our whole business and our updated End User Licence Agreement.

Kind Regards,

Chris

If you have concerns about these changes or wish to discuss in more detail what it might mean for you and your application, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Chris Martin on 0161 914 5757.

Introducing TeamKinetic: Elena Boura – Wonder Woman

Have you ever wondered how wonder woman would be as a marketer?

Well, that’s me. The newest addition to TeamKinetic’s team. Here is my story and the reasons I chose Marketing as my “day” job.

Finding the job you want to do, is not always the easiest scenario. In many cases, students attend university and realise that what they had chosen is no longer what they really like. ‘Like’, seems to be the MAGIC WORD! Let me explain what I mean.

When I finished my studies in political science I realised that I gained a valuable set of skills, but no longer favoured the area of knowledge I had acquired. I had learnt to research, report, critique and build balanced arguments. I had gained valuable insight into the political world, understanding its systems, institutions and behaviours, but none of this left me feeling fulfilled. I was hungry for more energy, creativity and a bigger challenge in my everyday life. For this reason, I began exploring new career pathways.

I decided to attend several career guidance days. I learned things about different sectors and industries where I could apply my skills and passion too.  I then visited several companies to meet executives in various sectors and job positions. I had many discussions on the nature of their work and how their skills, knowledge and experience helped them in each role. This was the time when I learned about Marketing.

Marketing is about communication and psychology. You learn how companies target their consumers and build relationships. It’s about presenting services or goods using different tools. It’s about building brand awareness and increasing sales. I realise this is what gets me excited; business development through digital and social media marketing.

Just as Wonder Woman had journeyed from her exotic home, Themyscira, I left my exotic homeland Greece to begin a new adventure.  Arriving in the UK little over a year ago, I began studying for a Marketing Msc at the University of Salford. It was during my time studying, I noticed the number of third sector organisations including the non-profit’s, charities and NGOs.

It was during my time studying that I began volunteering for the “Green Impact Project”.  I took responsibility for the creation of marketing material designed to improve the environmental performance of the University. Volunteering was a great opportunity for me to make friends, practices my skills and help make my university more “green”.

Later in the year, keen to continue building my experience, I volunteered in a marketing role for a hotel in Southport.  I created a new website and increased brand awareness. The participation in volunteering has been greatly beneficial and has provided me with a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. For me, it was a unique opportunity to help other people, something I will certainly do again.

Upon graduating from my Masters, I was eager to search for a role where I could apply my previous working experience, my volunteer involvement and also developed the skills I had gained.

When the opportunity to join TeamKinetic arose, I was interested in how I could help them. I was attracted by the values of the company, the idea of helping to build communities and volunteers, and the opportunity to put my Masters into practice. I believe that I can bring my skills in communication, digital skills, research, analytical skills, initiative and creativity to TeamKinetic.

Learning about Volunteer Management will be a new challenge and opportunity, but gaining an understanding of the sector’s needs will be mutually beneficial as I develop my skills and help the team to develop their understanding of the voluntary sector.

I am excited to begin working with the best team I could have hoped for.

Feel free to get in touch elena@teamkinetic.co.uk

An open letter: To the people who make getting active, less about the activity and more about getting involved.

 

National obesity awareness week

We are well into January and already my new year’s resolutions are being tested beyond my willpower limit already, this year’s ambition, to do more and eat less, is already looking shaky.  That’s why National Obesity Awareness Week could not come at a better time.

Here at TeamKinetic, we work with a wide range of organisations that provide sport, wellbeing, health and fitness opportunities, so I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss the importance of volunteers and voluntary organisations when we talk about weight management.

Behaviour change is difficult; we as human beings, are not good at making daily decisions that are good for our long-term health with the many temptations that provide short-term satisfaction so easily available.  When we think about it, it’s easy not to go to the gym or to eat that cake as often that is in the short term the easiest or most pleasurable path forward.

When we think about getting more active, its difficult to remain motivated by the thought that in 12 months I may be slightly lighter and fitter. With this in mind, we need to think about other forms of motivation, how we can make the road to the goal more “sticky” and easier to stay on.

What the research seems to suggest is that developing friends and having a strong social setting around your physical activity makes you much more likely to stick with it.  Having people who understand what you are going through and are there to offer support and a friendly face mean your motivations are not just based on fitness, but on a desire to spend time with your friends and peers.

Whether you’re a participant, a volunteer, a coach or just someone who supports the group and helps out at the start and end of sessions, you are part of that team or group; you provide that peer network and you play an essential role in making that group “sticky”.

As we recognise national obesity awareness week, I say thank you to all of you who make all these activities take place, whether you’re a helper, a coach or just making sure people feel welcome when they decide to come along.

Keep up your essential work people.

TeamKinetic: A Reflection of the Year

By Chris Martin, Founding Director

As the festive celebrations are in full swing, it seems fitting to take a moment to reflect on the last year and consider what the next twelve months might hold.

