TeamKinetic

Build better volunteer communities with FREE volunteer management software

Author: James Carr (Page 1 of 2)

TeamKinetic: Driving Innovation in Your Volunteer Management

The current world is obsessed about innovation, development and becoming the next thought leader. Yet, many of us are happy in the comfort of routine and familiarity, and rarely expose ourselves to new challenges or experiences. We simultaneously crave new technology whilst holding on to tradition and conformity, and have become experts at managing and maintaining such cognitive dissonances.

The organisations we work for often openly encourage innovation and creativity, whilst prioritising regular duties done in the regular way at the regular times. There is little time allocated to focus solely on collaborating with innovation as the desired outcome.

As volunteer managers operate mainly within the third sector, there are numerous barriers to encouraging creativity: lack of resource, inspiration, nurturing of talent, autonomy and responsibility. These barriers are often heightened with increasing legislation, regulation and concerns for safeguarding which restrains volunteer managers further.

So, how do you unshackle creativity and innovation?

You challenge, you invite and you drive a change in attitudes, moving from being failure adverse towards learning and growth through failure.

Easier said than done, right?

There is a strong consensus by successful thought leaders that it is the small changes that result in the larger positive outcomes we achieve, often referred to as the compound effect or butterfly effect. These are the micro-changes that are easy to make but harder to sustain, but if successful will lead to much grander achievements.

From conception, TeamKinetic has been striving to do just this, overcoming the issue of recruiting a large number of volunteers in a relatively disengaged community. TeamKinetic recognised the volunteer management process had become stagnant in moving with the new technological age.
By identifying the challenges of volunteering, identifying recruitment, recognition, rewarding and reporting, each aspect needed a reformed approach.

By challenging the status quo, exploring new avenues and including a different approach, TeamKinetic were able to redefine volunteer management.

Our software development is driven by an end user approach and before we start any new development we ask: “how will this improve the volunteer experience?”. This approach results in software with a humanistic touch, encouraging self selection and exploration, and promoting self-growth for volunteers. By altering the focus from what we do that can benefit you to what is it that would benefit you most TeamKinetic is able to understand the needs of its sector in an honest, open and insightful way. TeamKinetic continues the process by testing improvements and listening to the response of industry leaders, specialists and those operating in the Third Sector.

How can you drive innovation in your volunteer management?

As a volunteer manager, you have great opportunities to influence the experience of volunteers. This will impact directly on the productivity, retention and relationship between your organisation and your volunteers. To start to improve volunteer experience take a moment to consider what problems you are currently experiencing with your volunteer management and what aspects could be improved.

Once you have identified problems consider the barriers to resolving them. Listen to stakeholders and to those that problems impact most, as these are the people who understand the problems. Then consider alternative ways of solving the problem and how other sources of inspiration can be used to achieve a solution. Obvious small changes can be implemented immediately and solutions for larger issues can be implemented via a long term plan.

TeamKinetic wants to help and share our insights in volunteer management. We also love listening to your thoughts and ideas and contricutions to our blog are welcome and encouraged. Please feel free to get in touch with us:

Email  |  LinkedIn  |  Facebook   |   Twitter  YouTube   |

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TeamKinetic Case Study:  NHS Pennine Acute Trust Volunteer Workforce

TeamKinetic NHS PENNINE A

It is no secret that the National Health Service is planning some big things to celebrate its 70th Birthday, including two leading projects: The cultural history of the NHS and The NHS at 70. Collectively, these celebrations coincide with the bigger movement to increase volunteering within the NHS and David Cameron’s Big Society.

The excitement for such celebration and the increasing role of volunteers within hospital trusts made it fitting to share the experience of NHS Pennine Acute Trust developing its voluntary workforce through TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software.

A few years ago, NHS Pennine Acute Trust acknowledged its current method of volunteer management, which used a basic version of Microsoft access, was becoming outdated and limited in its capacity to effectively manage and engage volunteers.

