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Goodbye Volunteers Week, we will miss you! Here are 3 simple things you can do to say “Thank you” more effectively to your volunteers.

Volunteers Week 2018 – 1st to the 7th June

Volunteers week is a great celebration of the effort and value volunteers provide.  But let’s not let it end here!  We need to keep on celebrating and thanking our volunteers, helpers, doers and anyone that makes it happen.

TeamKinetic shares 3 simple insights from its Volunteer Managment Software on how to say those two important words “thank you”

Tell your Volunteers what impact they have made.

Saying ‘thanks’ is a good start, but if you want to supercharge the impact of your thank you, look at how you can convey the difference that volunteer has made.

Now it’s not always possible to send out personalised messages to every volunteer, but you can quickly summerise what volunteers mean to your service or organisations and what has been achieved collectively.

Using TeamKinetic, many of our customers are able to send personalised, impactful thank you messages directly to Volunteers immediately after the volunteer has finished their work.  We have seen volunteers twice as likely to volunteer again when someone says thank you and takes the time to explain what a difference they made.

Put a little thought into your “Thank You”

Every volunteer manager knows they rely on superstar volunteers. The person who will turn up no matter what.  Where you have someone special, let them know. It does not have to be expensive or time-consuming, you just have to get a little creative.

If you’re not the creative type, why not look at some of the great ideas suggested by the Scouts.

TeamKinetic’s real-time reporting makes it super simple to know who your superstars are. It’s simple to see which individuals you simply could not live without from our Volunteer dashboards.

Be authentic, be consistent.

People can soon tell if the Thank you,  they receive is just an automated message, that is set to repeat.  Don’t be a robot!  Put some personality into your Thanks.

Having said that, there are some really useful messages that you can set to run automatically and can make your volunteer offer more consistent.   Wish your volunteer a happy Birthday, Tell them when they have been with you for a year or when they pass a milestone such as 100 hours volunteered.

TeamKinetic has been busy developing its milestones function.  This will make it even simpler to build up a range of fantastic, motivating and inspiring messages to keep your volunteers hooked on helping.

All that is left to say, is Thank You for reading, I hope it makes a difference to your volunteers and I look forward to hearing what works for you and your teams.

Happy Volunteers Week

 

£10K Give Away – Celebrate Volunteers Week and TeamKinetic’s 10th Birthday with #TK10GIV

TeamKinetic Ten Year £10,000 Give Away

This year TeamKinetic is celebrating our tenth year helping to build volunteer communities! We thought to celebrate this alongside Volunteers Week 2018 and do something special.

Celebrating 10 Years of TeamKinetic

In ten years of business, we have grown to become a trusted partner for many organisations that help volunteers. Our flagship Volunteer Management Software is one of the most advanced and complete volunteer management systems available, and each day we continue to plan its development to meet the needs of our customers and the sector. We now serve hundreds of happy organisations across the globe and have logged nearly a million volunteer hours.

To celebrate we wanted to do something special. Of course, we considered the obvious choices for a tenth birthday, such as a trip to the zoo or a bouncy castle party. All of which were very tempting, but, we realised that spaces might be a tad limited. Instead, we made the decision to do something that everyone would appreciate, enjoy and access: A £10,000 give away*.

That’s right a £10K give away.

 

What’s included in the 10K give away?

1 x TeamKinetic Enterprise Edition Volunteer Management Software (worth over £3000). For one lucky winner’s organisation, a one year license for our bespoke volunteer management system.

2 x tickets for TeamKinetic’s annual volunteer conference. On the 12th September 2018 TeamKinetic welcomes a host of industry and thought leaders to Manchester to join us for the annual conference. This year’s event is our best to date, with speakers including Kristen Stephenson (Head of Volunteering at Sports England), Fiona Liddel (Volunteering Development Manager at WCVA), and many more.

£10,000 worth of Free upgrades from TeamKinetic FREE to TeamKinetic COMMUNITY. This version of volunteer management software is hosted on our national volunteer website, TryVolunteering.com.

 

So how do you get involved with the #TKGIV?

To enter you just need to follow these simple steps;

On Friday 1st June 2018, Volunteer Week will start. At 9:00am TeamKinetic will be tweeting:

“ VOLUNTEER MANAGERS IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE #Volunteersweek

@TeamKineticUK are throwing a £10,000 Give Away of Volunteer Management Software & More

Simply retweet, tag two other volunteer managers and include these 2 hashtags #TK10GIV #Volunteersweek”

And you will automatically be entered. 

 

The Small Print:

This competition will run from 9:00 am on 1st June 2019 until 11:59 pm the 7th June 2018. The winners and how to access the free upgrade to TeamKinetic Community will be announced on TeamKinetic’s Twitter Channel (@TeamKineticUK) at 12:00 pm on Friday 8th June 2018.