With political affairs, scandals and a host of natural disasters, 2017 will certainly be one for the history books. On a personal level I will remember the year for quite different reasons and as one of the most challenging and rewarding years, I wanted to self-indulgently share my experience of the year.

I kicked the year of with a New Year’s Day swim in the Irish Sea, supporting the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. I was rather excited to be taking part in it all, but it did include some slight moments of embarrassment, as I was in a wetsuit and the 88-year-old lady next to me was only sporting a bikini!  This really struck me in a metaphorical sense; the year ahead may be hard and challenging, but it was important to just go for it and get it done.

We settled into new offices early in 2017, located in Manchester and it was around this time Sport England announced their first allocated funding for volunteering. This was an exciting proposition for the sector, finally, the hard work and development had become recognised at a national level.

For me, the start of the year had a different kind of excitement and anticipation. My second child, George was born on the 6th of February and as much a bundle of happiness he is, I have not managed a solid 8 hours sleep since. The following months seemed to flash by and before I realised, we were in May.

TeamKinetic joined Altius Sports and British Cycling in launching the HSBC City Ride, a fantastic series of participation events. The same month also saw our first major update to TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software which introduced a host of new features and updates.

This all happened just in time for our annual Volunteering Conference which TeamKinetic runs in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. Amongst the guests, we welcomed industry leaders, our beloved clients and our first international delegates from Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme.

With Yvonne Harrison, CEO of Greater Sport, as compère the stage first welcomed Carwyn Young of Sport Wales, Jenny Betteridge of Sport England and Emma Boggis from the Sport Recreational Alliance. Discussing the differences between borders, acknowledging the similarities and noting the importance of a national volunteer strategy created an insightful talk. Chris Jones, CEO of England Athletics closed the event in the most entertaining fashion, sharing his family’s experience volunteering, and how that has influenced his perspective and the strategic direction of England Athletics.

The event was a big success and was a brilliant platform to share how organisations are developing volunteering. This video by Sport Wales is a brilliant example of how to motivate volunteers.

A week after the conference was my wedding – I clearly forgot to check my diary when planning both events. June became an extremely busy and stressful month, but my fiance was not accepting my excuse of being too busy to get my suit fitted. Thankfully both events went without a hitch and I didn’t look too shabby on the big day.

More good news arrived in the form of a pilot project with England Athletics, naming us as its selected partner to better manage officials, events and volunteers. We will be sharing more on this in the New Year.

TeamKinetic went international in 2017. Our first overseas customer was Africa Pearl, who we collaborated with to deliver a fantastic project in the Gauteng Province. This ambitious project took mentors into schools, with the aim of addressing the behavioural and social drivers of HIV/AIDS and TB. The programme is designed to constructively engage out-of-school youth in supporting learners in schools and consequently offering these young people a living and long-term future. The programme will also up skill and provide practical experience resulting in a recognised qualification, thereby empowering all those involved.

Our second international customer was from the USA. Humanity Road use innovative technology and social listening platforms to connect people, animals and emergency officials with help and resources when disaster strikes. It provides impacted areas, often overwhelmed in confusion, with a lifeline to services that otherwise can be impossible to access. Using TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software, Humanity Road manages a voluntary workforce that supports the work of local officials and emergency response teams.

Closer to home TeamKinetic welcomed many new organisations that were keen to manage volunteers in a better way. TeamKinetic began working alongside Energize CSP, Cannock Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles, Monmouthshire County Council and an expanded the work at Glasglow Life to include all aspects of their work

We continue our mission to be the best volunteer management software and community platform in the world, resulting in some big developments this year. This included the iOS and Android Apps for the mobiles; a newly developed interface to Salesforce; Integration into Do-it.org; and a new functional API allowing our customers to access their data and integrate with their existing software.

What I have learnt from 2017 is that even in a world challenged by austerity, Brexit and Trump (to name a few), there is still a huge amount of positivity, created by the good will and positive nature of us all. This is evident in the time, effort and support individuals continue to provide to the causes they care for.

As I look towards 2018, I feel energised knowing that we can continue to make a difference in our communities and in the causes we care. We need to continue reminding ourselves and others of the importance to help others and realise the larger social responsibility we each have.

The next year already has promised to bring just as much excitement and nervousness as the last. TeamKinetic has some big projects already planned, that we look forward to officially announcing in the New Year. On a personal level, I am not planning as many life milestones but hope to enjoy those days of significance with my family, with a few Birthdays and my first anniversary to add to the list.

The political climate might look to be more challenging than last year, which I did not think possible, but I believe the balance will return. I am regularly reassured by the regular act of selflessness that I am frequently reminded of through my work.

On that note, I would like to thank you for joining TeamKinetic through 2017 and the team here would like to extended a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Warm Regards,

Chris

 

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

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.

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