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Category: News & Views (Page 1 of 13)

Wales Council for Voluntary Action WelcomesTeamKinetic’s Volunteer Management Software

We are pleased to announce our bi-lingual system for WCVA is very close to becoming live for volunteers. The new system will provide an integrated platform for volunteers, volunteer centres and opportunity providers to communicate and manage opportunities.

WCVA Screenshot

WCVA Volunteer Portal

Already the system is being populated with opportunities on a temporary domain so that when the system becomes available for volunteers in June they will have plenty of exciting options to chose from.  The system will be integrated on the same pre-existing volunteering all-Wales database previously used: .

Once a volunteer has followed the simple five-stage sign-up form, volunteers are able to start searching for opportunities straight away. These opportunities can be searched for by keywords, distance and interests.  Volunteers can also track their progress and development; as they are able to log hours, track opportunities joined and receive incentives through digital badges. Opportunities can also be shared on social media channels such as Twitter, helping to further amplify volunteer engagement.

Organisations have access to a range volunteer management tools including reports,  rotas and events planning, log hours on the behalf of volunteers and communication features. These tools help to reduce time spent on administrative tasks, so organisations can focus on supporting volunteers and identifying new opportunities.

Commenting on the use of the TeamKinetic Fiona Lidell, WCVA Volunteering Development Manager, said: ‘We are pleased to be able to offer a user-friendly and efficient platform to encourage and support volunteering in Wales. At the same time, we recognise that not everyone wants, or is comfortable with digital systems. That is why we will continue to offer a parallel face to face service through local volunteer centres’.

You can read a volunteer’s experience signing up and using the system here.

To find out more information on our TeamKinetic, please feel free to get in contact:


Phone:                                 0161 914 5757

For over ten years TeamKinetic has been developing innovative technological solutions for third sector organisations. We pride ourselves on our volunteer-centric approach and intuitive design.

Volunteer Management Software that WORKS.

TeamKinetic Case Study: Seashell Trust Finds A Functional Solution to Volunteer Management

Seashell Trust is home to the Royal School Manchester, a non-maintained special school, and the Royal College Manchester, an independent specialist further education college. Both school and college are residential and together cater for students from the age of 2 to 25. Students who attend our school and college are able to access on-site residential and short break facilities. A range of services are available to students, including an all-inclusive sports facility, specialist therapy, as well as staff with expertise in autism, multi-sensory impairments and behaviour management. We also offer a wide range of inclusive sport, health and leisure activities for the community including our students and staff.

With a team of 540 staff, two-thirds are full time and a further 150 volunteers, the charity’s workforce is large and mobile. The responsibility of managing the voluntary services within the Charity falls upon Stephen Pearson, Volunteer Coordinator.

The following case study explores how TeamKinetic has supported Steve and Seashell Trust in its volunteer management, improving the recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Firstly, please can you explain your role at Seashell Trust?

As volunteer coordinator, I am responsible for overseeing all of our voluntary services, from the recruitment, compliance checks and safety requirements for opportunities. I also work within the organisation to identify and develop opportunities for our volunteers, making sure the departments can support, develop and manage volunteers.

My role involves community engagement, sport and recreation, family support and outreach work, throughout all of these we try to encourage involvement from other organisations. I also look to manage our corporate voluntary services, as find many businesses and large organisations allow their staff two to three days of volunteering a year.

Why did you start looking for volunteer management software / How did you come across TeamKinetic?

Previously, we depended greatly on the use of excel spreadsheet as our database. This caused us challenges when trying to sharing or accessing with other users, such as when we wanted to produce reports.

We needed more functionality that came with a purpose-built software: the ability to sign up to opportunities through a website portal, to advertise opportunities online, the ability for volunteers to leave feedback.  Whilst exploring the different options available to us, we noticed with TeamKinetic software, opportunities can be shared in a network of connected organisations if opted in for. This provided volunteers with the unique opportunity to be able to join opportunities from different providers, but within the same area for example.

How have you found TeamKinetic meets your organisation needs?

Firstly, I believe the software has benefitted Seashell Trust, as everything is now available remotely through the cloud.  On the most basic level, it supports us as opportunity providers with recruiting, monitoring and reporting the activity of our volunteers. It provides our volunteers with a professional interface for them to find opportunities and interact with us an organisation.  It enables volunteers to register their interests online, access and join opportunities available, update their profiles with their DBS and CPD documentation and track the opportunities they have participated in.  These functions are only further enhanced when you consider how easy the system is to use.