Exploring the options available became the responsibility of Jo McCallister, Volunteer Service Manager, at the Trust. Recognising that social health volunteering is different to other voluntary sectors, with a much more rigorous recruitment process, including the processing of DBS and additional documentation, required due to the nature of work, a system that was capable of supporting this process was essential. Jo also understood to create a strong, reliable and motivated workforce the software needed to provide effective channels of communication:

“Creating strong lines of communication is essential to any engaged team, more so in the voluntary sector as you have to understand what the volunteer is seeking and if you  able to fulfil their desire through an opportunity”

When searching the different volunteer management software systems available, TeamKinetic was “a stand out product, with a fresh and easy to use interface” prompting Jo to explore it further. With key features that surpassed the capabilities of the previous management method, such as logging hours, personalised and group emails, links to social media and the ability to upload additional documentation, the TeamKinetic software was an ideal match for the Trust.

To date, the TeamKinetic volunteer management software has successfully assisted in the recruitment of 550 volunteers, of which 90% are actively volunteering. Jo relates the success of the volunteering programme to everyday improvement the software has made: “Day in, day out, we know what we are doing, what our volunteers are doing and what needs to be done”.  Being able to have a structured system in place has made her job and those in her department much easier. It also provides a sense of security and continuity with new or alternative administrators able to pick up the system quickly and easily if required.

The multi-tier system, between volunteers, admins and opportunity providers, benefits all of those involved. By devolving the workload of information input, documentation upload, opportunity posting, the collection of feedback and generating reporting, it reduces the workload on volunteer managers. This saved time can then be used more effectively in building those interpersonal relationships with volunteers. Furthermore, volunteers are able to access and view opportunities online, which appeal to the growing amount of younger volunteers, with a quarter being under the age of 25, and for those older volunteers the system requires little to no training. Commenting on the experience of using TeamKinetic:

“we definitely advocate the benefits of TeamKinetic. As volunteering evolves so to must the system used to manage it. You need a system that is live and up to date, which TeamKinetic definitely does.

The team is very receptive to feedback. They listen to your thoughts and suggestions, putting them on your own wish list. They then see if it feasible and would benefit other volunteer managers, and then add it to the software’s roadmap for future inclusion.

We highly recommend you get one of the team to speak to you about how TeamKinetic can improve your volunteer management, or get in touch with us at NHS Pennine to see how we are benefiting from the software each day”

To learn more about TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software and how it could help your trust celebrate the NHS 70th Birthday or any other voluntary workforce needs please contact one of our team.

email on james@teamkinetic.co.uk  | Call us on: 0161 914 5757 | Book a free demo: teamkinetic.co.uk

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

TeamKinetic Repost: A Sense of Appreciation Is the Single Most Sustainable Motivator at Work

Here at TeamKinetic we often enjoy reading and sharing with one another articles that challenge and explore our values, opinions and actions. This week I received an article on appreciation. Having read the article, I felt that others should also be able to appreciate its message.

Just before you read this article, I encourage a moment of reflection.
Ask yourself: when was the last time I really said thank you? I don’t mean as you rush away from the cafe with your morning coffee or as you pass someone holding the door. When was the last time you went out of the way to show your gratification to another person?

Similarly, when was the last time someone went out of their way to appreciate what you did?

It doesn’t take long to realise how satisfying it is to be appreciated and to appreciate. For me the last time was at the end of my summer job, before I returned back to university.My manager, who I had only known for a couple of months at the time, gave me a handwritten thank you card and a gift voucher. The gift voucher was for our favourite coffee shop chain so that I could get my favourite coffee after stressful times, just as we would do after completing a hectic day at work. The unexpected appreciation and thoughtful gesture had taken me by surprise and has stuck with me.

