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Category: News & Views (Page 1 of 10)

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!

GreaterSport Awards

The 17th annual Greater Manchester Sports Award was held last Friday at the Emirates Lancashire Cricket Ground and TeamKinetic were lucky enough to have been invited.

Dressed to impress, we attended one of the most enjoyable events of the year. Not just because of the tasty three-course dinner or the chance to see a handful of famous individuals, including this year’s keynote speaker Gary Neville, but for what the event celebrates in its purest form: a sense community, belonging and achievement.

Each year the event brings together individuals from all walks of life in Greater Manchester to share their achievements in Sport and Physical Activity. Throughout the evening a total of eight categories were celebrated, with each of the ten Greater Manchester Districts nominating an individual from their local area. Each of the nominees and category winners had inspirational stories that made you feel proud to live in such a proactive area.

The evening focused on recognising the sporting achievement of many, but TeamKinetic took special note of three specific categories: the Volunteer of the year, Coach of the year and Unsung Hero of the year. For these were the categories we supported most. As CEO of GreaterSport Yvonne Harris stated: without these amazing volunteers the majority of sporting achievements would never have been possible. It is the time, effort and willingness of each volunteer that helps make so many achievements possible.

For those in sport they often started for the enjoyment of the game, or to be a part of a team or just to be fitter. In doing so they became part of a team, learning how to play with one another, growing together and sharing their successes and failures.  They soon become part of the larger community within the club, built through a common purpose that demands cooperation, team work and communication.

This community provides a sense of belonging, one that innately encourages it members to give back and helps others receive the same experience they had. This often starts as a supportive role for their club, which leads to a larger responsibility through a coaching or an administrative capacity.  This reoccurring cycle of players turning into sport coaches keeps sport running at a grassroots level, ingraining it within our communities and as part of our culture.

The roles of these individuals are crucial in the running and development of the sport. Thankfully, events such as the GreaterSport Awards celebrate them, with an uncontainable passion. It is the recognising of their hard efforts and time invested into their sport that makes the event so special.

It is this passion that drives so many players to become volunteer as coaches, reefers and the key workforce.

For many organisations that rely on volunteers, they can learn a lot from sport and the devotion its volunteers have. The emphasis on community created within a club, can be powerful if understood. The motivation and inspiration a coach can give to those they work with can result in an unprecedented commitment. The community a club provides offers support, a sense of belonging and a membership for something greater than just a game. All of these factors can help build better communities for a  volunteer workforce.

Introducing TeamKinetic: Rolf Herbert -The man behind the application

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rolf Herbert

Software Engineer

rolf@teamkinetic.c.o.uk

Introducing TeamKinetic: Steve Hall – Stepping into the Unknown

TeamKinetic …what fun we’ve had!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve

Implementation Consultant

steve@teamkinetic.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“All for one; one for all.”

James Carr

Marketing Coordinator

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

james@teamkinetic.co.uk

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

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

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

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

What has Volunteering ever done for me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Chris

Sales Director

Chris@teamkinetic.co.uk

Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why TeamKinetic has gone mobile

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

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

mobile usage by country – Comscore

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

Dominance of multi-platform applications

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

on-line device usage by time of day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what do NGB’s do now?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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