TeamKinetic provides a better user interface for opportunity providers to communicate with volunteers, by providing plenty of options, from email, social media and text messaging. Combined with the feedback functionality for volunteers, the software creates a greater emphasis on communication, which helps to keep volunteers engaged.

Do you have any other comments or anything to add?

For other third sector organisations, I would highly recommend that they have a chat with the guys from TeamKinetic. The software they provide is exactly what it says on the tin, it works from an administrative point of view. You just have to point and click, the results are there. The software is colourful and visual, meaning it’s not a bore having to use and then there is plenty of support and assistance available to get the most from the software. The useful help guides and training manuals, combined with the specialist support provided by the team is really good.

As a product, I feel it is leading the market, with its regular updates, advanced functionality and the support provided. I think it really is one of those products that ‘does what it says on the tin’. We live in a digital age and if you are serious about keeping volunteers and recruiting new ones, then you have to change with the times. Something that I think TeamKinetic does.

Thank you, Stephen, for both your time and answers.

To find out more or to book a demonstration contact TeamKinetic at:


Phone:                   0161 914 5757

For over ten years TeamKinetic has been developing innovative technological solutions for third sector organisations. We pride ourselves on our volunteer-centric approach and intuitive design.

Volunteer Management Software that WORKS for Third Sector Organisations.

TeamKinetic Academy: Facebook Live Training Dates for TeamKinetic 1.0


With so many new features and products in TeamKinetic 1.0 (TK1.0) we thought it would be best to invite you all to a series of master class sessions with Steve and the team.  This new version has the potential to take your volunteer management to a new level.

Join us on Facebook to see our interactive demos and join in the conversation directly with Steve.  As you know we love to talk through how and why we have made some of our changes. We also love to hear yours and your volunteers thoughts and feedback and this heavily informs our next versions.

These sessions are designed to be short and easy to follow, with loads of opportunity for you to ask questions.

References Wednesday 25th April 13:30
TeamLeaders Friday 27th April 13:30
Setting Maximum Sessions Wednesday 2nd May 13:30
TeamKinetic Chatter – Opportunity Chat Rooms Friday 4th May 13:30
Managing External Opportunities Wednesday 8th May 13:30
Reporting Update Friday 11th May 13:30

If you can’t make one of these sessions, don’t worry, we will be keeping the video on Facebook, as well as adding it to our YouTube channel and where appropriate putting them into the help documents.

Of course, you can always get in touch via the support tickets, email, phone or chat function. We want to know what you think, so please get in touch.

We look forward to seeing you this Wednesday for the first session

To find out more information on TeamKinetic, please feel free to get in contact with one of our Team by:


Phone:                    0161 914 5757

For over ten years TeamKinetic has been developing innovative technological solutions for third sector organisations. We pride ourselves on our volunteer-centric approach and intuitive design.

Volunteer Management Software that WORKS for Third Sector Organisations.


TeamKinetic Academy: TeamKinetic V 1.0 Software Update

TeamKinetic is pleased to announce on Sunday, 22 April 2018, the latest update of our volunteer management software went live.Combining the Volunteer, Access and Club Kinetic into one singular application. TeamKinetic V 1.0 brings with it a host of new features and functionality, in this blog we look to explain specifically what they are:

Why TeamKinetic v 1.0?

We have now fully integrated Volunteer, Club and AccessKinetic and our old version numbering was based on our VolunteerKientic releases. So it’s time for a new beginning.

What should I look out for in this release?

This is a huge update with great additions to TeamKinetic’s functionality as well as under the hood changes to improve speed and reliability.

Look out for TeamLeaders, volunteer referencing, our new ‘Focus’ design, Android and iOS apps, more customisation and GDPR compliance.

Check out the new features on the demo site before they go live on your site

To access the demo site as an admin click here

From here you can see the new layouts, features and improvements.


Data Protection and Security

GDPR changes

You can see a summary of the changes we have applied for GDPR here

Information Governance ToolKit

As part of our commitment to the highest standards of data protection and information governance, TeamKinetic has undergone extensive self-assessment and external assessment by the NHS Information Governance team.

Apps and mobile

iOS and Android

As the march to mobile’s dominance in how many people interact with digital technologies continues, TeamKinetic have been working hard to catch up with this trend and provide an effective user experience available across all mobile devices. We have created a single mobile app that all volunteers can access.

Version 1 of the iOS and Android App is now available for your volunteers from the Apple App store and the Google Play store.  From your mobile device, you can access the app store and SEARCH “TeamKinetic” and you will be presented with our app to download for FREE.

Below you can see how this should look.  The Apps are only accessible to your existing users.  All new users must create an account via the website before they will be able to use the app. This is just for Volunteers at the moment, but still includes all the basic features you would expect including searching for opportunities and logging hours etc.