I now welcome you to click through here:

A Sense of Appreciation Is the Single Most Sustainable Motivator at Work

TeamKinetic is a company whose staff often demonstrate their appreciation for one another and I hope that appreciation flows on forward to our clients.
Kind Regards,

James

TeamKinetic Welcomes Welsh Cycling

Welsh Cycling recently decided to refine its strategy for its volunteer workforce of officials, judges and event volunteers. This refinement included making the recruitment, retention and recognition of volunteers an easier and more integrated process. Maxine Rhodes, Volunteer Coordinator,  was responsible for implementing these changes and chose TeamKinetic to help. She wanted to change from an internal document based system to an accessible purpose built cloud-based software solution.

After receiving an initial recommendation by Cardiff Metropolitan University and others, Maxine was eager to explore how TeamKinetic could support the core purpose of the national governing body to get more people cycling.

Maxine explained that the objectives for Welsh Cycling were to increase the number of volunteers involved in existing events, expand the calendar of events and promote the accessibility of the sport.  With a large contingent workforce, made up of officials, judges and volunteers one of the key requirements for Welsh Cycling was to have a system that allowed the effective management of a large pool of volunteers.

Maxine outlined the key criteria that Welsh Cycling would be looking for in a new system.  Functionality was key and the ability for the software to “point, click and work the first time” was a fundamental requirement.  The software also needed to be future proof and easily scalable to allow Welsh Cycling to connect with other pools of volunteers outside of cycling.

On a personal level, Maxine believes motivating volunteers to be essential in maintaining a workforce. We were able to demonstrate how TeamKinetic helps Institutions, National Governing Body and Local Councils, to look at how they are rewarding volunteers.  Volunteers can log their hours, which provides useful data, collect achievement badges and use the Volunteer Hour Trade Vouchers, which enables them to exchange hours logged with the organisations, from t-shirts to coaching badges.

Maxine comments, “I think this is a brilliant way to expand the reach of your organisation as you are creating relationships, rewarding volunteers and establishing a community around your sport”.

The software has further enhanced Maxine’s role by making a greater depth of data and insight available through reports which can be used to show the value and impact of a voluntary workforce.

Commenting on her experience with TeamKinetic Maxine said,  “The thing that really impressed was the friendliness and accessibility of the team. They were so good at demonstrating the possibilities of the software.  It’s so much more dynamic than just a matching system. Then of course there is the setup. It has been very straightforward. TeamKinetic performed the initial steps and then showed us what to do so that we could just crack on – it’s great!

“Steve is just great, taking me through the implementation and training process. I love the sense of humour in the team. They are a lovely team to work with and I found this system in all honesty very simple to use.”

Welsh Cycling is now live with the TeamKinetic’s Volunteer Management Software in preparation for the Youth and Junior Championships and the Icebreakers Event which will run from January through to March. You can check out further information on:

http://volunteer.welshcycling.co.uk/vk/volunteers/my_news.htm?StoryID=610

For further information on TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software please visit teamkinetic.co.uk or call 0161 914 5757.

 

Sport Influencer – Women off the Pitch: Women on the Board

TeamKinetic is excited to be supporting the ‘Sport Influencer – Women off the Pitch: Women on the Board’ which is being hosted in Manchester later this month.

Sponsors and panellists revealed for upcoming Sports Influencers event

Sports Influencers (SP.IN) has announced KPMG and Hill Dickinson as sponsors of its second panel discussion.

The event will debate the role of women in sport and business and take place on Monday, January 29 at KPMG offices in St Peter’s Square Manchester.

The all-female Northern Powerhouse-focused panel discussion will include the thoughts of Hill Dickinson Head of Commercial Litigation Geraldine Ryan.

According to a survey by Women in Sport, the number of women getting top jobs at UK sporting bodies is down by 6% since 2014, with half of the 68 Sport England and UK Sport-funded national governing bodies having fewer than 30% of non-executive director roles filled by women.

KPMG’s Manchester Office Senior Partner, Nicola Quayle, said: “We are delighted to lend our support to the Sports Influencers team and celebrate the many accomplished women making huge strides in sport both on and off the field.

