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Category: News & Views (Page 2 of 13)

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 james@teamkinetic.co.uk 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)

The YMCA:

  • 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

(YMCA.org.uk, 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: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jamesandteamkinetic

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.

 

TeamKinetic: YMCA Sleep Easy Challenge

Sleep Easy - YMCA

Just before Christmas TeamKinetic announced we were hoping to do something that would raise awareness of Homelessness. Unfortunately, we were delayed due to an overly busy period and our plans were put on hold until a later opportunity.

Still eager to pursue an event that will raise awareness of homelessness and support the thousands of people affected, James, our youngest member of TeamKinetic will be taking on the YMCA Sleep Easy challenge.

Sleep Easy is a national fundraising event which aims to help prevent youth homelessness. By participating in the YMCA Sleep Easy Event at St. Catherine’s College Sports Ground, he will be experiencing one night of sleeping it rough.

Sharing his thoughts, James said:

“I have studied in Cambridge and Manchester and have become increasingly conscious of homelessness.  It is hard to even comprehend the reasoning as to why people end up homeless. But the moment you take the time to speak with the, you realise these people are often a victim of unfortunate circumstances and lack a supportive network many of us fortunately have. Of course Sleep Easy does not replicate what it is really like to be homeless, but it is a good way to raise awareness and funds for a deserving cause.”

TeamKinetic works to support third sectors organisations in all our operations, sharing a vision to encourage social good. This is just one part of the commitment we made to support more organisation through our time, energy and resources.

Can you help TeamKinetic support this worthy cause?

Find out more about the event and the donations page here:

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jamesandteamkinetic

TeamKinetic: Named in the Innovation 100 Greater Manchester

Innovation 100

TeamKinetic is delighted to have been recognised as one of the 100 most innovative companies in Greater Manchester, in a report produced by BQ and the Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company.

This new initiative is designed to shine the spotlight on some of Greater Manchester’s most forward-thinking small and medium sized businesses.

Innovation is at the very heart of helping businesses to succeed and grow. It is key to building a sustainable and growing economy, and can be recognised not just in products and services but also across management processes and business operations.

Firms recognised from coming from right across the Greater Manchester region, and represent sectors as diverse as food & drink, manufacturing, healthcare and digital.

Across Greater Manchester alone, Innovate UK has provided funding for over 600 innovation projects since 2004 and the North West is home to a highly innovative business community that are contributing to new discoveries every day.

BQ’s Bryan Hoare said: “We’re delighted to give companies the chance to see some recognition for the hard work they put into innovation in their businesses.

“Innovation is the key to unlocking future growth, job creation and prosperity for the region, and what these businesses are already doing is incredibly impressive in lots of ways.”

Chris Greenhalgh, head of innovation at Business Growth Hub, said: “It’s our aim with Innovation100 to raise the profile of those businesses innovating in different ways, inspiring others to innovate and achieve growth.”

“What the Innovation100 companies underline is that while innovation can often be related to products, it can also apply to developing disruptive business models, applying new processes and delivering new services. Innovation is across many different facets of business, across different sectors and different sizes of companies.”

Chris Martin, Director at TeamKinetic:

“It has made us very proud to be recognised by the Innovation100. TeamKinetic has worked hard to provide leading software solutions for over eight years. We have always tried to incorporate upcoming and leading technologies into our software and provide the best solutions for our clients. To be recognised as one of Manchester leading innovative companies makes that hard work pay off.

We will continue developing our volunteer management software. Making it easier for volunteers to find, join and stay engaged in opportunities. For our clients in the third sector, we want to continue listening to their needs and understanding how we can develop our software to cater to new challenges that may arise.  It all boils down to wanting to make TeamKinetic’s volunteer management software the best.”

You can read the more here:

http://www.bqlive.co.uk/section/218/innovation-100

Follow updates on social media at #Innovation100GM

Denise Larrad BBC Sports Personality 2017

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

Who is Denise Larrad?

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

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

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

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

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

How did you end up carrying the Olympic torch? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think puts people off volunteering?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your future plans for your voluntary work?

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

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

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

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

A Waterfall Begins From Only One Drop of Water

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

(The Power of One, 1992)

Waterfall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s start a movement.

TeamKinetic: 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:

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TeamKinetic: How to recognise and appreciate Volunteers

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

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

Rewards

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

hour trade

Additional Ideas:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And do not forget….

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

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

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