This is our first attempt in the mobile space so as always we welcome your feedback on your experience as we will look to improve this over the next 12 months.

We plan to prompt users to download the app when they log onto the site. App Acreen Shots

TeamKinetic now on Google Play and iOS APP Store.

Design and usability improvements

Volunteer opportunity management area

Making it easy for a volunteer to manage their opportunities continues to be of the greatest importance to our design process as this significantly influences the volunteer’s engagement with the site.  We have looked to bring all elements of opportunity management into a single area so a volunteer can easily join/ leave sessions, leave feedback, log hours, see a map of the opportunity location and join the opportunity Chat.

Using the new focus layout, volunteers can quickly see the navigation and actionable areas of the page.

1 Design Improvements

More customisable emails

It has long been our ambition to give you the ability to edit all emails that the system sends.  Over the next few months, you will notice the editable ‘customise emails’ list will grow as we expand this function.

Combined viewing and editing volunteer profile page

Volunteer information is now neatly and logically situated on a side menu, allowing easy access to all their information.  We have removed the EDIT button and instead made the fields editable directly from each page.

Combined viewing and editing opportunity page

We have replaced the opportunities green menu bar and replaced it with a slicker side menu, removing the need to scroll down endlessly to find what you are looking for.


Shorter improved menu for volunteers

In design, less is often much more. This is why we continue to strive to reduce clutter and simplify the volunteer experience.  It has been our aim to have all key volunteer functions only one click away from the front page.

The Volunteer front page acts as a snapshot of everything that volunteer needs to know.  This will continue to be a work in progress as we look to improve the user experience, but this is the largest overhaul to the volunteer pages since we started some 10 years ago. As always are keen to hear your feedback.

Full set of sharing icons for volunteers to share opportunity details to social media

5 social sharing

Where possible we have tried to make it simple for volunteers and providers to share their opportunities via existing social media, leveraging their existing audience reach.

“If you want more volunteers you need to ask!” is the simple advice when it comes to volunteer recruitment.  Building an audience for your opportunities using social media makes asking even easier.

Simplified volunteer qualification and document upload and review

Many opportunities require volunteers to hold specific certified skills or qualifications, these might be achieved through in-house training or awarded by an external body. We have simplified how a volunteer can record their qualifications and training.

We have also added the ability for Admin users to be able to add training and qualifications on behalf of volunteers and lock these documents so volunteers can not remove or alter them.

Each volunteer now has a single page where they can quickly review all relevant certification and training.

New Features


References…References…References!!! The bane of many volunteer managers lives.  All that paper flowing around, and waiting for people to respond can be a nightmare.

TeamKinetic now offers a complete digital solution, allowing you to create your own custom reference forms which are automatically emailed out to referees.  When the referee completes the form, they are automatically attached to the volunteer ready for you to review.

This mean no more referees getting bombarded with the same referee form, as they can be reused for other opportunities.  You can also create higher level reference forms for more demanding opportunities, allowing you to customise your questions in relation to the role.

Say goodbye to references stuffed in filing cabinets and say hello to the digitisation of your entire volunteer reference system.


Teams of volunteers often have a leader, someone who has been volunteering for years, the ‘go to’ person when things go wrong.  For many organisations this person is a very valuable asset to your volunteer programme, and often knows what is happening on the ground more than the administrator or the provider of the opportunity.

You can now mark these people as TeamLeaders within the system, giving them a superior status, and more importantly allowing them to confirm when volunteers have attended.  This automatically logs the hours on behalf of the provider allowing a more accurate representation (in real time) of what is happening on each volunteer opportunity.

Maximum sessions per event

When an exciting event is added to your system there is often a rush by volunteers to get on the best opportunities, as many volunteers will be aware that they may not be accepted for every one they apply for, they often try and join many more than they can practically manage.

For this reason we have built a ‘Max Limit’ function into each event, allowing you to stipulate how many sessions each volunteer can join on a single event.

Map view when searching opportunities

Over the past few months we have had a number of requests to make it more simple to find opportunities based around a particular location.  The addition of a map view whilst searching opportunities offers a very effective visual tool to help volunteers look for opportunities that are near them.

Opportunity chat rooms

Do your volunteers use facebook groups or WhatsApp to communicate amongst themselves?  This can pose some potential risks to you and your organisation. To understand more about these risks read our article on the subject here.  To mitigate the need to use external sites such as these we have added an “Opportunity” chat room.  This is an area where volunteers can talk to other volunteers or the provider on an opportunity.