Full terms and conditions can be found at teamkinetic.co.uk/10k-giveaway

TeamKinetic is excited to be giving away these prizes, we hope you will be able to support us and many other organisations by spreading the word across your own social media channels.

TeamKinetic Academy: TeamKinetic Chatter, Online Chat Rooms for Opportunities

TeamKinetic is pleased to announce that the latest version of TeamKinetic Volunteer Management Software has arrived, bringing with it many new tools and features.

Now available is TeamKinetic Chatter that provides isolated chat rooms for opportunities that volunteers, providers and admins can use. It is a secure platform for volunteers and opportunity providers to communicate without the use of external instant messaging services.

TeamKinetic understands the importance of being able to have a communal area for volunteer and opportunity providers to be able to share their thoughts and comments on an opportunity. It enables those essential messages to be communicated to all volunteers without the formalities of an email or the cost of a SMS text.

In developing this functionality, the option to develop an API that connects Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger was considered. However, this feature would be limited as not all volunteers have the same access or use technology to the same extent as others. Factor in the inadequate control over how the data is shared following the acceptance of terms and conditions for using an external application and developing an internal function became more appealing. To help achieve GDPR compliance, it is in the best interest of TeamKinetic and our clients to reduce any opportunity for data to be shared unnecessarily.

TeamKinetic felt that by using our own chat engine it enables the opportunity providers and administrators to control the room’s tone, message and comments using the profanity filter and comment approval and deletion features.

TeamKinetic hopes that this new feature will continue to help develop the community aspect we want all of our voluntary organisations to share with its volunteers.

We look forward to showing how to use more of our functionality in the future.
TeamKinetic’s data policy can be found here

To try out TeamKinetic Chatter please follow the instructions below:

For volunteers,
Step 1 join an opportunity

Join an opportunity

Step 2 – using the left-hand navigation bar, click onto ‘chat room’

using the left hand navigation bar, click onto 'chat room'
Step 3 – enter any comments into the type area and click ‘add’


For opportunity providers,
Step 1 Using the navigation bar, hover over ‘opportunities & provider’ and on the drop-down menu, click ‘Opportunities’.

Using the navigation bar, hover over 'opportunities & provider' and on the drop-down menu, click 'Opportunities'.
Step 2 Find the opportunity you wish to add a comment to

 Find the opportunity you wish to add a comment to
Step 3 Using the left-hand navigation bar, click on the ‘chat room’ button

 Using the left hand navigation bar, click on the 'chat room' button
Step 4 Enter any comments into the type area and click ‘add’

 Enter any comments into the type area and click 'add'

If you have any further questions or would like to share your thoughts, please get in touch with our team.

From Volunteer Management Systems to Volunteering in Ethiopia

School Under The Tree

School Under The Tree

A few months ago I wrote a post about the potential impact we can all make and how we as individuals and business owners should try to maximise that impact. It occurred to me that I really needed to live by my own message and I started to look for new personal and business projects to increase my impact.

Through a friend, I was introduced to The School Under The Tree, a Manchester based charity that supports a school project in Ethiopia. The charity name echos its beginnings, a young Ethiopian man teaching local street children under a tree in the town of Awasa in Southern Ethiopia. Supported by people from Manchester, that school of humble beginnings has 13 years later transformed into a provider of primary age education for over 200 students every day.

The challenge

How can we make this small school in Ethiopia, sustainable and maybe even give it the potential to grow, without it being dependant upon donations and funding?

This is a challenge many fundraisers and 3rd sector organisations around the world battle with every day. My goal is to develop a business model that will allow the school to prosper long term, whilst staying true to its goal to provide education for some of the poorest young people in this region.

Over the next few days I’ll blog about my experiences in the school and share ideas on how we might help achieve long-term viability for the School Under The Tree. If you have ideas please comment below or follow us on twitter @schoolundert.

Introducing ‘Focus’, TeamKinetic’s design principle for better volunteer management

TeamKinetic is now a mature and fully featured volunteer management solution. As it has matured we have been able to more rigorously enforce a design principle for better impact across all user interfaces that we call Focus.

Focus is a collection of typography, grids, spacing, colour, layout and sizing rules that aim to achieve consistency of design, fluid layout for smaller screens and help to retain user focus on important tasks.

Volunteers, providers and administrators are presented with large amounts of information and we have been working hard to make this volume of information easy to digest in our Volunteer management application so the individual user focus is on the most pertinent information.

The biggest layout difference you will see is the support for a two-pane design with navigation elements in the left pane and the action area in the right pane. This layout also encourages the collection of tasks into one area, either functionally similar tasks or tasks commonly undertaken at the same time.

ocus-two column or two pane layout

A two pane layout with a navigation bar on the left and the action panes on the right

Colours are restricted to a limited palette so that actionable areas like buttons, menus and links, are obvious and easy to find.

Font sizes are consistent and changes in font size are restricted to key text and headings.

Animation are used to indicated areas of focus when information is updated or the user enters a new area.