“It really is time to come together to discuss how women can continue to thrive in the industry and look at the role we are more than equipped to play as business leaders across the region. Sport is a vehicle for social change and a wonderful opportunity to bring together women, and also men, on a path to greater inclusivity within the sector.”

Geraldine added: “It’s been great to see women from the North West blazing a trail both on a regional and national scale. Just look at the ambition of Amanda Staveley to bid for a club as iconic as Newcastle FC a few weeks ago, or the achievements of Man City Women in the FA Women’s Super League, a division with nearly half of teams coming from the north.

“The sports agenda contributes so much day-to-day conversation, so I’m looking forward to sharing my insights at the SP.IN event in January.”

The panel will also include GreaterSport Chief Executive Yvonne Harrison, with other influential figures from the world of sport to be revealed in coming weeks. It will be hosted by Sky Sports presenter, Hayley McQueen and BBC Radio Manchester Head of Sport, Sarah Collins.

The not-for-profit outfit has been developed by former Manchester United relationship director Luisa d’Aprano and Managing Director of Podium Group and former chief executive of British Fencing, Piers Martin.

The pair, with support from partners including Manchester City Council, public relations agency Roland Dransfield, and creative agency, HT+E, aims to ensure that sport becomes a credible and meaningful element to the Northern Powerhouse debate.

Luisa said planning for a programme of SP.IN events in the New Year was well underway already, with a further two events planned for 2018.

She said: “We are delighted that leaders such as KPMG’s Nicola Quayle, has agreed to partner with us in hosting this event in their Manchester offices, and that Geraldine Ryan and Yvonne Harrison will be sharing their unique insights into their experiences of working in sports leadership roles.

“They are all trailblazers in their own industries, so we expect it to be both an engaging and meaningful discussion. So many of today’s athletes and sportspeople have the right skills for many businesses today.

“We look forward to announcing more speakers in the New Year and announcing additional events which will be just as compelling as this one.”

Originally posted on Business Manchester by Phil Ghayour.

Be sure to join TeamKinetic at this fantastic and insightful event by booking your ticket below:

https://sportsinf_womenontheboard.eventbrite.com/?aff=Kinetic18

TeamKinetic and GLL explore the Volunteering within Leisure

Manchester based TeamKinetic has been working alongside some of sport and leisure’s biggest names. As part of a larger consortium, led by Sport and Recreation Alliance, TeamKinetic, Volunteering Matters, Jump and Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) have grouped together to explore how volunteering can be grown within communities and enable people to live healthier and happier lives.  Katie Ellis, GLL’s National Community Engagement Manager, explains the shared vested interest:

 “Volunteering is relevant to all spheres of life and volunteers are making a positive impact on economic, social, cultural and environmental issues. Volunteering can empower people and communities to fulfil their potential and contribute to social change. It can also engender a greater sense of ownership of ‘bettering’ their community. Volunteering supports the delivery of council outcomes, local well-being, public health, social cohesion and economic growth”

Many Local Authorities have identified a need to support and manage volunteers as part of their community work, but realise that the lack of internal resource and support to be able to do this. This has resulted in many local leisure contracts now including volunteer management as a requirement and it is expected future tender documents will also have KPI’s related to volunteer recruitment and management. TeamKinetic has already been successful in providing volunteer management software to many of these bids, including Glasgow Life, Cardiff County Council and Manchester Council.

As part of their work, TeamKinetic and GLL have decided to explore the role leisure can play in achieving this goal. TeamKinetic is one of the leading providers of volunteer management software and believes teaming up with GLL, who already run community engagement projects supported by local authorities and sport clubs, will create the perfect opportunity to do this.

The two organisations are planning to launch a pilot programme that will tap into the unused volunteering opportunities within leisure, from those that are involved with the facility, to the potential use of community space that leisure centres could offer, thereby embedding volunteers within the community. As the leading leisure operator in the UK, GLL is capable of extending the piloted programme across the nation.