User safety is of paramount importance so we have equipped the chat room with language filters that limit the use of offensive language, as well as users having the ability to report offensive or inappropriate comments.  Only volunteers on that particular opportunity can use these rooms, so access is strictly managed and people can be removed or blocked from commenting if they are not using the chat room in good faith.

Volunteers do not automatically share any personal data with each other in the chat unlike with other social media.

This function can be disabled for your application if you do not wish to use it, we want to improve the social side of volunteering in a safe setting and we saw this as an important first step.

Minimum notice for leaving a session

This particular feature has been under debate for a long time and has been asked for by a number of customers.  As an administrator, you will now be able to set a minimum notice period that a volunteer must give if they intend to leave an opportunity.

For example, volunteers will not be able to leave an opportunity less than 48 hours before it takes place.  Instead, if they attempt to do that they will be presented with a pop-up message on the screen that says if you wish to leave this opportunity “please contact the provider on Tel no…..”  And the provider can remove the volunteer from the session, but the volunteer will be prevented from removing themselves.

Please be aware of the unintended consequence of enforcing this feature.  Volunteers who can’t leave the sessions may just not turn up, and you may be unaware and under-resourced as a provider.

New sharing page for administrators to track what opportunities are being shared and from where

You can now see which systems are sharing opportunities on your search pages, and how many opportunities they are sharing.  Ideal for when you want to find out information about a particular external opportunity.


Additional reports and quick stats

We have compiled some new exciting statistics for you and revamped the reporting library.  You can now see how a full breakdown of how many volunteers are engaged with the system including; How many have joined at least one opportunity, how many have joined and logged hours and how many have joined multiple sessions.

The reporting page is also broken down into sections by using a side menu, making it much easier to navigate. And it includes a handy DATE RANGE facility, allowing you to integrate particular periods of time.

Zooming capabilities on web analytics graph

The Web Analytics reports now include the ability to select a specific date range, allowing you to pin point particular time periods when you have done promotional drives or canvasing, so you can see in more detail what impact your work has had in regards to people using your system.

8 reporting zoom
Identifying inactive volunteers

The following definitions have been developed to create better clarity
For some time, Admin users have been asking how they can easily identify the level of participation volunteers have with your volunteer programmes.  To help simplify this process we have developed the following definitions to describe a volunteers level of participation:

A “Converted” is volunteers who have joined one or more opportunity sessions.
An “Active” is a volunteer that has attended and logged hours for one or more opportunity sessions.
A “Repeat” is a volunteer who has joined sessions on two or more opportunity sessions.

TeamKinetic hopes you are as excited about these changes as we are.

If you have any additional questions or would like to find out more, please feel free to get in touch with one of the team via email or phone us on 0161 914 5757.

Please note this list is comprehensive but not exhaustive.

TeamKinetic Case Study: How Active Stirling uses TeamKinetic to integrate volunteers

Active Stirling delivers sport and physical activity across the Stirling area on behalf of Stirling Council. The responsibility for recruiting, managing and deploying volunteers and sports coaches falls to a wide range of staff within Active Stirling, including Mark Findlay the Employability and Volunteering Manager at Active Stirling. The following case study explores how TeamKinetic has improved the volunteer management process.

Active Stirling

Hello Mark, can you please tell us about your role at Active Stirling?

Collectively my team oversees the recruitment of volunteers and coaches for our community programmes such as term-time activities and holiday programmes. As part of our work, we also manage the coach education programme, which is aimed at offering local clubs, coaches and volunteers training opportunities from safeguarding and protecting children, first aid courses and other similar kinds of courses.

Can you tell me about the type of volunteers you manage?

We have a range of volunteers that contribute to the work of Active Stirling, the age really varies from young sports coaches to our walking groups. In terms of the number of volunteers we have if you look at our after schools programmes we have over three hundred volunteers helping to deliver breakfast, lunchtime and after-school clubs.

How did you previously manage volunteers?

Before using TeamKinetic, many of our groups were self-contained and operated independently. Of course, this was great that they were able to support themselves, but it also meant they were isolated. Using TeamKinetic has helped us to integrate these groups, provide a single platform for them to communicate and for volunteers from different cohorts to explore other opportunities.

Why did you start looking for volunteer management software?

We needed a systematic way of recruiting, deploying and managing our volunteers. It was around the same time I visited Glasgow Life, where I had previously worked and they introduced me to the software. I then reached out to Steve and Chris at TeamKinetic and we organised a meeting and demonstration.

How have you found using TeamKinetic’s Volunteer Management Software?

We have found the benefit of the software to be in its ability to be a ‘one-stop shop’. By that I mean it has all the functionality you need from an end user, the volunteer, to the opportunity provider, Active Stirling in our case.  It has become much easier for us to signpost our volunteers to finding opportunities.

How many opportunities do you post a month?

Currently, we post between 7 and 10 opportunities each month, but we expect this to rise once have we have the system fully integrated across the company

What makes TeamKinetic a stand out product?

“The system is easy to use and is really accessible for our volunteers 24/7. As many of our volunteers are students, they are able to log on when they want to see what opportunities are available. We can also upload all our training opportunities onto the system which again is great, as it keeps everything in the one place”

Thank you for your time and comments Mark.

With experience in working in Sports, Universities and Local Authorities, TeamKinetic has been leading the volunteer management innovation for the last ten years. Having developed one of the most advanced volunteer management system currently available on the market, with a core volunteer-centric design, it uniquely puts the volunteer’s experience first.

To learn more about the benefits TeamKinetic’s Volunteer Management Software could have in your organisation, please get call or email one of our team:

T: 0161 914 5757


School Under the Tree – Ethiopia – A mid-week reflection

One of TeamKinetic’s founding Directors, Chris, has joined the School Under the Tree to explore future voluntary opportunities in Awasa, Southern Ethiopia. In his latest blog, Chris shares his experiences and what he has learnt so far.

Over to you Chris…

Hello from afar!

In my last blog, I set the scene and expressed how we wanted to identify opportunities to develop this small and underprivileged town with a sustainable funding model for its school.

So as I reach the halfway point of this amazing experience, I wanted to reflect on what I have seen and learnt as a volunteer. I also want to ask you for your thoughts on how we make our projects more sustainable and resilient.

Day 2 – A Bumpy Arrival

After the 11 hours of flying, and 5 of the scariest hours of my life driving, our guide dropped us at our first hotel. Tired and a little travel sick from the journey we settled in for a few beers before calling it a night.

To welcome us into Awassa was Belay, the founder of The School Under The Tree and its head teacher. It didn’t take long before we started discussing the challenges the school is facing, and how with little funding, time or resources they have been coping.

We quickly got into discussing the many issues the school faced, and much like the English primary schools I’m more used to working with, it had neither the money or time to solve many of the problems. Despite being thousands of miles away, Belay was describing the same fundamental issues of many British Primary School.

It also became clear Belay was wary of the four strangers from England, promising him the world.  But once we began sharing our past experience in Schools, mine teaching PE, we started to build a level of trust. One of the most important lessons from this trip has been the building of trust and relationships. If we want to make this project a success, then we need nurture our relationships with the locals. In the evening we said our goodnight to Belay and our guide, settling in for a decent night sleep.

Day 3 – Just a little disruption

I was woken at 5:50 am by the crowing of a Cockerell, which I am convinced was positioned on my window ledge he was that loud! We convened at breakfast to plan our day.We convened at breakfast, making our plans for the day. It was far from the usual two pieces of toast and jam in the UK, but that’s not to say it didn’t do the trick.

There was a mix of nerves and excitement to start our volunteering at the school, we did not know what to expect or how we would be welcomed. But what a welcome it was – excited, giddy, full of smiles and fun.  The children were just as curious as those in the UK, and with many of them not having seen an Englishman you can imagine the amusement. Unfortunately, the school facilities were unlike any I had taught before.  The school had just one toilet, a description I would use loosely and is without a playground or books. Instead, the school relies on enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

It became clear that we were going to be a bit of a distraction, I suppose if are going to be,  you might as well make the most of it. So Wayne, one of my group’s volunteers, began leading a rendition of Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes and so it began.

After lunch we sat down with Belay and picked up where we had left off the night before, discussing the issues he faced. Together we identified the following challenges the small private school faces in delivering an education to the very poorest children in the area:

  • There are far more children than spaces available in the school.
  • Property values in Awassa are seeing a significant increase under the pressure of urbanisation making rent very expensive.
  • The school is fully dependent upon charitable donations.
  • The local tax regime treats private school as any other business and the corporate tax on income is high and treats charitable donations as part of their income.
  • Children who graduate from the school can access free government school places at Grade 1 but many don’t seem to do this and right now we don’t know why that is.

I would love to speak to other organisations or individuals who have experience of working in Africa and Ethiopia who might be able to share their experiences with regards to these issues.

Our solution is to develop a volunteer tourism service for students. We want to recruit up to 20 students in 2019 to visit Awassa for two weeks and work at the school and orphanage as teachers and youth workers. We would train and support the students prior to visiting Ethiopia and they would help promote the charity to their friends and family.