This project will produce the findings used to evaluate and showcase how the investment of time and resource in developing volunteers within the leisure sector can provide a big return on investment, which will be produced in collaboration with Join In and Sport England.

The project which is proposed to kick off early in the New Year will see one local authority pilot the project before being scaled up across the GLL estate.

Steve Hall, one of the Directors at TeamKinetic: “To play a fundamental part in research that showcases the value of volunteers is something that excites TeamKinetic greatly. It is something we have always believed; we hope the evidence will reflect it”

For further information on TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software please explore our website or email james@teamkinetic.co.uk or call 0161 914 5757.

5 Reasons your organization does NOT need a Volunteer Management Software System

The modern volunteer coordinator is facing their latest industry challenge. Triggered by a political interest in big society, social action and volunteering, the third sector is finding a growing inclusion of volunteer management software and volunteer KPIs in tenders, bids and strategies.

This is causing a stir within the third sector as many volunteer coordinators are using the same methods as their predecessor, using extensive filing systems, paperwork and only a telegram or notice board to communicate with volunteers.

Without understanding or knowing the benefits of a management system, it is understandable that some still believe the following five reasons as to why their organisation does not need a volunteer management software system:

  1. Volunteer management software is too expensive

The cost of any new system is often expected to come with a hefty price tag. But volunteer management software is designed for the third sector in mind, with the vendor understanding the limited resources available in the third sector. Thankfully, free versions of volunteer management software are available, with higher functionality available at a paid premium.

  1. [insert basic database or spreadsheet software] is “fit for purpose”

Many organisations believe that the current piece of software used in their organisation, such as Microsoft Excel or Access, is perfectly capable of managing volunteers.

Just as an organisation avoids using Excel for its accounts, instead of using specialist software, the same should be done for volunteer management. Using the wrong software can unknowingly be very limiting and time-consuming.

Using volunteer management software, not only reduces the workload for the volunteer coordinator and spreads the workload across all users, it improves communication, creates easier reports and provides more opportunities to recognise volunteers’ efforts.

  1. My organisation would not benefit from learning more about its volunteers

Using volunteer management software can provide a much more detailed understanding of the volunteers interacting with an organisation. From identifying simple data such as which volunteers are most active, the opportunities most participated in through to more complex insight such as common search terminology, conversion rates and geographical reports.

  1. If a Volunteer is looking for an opportunity they will get in touch

There are some organisations that believe if volunteers want to find an opportunity they will take the initiative themselves to contact the organisation and find out about the opportunities available. Without a central coordinating destination, the effort involved to discover who to contact and how to contact them can easily dissuade volunteers from bothering. The use of an online solution provides a crucial channel of communication between the volunteer and opportunities provider. It enables opportunities to be posted, accessed and registered anywhere with internet access via volunteers email and social media which can be shared automatically, thereby attracting more individuals to support the cause.

  1. My organisation does not see the benefit of recognising and rewarding volunteers

It can prove challenging when managing a large workforce to make sure each volunteer receives a personal ‘thank you’. Volunteer management software enables the organisation to do this through email, text and social media platforms. The use of HourTrade vouchers, an exchange of volunteered hours for a coaching badge, for example, is one method of rewarding a volunteer. It further enhances the recognition of volunteers by setting up achievement badges, which the provider can allocate to reflect the number of hours volunteered. These small gestures are just the start of how volunteer management software is capable of helping to recognise, reward and motivate volunteers, which is crucial in developing a strong workforce.

For many organisations, the idea of introducing a new system seems a strange concept, especially when the method they are using is coping or the above reasons have been expressed. Hopefully, this article will have challenged some of those beliefs and encouraged some further exploration into the use of Volunteer Management Software.

If that is the case, then please feel free to speak with TeamKinetic, an experienced provider in this field.  In the past eight years, we have transformed the management of volunteers in Hospital Trusts, Sports Organisations, Local Authorities and Universities by providing our volunteer management software.