I can say this experience has been truly amazing and has altered my perception of Ethiopia and Africa so much. As a relatively cynical 39-year-old businessman, I have found myself moved to tears by some of the wonderful stories I have heard this week. I think anyone who visited this amazing place would go home a more humble person.

This is our first venture into this type of activity and we are driven to succeed, The School Under the Tree deserves to succeed. I would love to hear peoples thoughts on using charity tourism to help fund this project, and your experiences of the dangers and un-foreseen impacts volunteer tourism can create.

Please feel free to reach out to me:

England Athletics Join TeamKinetic’s Family  

England Athletics is the latest National Governing Body to be using TeamKinetic cloud-based Volunteer Management Software.England Athletics has placed volunteers at the heart of their most recent strategic plan with ‘Strategic Priority One’  being:

“To expand the capacity of the sport by supporting and developing its volunteers and other workforce”.

The recognition that volunteers are at the heart of England Athletics’ strategy has resulted in the demand for an effective volunteer management system.

England Athletics have initially focused on using TeamKinetic to support the 4,500 licensed officials, just one segment of volunteers that support the 149,000 registered athletes at events, competition and clubs.

Nicola English, Officials Development Officer, explains how TeamKinetic arrived on the scene:

“Starting my role in April last year, one of the key priorities was to improve the experience of our current officials and official secretaries. As part of the improvement, we wanted to make it easier for Officials to find competitions in their local area and to reduce the amount of time it takes for officials Secretaries to appoint and manage Officials prior to an event or competition.”

We searched several systems before selecting TeamKinetic for its simplicity and ease of use. Using TeamKinetic will make it simpler for Officials to find and join opportunities as well as reducing the time it takes Officials Secretaries to appoint Officials to competitions and events. We really like how responsive and easy to communicate it is with one of the team, especially if we have any technical queries”

England Athletics is the first National Governing Body to use TeamKinetic to such an extent for the management of Officials at competition and this has posed some interesting challenges for the development team at TeamKinetic.  It has provided a fantastic opportunities to test the application in this new context and we look forward to the spring and summer of 2018 where we will get to see these in action for the first time.

Chris Martin, Co-Founder at TeamKinetic comments:

“TeamKinetic began by helping sports organisations to recruit volunteers, but as we have progressed our software now caters for all volunteer-orientated organisation. We are delighted that TeamKinetic continues to attract leading National Governing Bodies and we look forward to working with England Athletics.”

For more information on TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software or to book an online demonstration, please get in touch or call 0161 914 5757

Accessibility and TeamKinetic

I wanted to talk a little about how we adhere to the accessibility standards laid out by the W3 web consortium. These are termed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG.

The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web “content” generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:

  • natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • code or markup that defines structure, presentation, etc.

These guidelines help people using assistive technologies, such as screen readers and text-only browsers, to navigate ever more complex websites.

An example of how the correct mark up can help is in navigation elements. We’ve all seen the standard top or side navigation bars in websites, that often have multiple sub-menus and let a user navigate quickly to any area of the website.

For instance, the Amazon navigation bar has over 100 such links hidden away in the navigation bar.

What is not apparent to users that are not using assistive technologies is that this navigation bar appears first in the content flow of the website. As a visual user you can quickly skip over that part and get on with buying a new TV by just averting your eyes. A screen reader however must read over that entire navigation section and read out every link, EVERY time a page is loaded, can you imagine the inconvenience and annoyance that would cause!

To overcome this web designers can use a specific HTML 5 element, plus a few other attributes from the ARIA set, to define a navigation section. This lets assistive technologies know that everything following that declaration is navigation, and the user can skip over them easily if they want to.

Check out this YouTube video of the old inaccessible amazon website to see just how annoying this would be.

So as you might imagine the first thing we do here at TeamKinetic is to make sure all the navigation elements are enclosed in the correct element tags so assistive technologies can render them correctly.

At a minimum, we seek to make sure every public page has no errors when scanned with the WAVE accessibility checker and on each audit we attempt to address any alerts that appear.

This is the list of major conventions we use to help us adhere to the WCAG standards;

  • All navigation elements are enclosed in an HTML 5 nav element that is given the role=”navigation” so that newer and older assistive technologies will recognise the enclosed section as navigation
  • All images have a meaningful alt tag so the user gets an idea of what the image means
  • All anchor or link tags have meaningful text, this is sometimes hidden from the non-assistive browser in the case of icon buttons for instance.
  • Text colour and the background is selected to have a contrast exceeding that recommended for the text size.
  • All input form elements have a label tag which describes what data should be inserted into the form element.
  • The tab order of form elements is logical and follows the on-screen order so that people can tab through a form easily.
  • ARIA roles and landmarks are used where appropriate.

In our next audit, we are attempting to improve the experience for our dynamic content. This is content which may appear or disappear without a new page being loaded. This means that users of assistive technology may become stuck on an alert or page overlay without knowing that it is there.

There are always ways to improve and if you have any comments or suggestions we would welcome them below.

TeamKinetic Case Study: University of Portsmouth Sport Development Team

Zoe Monk, Sports Development Officer: “A Simple, Streamlined, Effective System”

123 opportunities posted. 4321 hours completed. 573 Registered Volunteers.

University of Portsmouth

For the last four years, University of Portsmouth Sports Development Team has been benefiting from TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software. This case study explores the benefits of TeamKinetic as discussed with Zoe Monk, Sports Development Officer at the University of Portsmouth.

Hi Zoe, please can you tell us about your role and responsibilities?

I am a Sports Development Officer, as part of my role I oversee all volunteering opportunities in sports and our community engagement programme. This includes the recruitment and management of volunteers from the university, starting before the academic year through to May when students focus on their exams. I also oversee the training and professional development of our volunteers.

On a day to day basis, I correspond with organisations in our community partnerships, sharing any opportunities they might have on an ad hoc basis. I also manage the sports delivery programme, which includes regular volunteers from Portsmouth University cheerleading and dance clubs delivering coaching in local schools.

I lead the volunteer training that we run for our groups of volunteers and I am seconded to academic lecturing on the side as well, in coaching and event management.

Why did you start using TeamKinetic?

We started using TeamKinetic’s software after realising our existing system, which had been designed in-house, was not really fit for purpose. It didn’t really track some of the essential pieces of information we wanted to report on. It was at that point we decided to find a designed for purpose system and came across TeamKinetic.

How do you use TeamKinetic?

The first way we use TeamKinetic is to support our students in their professional development, gaining valuable experience. For example, we had a PGCSE student needing some practical experience delivering PE to children in school, we then went onto our opportunities available and found one that matched their needs.

The other way we use TeamKinetic is in a community coaching agency. We are approached by the organisations with a need for a coach with a specific skills. We then advertise the role to our students, say if a school needed a basketball coach or referee for a tournament, then we would use TeamKinetic to advertise the opportunity and recruit a volunteer.

Could you give me some more examples of the types of opportunities you advertise?

Yes, of course. The volunteer opportunities are either structured or are ad hoc.

The structure opportunities mainly include our dance and cheer coaching opportunities. This is where we have thirty cheerleaders and fifty dancers delivering coaching in schools each week, so we keep track of that.

We then have a community football club, which is run by twenty or so student volunteers. On top of these, we have student activators that support the running of on sport. That alone is just the structured stuff we offer.

Is there a process for advertising your opportunities?

For new opportunities, either me or one of the approved providers will make sure that it has been formatted in the appropriate way before going live. This ensures there is the right amount of detail, requirements and the opportunity’s expectations are sufficiently outlined.

This authorisation makes sure we maintain a level standardisation across all our opportunities, resulting in our students knowing what to expect when they volunteers.

What role would you say TeamKinetic has played in supporting the success of these opportunities?

TeamKinetic has proved very beneficial in supporting the running of these opportunities. It has helped create an efficient, straightforward and standardised process for opportunities to recruit and recognise volunteers.

From the students’ point of view, they have an intuitive experience of signing up, searching opportunities, joining them, attending, followed by logging their hours and leaving feedback.

How has TeamKinetic helped you to recruit volunteers?

I think TeamKinetic works so well is because of how user-friendly it is. It is efficient and easy for students to sign up, find opportunities and leave feedback on those they have attended. They can keep track of what opportunities they have attended, their hours and their progress, which I think is very helpful.

What makes TeamKinetic stand out?

For us as a Sports Development Team, it is helpful that TeamKinetic is from a sports background. If you look at the products available on the market, there is nothing that really caters in the same way for the needs of sports organisations.

Would you like to add anything else?

I think my only remaining comment, would be that we use it as an agency kind of tool, but I am aware that other universities, such as Northumbria, use the software with a much more stringent approach. I think this is something we are hoping to do more of.

If you would like to find out how TeamKinetic Volunteer Management Software would benefit your University, please get in touch with one of our team.

TeamKinetic Action: YMCA Sleep Easy Challenge

TeamKinetic’s youngest member, James, participated in the YMCA ‘Sleep Easy’ challenge, raising a total of £250 for the charity. The experience contributed towards TeamKinetic’s wider ambition to support more causes in need of support through the contribution of our time, effort and expertise.   