If you would be interested in discussing how TeamKinetic can help your organisation please call 0161 914 5757 or email james@teamkinetic.co.uk or to book a free demonstration of the software visit: teamkinetic.co.uk

International Volunteer Day: My experience delivering social action

Today is International VolunteersDay, aptly falling between November’s #IWill campaign and December’s celebration of the Sport Personality Awards, including the Unsung Hero Award.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to share my personal experience in volunteering and social action.

‘My social action started in my school days, raising money for various causes and through coaching at my Boxing Club. Today, I continue to do coach at the Boxing Club I founded at my University and regularly find opportunities to take part in volunteering and social action. This activity has helped me develop as an individual and is an important part of my life’

I wanted to begin by considering the impact of the Step Up To Serve and the #IWill campaigns These initiative has contributed towards increasing meaningful social youth action involving 42% of the youth population. The campaign’s purpose is to develop the skills, character and life opportunities for those aged between ten and twenty, whilst also providing benefits to communities, causes and social issues. This to me is essentially what all volunteering achieves, but it’s the focus on young people that resonates with me.

I hope that sharing my story can help others to relate and feel inspired to begin or get back into volunteering.

The first time I was involved in delivering social action was seven years ago when I was a disproportionally lanky thirteen-year-old.  I decided to run a fundraiser to support the Stroke Association, a charity that had recently become close my heart.  As it was to be run at our school I needed something that would capture students’ attention, open their wallets and encourage them to donate to charity instead of their grumbling stomachs at lunchtime.

I decided the best way was to fulfil both of their needs was by running a charity cake store at lunchtime. I visited a local cafe which was renowned for their tasty cookies and sweet treats. I successfully managed to secure several trays of freshly baked cookies to be collected on the morning of the event.

The day of the event and my team kitted out with tops sent by the charity and branded balloons, stood by our stall ready for the lunchtime bell. Needless to say, the cookies sold out, within just ten minutes! We had made around £50 to donate to the charity. Even though it was only a small amount I remember feeling proud when I sent the money to them. I knew it would contribute towards the larger impact the Stroke Association were making in helping people, like me, whose lives had been affected by a stroke.

It was at this time that I began coaching at my local boxing club. I had been training there for a little while, mainly because my older brother used to go.  I had several amateur fights lined up when I was forced to stop, indefinitely, by the doctor. I decided not to give up on the sport but to carry on my development in a new direction. I began coaching others, both older and younger. From teaching simple footwork, to taking pads and setting up drills, I began coaching twice every week and went on to gain my coaching badge qualification.

Coaching provided a new channel to focus my energy. It helped develop my character and confidence tremendously; I learnt the importance of communication, how to earn respect and how to motivate others. For the club it helped to have an extra pair of hands, allowing the trainers to spend more time focusing on individual boxers. It really was a win-win as it kept me involved and engaged in the club and a sport that I loved.

When I returned to contact sport eighteen months later, and throughout the rest of my teenage years, I continued to be involved in various forms of social action -mainly through fundraising and coaching.

In college, I found that students’ wallets were still only accessible through their stomachs. Thankfully, running Krispy Kreme’s ‘Raising Dough’ was the perfect way to convince them otherwise and to support charity.

At university I found many opportunities and causes I felt urged to support. The first was for Toby’s Gift, a charity set up following the passing of Toby Hart who donated his organs to save four other lives.  As part of a team, we ran a pub quiz off the beaten track in Dyffryn, North Wales.  The event was a hit as we raised £450.  Everyone there was so generous and supportive of our cause, which only helped to enhance the sense of fulfilment that we had from running the event.

Unfortunately, not everything was so smooth in my first year at university.   As the hopes of joining a largely integrated boxing club within the university fell short as there wasn’t one! There were no coaches, no equipment and no facilities for even those who had an interest in joining a boxing club.

I set about the next year convincing the Student Union to invest in equipment, allocate facilities, and promote the club ready for the next academic year and to find a coach.