Read about his experience, the challenge of Homelessness and the work of YMCA:

On Friday, 2nd  March, I swapped my usual routine of enjoying an evening indoors with my friends or family, for a night of sleeping it ‘rough’. Participating in the YMCA Sleep Easy Challenge, I spent twelve hours setting up my temporary shelter and sleeping out in it.

Homeless Shelter

James’ Shelter Before the Rain

Arriving at Cambridge Rugby Club, I was unsure of what to expect from the night, other than to be cold and at least some rain. I joined a convoy of other stragglers finding our way to the club from the distant car park.

Arriving at the clubhouse we found the all sheltered areas had already been taken and the remaining areas we exposed to the elements.  I put my rucksack and sleeping bag down at the end of a row, securing my spot on the edge of shelters. I set around to find the cardboard boxes available and created my temporary shelter, using a life bag to waterproof the roof.

Once completed,  I joined the other twenty-five volunteer embracing the YMCA Challenge. Provided with some tummy warming vegetable curry, by Food Cycle Cambridge, we spoke about why homelessness was a cause for concern and how the YMCA is helping to support those vulnerable.

The ‘Rough’ Facts:

  • Accurate figures of homelessness are hard to capture due to different local authorities having different definitions of ‘homelessness’ and lack accurate methods of keeping track
  • 4,751 homeless people bedded down outside overnight in 2017, up 15% from the previous year
  • Across the UK it is estimated 3,500 people sleep rough in the UK each night, with one-fifth of these are young people aged between 16 to 24.
  • The statistics show that 92 local authorities had rough sleeping rates that were worse than the national picture.
  • Thirty-two authorities, including Barking and Dagenham and Barnsley, claimed to have had zero rough sleepers.

(The Guardian, 2018)


  • YMCA is the oldest and largest youth charity in the world
  • Provides support and advice, accommodation, family support, campaigning,  health and wellbeing, training and education.
  • YMCA has over 58 million members in 119 countries worldwide
  • supports projects for vulnerable young people in over 20 countries worldwide
  • Over 800 dedicated volunteers in 2017

(, 2018)

As the evening continued entertainment was provided by Joshua Francis. A talented artist who has an experienced firsthand the support from the YMCA, he bought to life his colourful experiences through a heart touching and brutally honest performance of his own songs.

Following his performance, he spoke to several of us before setting off on his way. As the night quietened down, we turned our attention to the rain that had been pouring down, testing the durability of our shelters. Although slightly damp, the shelter had survived the first bought of rain.

I climbed into my sleeping bag, crawled into my shelters and tried settling into a comfortable position to fall asleep. Eventually, I fell asleep for a couple of hours, only to be woken again by the second set of rain pouring down heavy onto my shelter. It was this bout of rain that reduced my shelter to a  collection of piled up cardboard boxes, plastic wrapping and a wet sleeping. It was safe to say, if I ever did this again, I would have to consider how to better equip my shelter for the rain.

James' Shelter Following the Rain

Shelter Following the Rain

As I laid in the cold, I comforted myself by counting down the hours I had left.  I was fortunate enough to be able to return home, to a comfortable bed in my home once this had finished.  For those who are homeless, this luxury is not an option and instead, they are faced with a much more undesirable reality.

Finally, dawn broke and I climbed out from my wet cardboard mush to seek refuge, found in a hot cup of tea to bring warmth to my body.  By 6:00 am everyone was awake, packing away their shelters, with a coffee in one hand and a cinnamon roll, again provided by Food Cycle. Everyone was eager to find warmth and retreat to their homes following a rather restless night. Once the site had been cleared of rubbish, the dry cardboard recycled and volunteers thanked everyone, I set off to return home.

It was the journey home that provided the opportunity to reflect on how fortunate I am to have somewhere I can call home, a network to support me and opportunities that offer a safe and secure future.

This experience has given me the smallest taste of the physical conditions they experience. I could go inside to a toilet, for food, warmth and the clubhouse if I needed. I was not subject to experience freezing temperatures, the torrential rains or snow. Nor did I experience the mental and emotional challenges that such vulnerability inflicts. To understand that, I believe you truly have to be in that position yourself.

Participating in the challenge reinforced my sentiment to supporting those affected by homelessness. I want to continue working to raise awareness of the issue, encouraging others to do so too and to raise funds that will directly benefit those affected.

The YMCA Trinity Sleep Easy volunteers collectively raised £12379.52 at the time of writing.

With donations still welcomed:

If you would like to read more about the work of TeamKinetic take a read through our blog or if you would like to learn more about volunteer management software please get in contact with one of the team.


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