Sadly, trying to find a coach to commit to the time slot we had available was challenging. I decided to step up and take charge of coaching the club myself. A club that had no members, an empty studio room and 25 pairs of new gloves with 5 sets of pads. Knowing the challenge at hand, I infiltrated as many student social hotspots to create awareness and interest for the new club.

Over the next few weeks the attendance grew to a consistent 30 members a week We would frequently exceed the capacity of the room as we welcomed new members to try it out.  I coached the club each week, drilling them on technique, fitness and skill. This was helping them to lead a better life and for some was the only form of physical activity they participated in during the week. The club is now in its second year and has grown to have two sessions a week, one of which I continue to coach.

The club also created a social platform for students to meet like-minded individuals, make friends and have a sense of belonging. Together we created a community that shares their experiences, interests and passions. On a personal level, I enjoyed every moment of the 270 hours I spent in the first year volunteering and developing the club. My experience and passion for volunteering was a key speaking point at interviews for a placements and helped me secure employment.

These experiences have been invaluable to me. They built my confidence, taught me how to communicate, work with a team and helped me to develop leadership, planning and organisational skills.  At the time I never fully appreciated the benefits of my experiences. Now, on reflection, I realise just how much they have helped to shape me into the confident individuals I am today.

As I now fall into the top bracket of youth social action and am on placement working fulltime, I am considering how I am can continue to support various causes and increase my impact on the world.

I hope to keep pursuing exciting fundraising opportunities and to amplify the impact my coaching has on the lives of others.  I also want to explore new opportunities and to consider how I can use my skills to benefit others when I return to university, after my placement, and in the long term.

I invite you to join me and make a commitment to challenge yourself and help others through social action. You could start your own Krispy Kreme ‘Raising Dough’ or find out how you can help my favourite charities Stroke Association and Toby’s Gift

I thank you all for reading and welcome any feedback or comments, and  invite you to share some of your own stories and experiences.

James Carr

Plugin with Do-It and TeamKinetic

Here at TeamKinetic we’re excited to tell Volunteer Managers about the launch of our new Do-It plugin. We believe we are the first volunteer management application that offers a direct method for leveraging the power and reach of Do-It’s opportunities finder right there on your dashboard.

Do-it.org is the UK’s largest database for posting volunteer opportunities, with an established presence and heritage since 2000. Since then it has connected millions of volunteers to opportunities available throughout the UK. The database hosts more than 50,000 volunteer opportunities which appear in the top results of Google organic searches for volunteering in the UK. As a result, Do-it.org is a great platform to promote volunteering opportunities to a wide audience of potential volunteers and is frequently the first port of call for first-time volunteers.

TeamKinetic understands that it is great to be able to post opportunities nationally, but organisations also need to be able to track the attendance of their volunteers, receive feedback and produce data driven reports. Since its conception, these functionalities have been core to the TeamKinetic software service.

For the last eight years, TeamKinetic has been improving volunteer manager’s ability to manage their workforce through the intelligent volunteer management software. It has been used by Local Authorities, Universities, National Governing Bodies and a host of other third sector organisations. Collectively their volunteers are quickly approaching the one million hours logged and tracked through TeamKinetic software.

We believe that by combining the use of Do-It.org with TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software, third sector organisations will be able to harness the full potential of both systems. Do-it.org is a great place to advertise opportunities and TeamKinetic is ideal for managing the volunteers to fill those opportunities. Our new plug in will let you do just that.

When creating new opportunities, simply enable the “share nationally” option and that’s all there is to it. In the background, the plugin creates the opportunity and uploads the provider details. The opportunity is searchable on Do-it.org and Google almost instantly.

After a prospective volunteer finds the opportunity they will be directed back to your opportunities page, where they can then sign up and join in. You’ll get the benefits of TeamKinetic’s management tools plus the advantage of being listed on Do-it.org, the UK’s largest volunteer website. Win-win!

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