Panels are elevated when active using an animated shadow effect

Message and information areas are distinguished by a thick left border, the colour is contextual and can refer to the category, message type or other information.

Thick left borders indicated messages or important content areas

Where possible we want to avoid page refresh as this slows the users experience and can break their focus on the task at hand.  Volunteers, Providers and Admin users all want to be able to undertake tasks with the need for a screen refresh.  Extended use of AJAX , a method of performing user interactions immediately without reloading a new page, enables us to keep the user focused on their task without the interruption of a page refresh and the subsequent visual scan of the page to locate the last point of focus.

AJAX methods are employed extensively across the admin area, especially when editing opportunities or volunteer profiles.

Grids and spacing automatically adjust to screen size and allow navigation areas to collapse to icon only links and wide content to collapse into vertical stacks keeping readability high.

Collapsible elements retain readability and usability for small screens

We just wanted to let you know what’s behind some of the design decisions in the brand new TeamKinetic v1 release and our design intent going forward.

Please add any comments you have below, thanks, The Team.

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

Congratulations GreaterSport on your #GS1Million achievment

Local sports charity GreaterSport set the target in 2010 to achieve 1 MILLION people regularly active across Greater Manchester by 2017.

Partners across the County worked together to ensure more people had the opportunity to be active.

The most recent Active People Survey shows that the 1 MILLION target has been exceeded with 1,045,758 people regularly active in Greater Manchester.

We have loved being involved with GreaterSport and helping them achieve this fantastic milestone. Well done to everyone that has been involved!

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.

TeamKinetic take a closer look at the new Sport Englands volunteer strategy

The announcement earlier this year that Sport England had identified volunteering as a key area for investment and development in their “Towards An Active Nation” strategy document was widely welcomed. Today’s latest release “Volunteering in an Active Nation” is the next step in the realisation of that objective.

vol-active-nation

If you have been involved in sport at almost any level, you would have been keenly aware that it does not happen without the combined efforts of 100’s of people.  From the top of sport to its very grassroots volunteers are essential.  For so many years there was an assumption that organised sport just happened! This is a view TeamKinetic did not share, and we set out to change that seven years ago when we built VolunteerKinetic. It’s with a sense of excitement we have been waiting to see what Sport England had in mind to re-imagine the sports volunteer landscape.

The acknowledgement in the document for the Sport and Recreation Alliance and our consortium of partners is something we are really happy with, although it is still early days we have been really busy behind the scenes since we were passed the baton by Join In.  Our hope is that through the work of the partners in the consortium we can provide a range of digital tools, research, campaign experience and support that will be invaluable in helping Sport England realise their vision. This will start this month with Sports Personality of the Year, and hopefully early in the new year, we will have even more to shout about.

The strategy commits to a £26 million investment, taking us to 2021, with £6 million available in the first round in February 2017.

The two initial funds are called

  • The Opportunities Fund – targeting people from disadvantaged areas.
  • The Potentials Fund – targeting 10 to 20 year olds.

Each fund is worth £3 million, and it seems quite clear that Sport England is very keen to widen volunteering to be more inclusive and representative.

THE OPPORTUNITY FUND

Initially making it clear that disadvantaged can mean many things to a broad range of communities, they go on to say they are looking for partners who are trusted in their local communities and will consider bids “which contain smaller elements of sport and physical activity.”

Maybe most telling is the final statement;

“To emphasise our commitment to reaching this new audience, we’re aiming to award at least 50% of the fund for projects run by partners who are new to Sport England or even new to sport and physical activity.”

This seems to fit with the information we have had before today’s announcement with Sport England keen to look beyond the more traditional and established sport offer.  We think this fund provides some interesting opportunities for traditional organisations such as County Sports Partnerships and Local Authorities to work with less traditional partners such as youth and health groups, to provide infrastructure and support through volunteers for volunteers.

THE POTENTIALS FUND

Sport England have identified the benefits of “youth social action” which has been the focus of the #iwill campaign run by Step up to Serve. This campaign was recently granted a £40 million extension until 2020 by the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Step Up To Serve CEO Charlotte Hill presented the keynote speech at our annual conference this year at Manchester Metropolitan University. The #iwill campaign offers an opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the role of youth social action and provides a route for young people to get involved.  We advise every organisation who works with volunteers, to got to the #iwill website and make a pledge now.

The strategy does lack detail on what it may fund, but it does contain the provocative line “We’ll be looking for projects which connect with the lives and aspirations of 10 to 20 year olds. Sport and physical activity should be involved, but it doesn’t have to be the sole focus. We’re looking for brilliant ideas.”

We hope this allows for the type of innovation and creative engagement that will inspire young people to help lead this work.  We will be looking at how we work with our current customers and those we have been speaking with for some time, to help integrate our digital tools to provide the type of experiences and bring to life the brilliant ideas young people have.

The document makes numerous mentions regarding “digital” and its importance.  We will be working hard over the next few months to understand what that means and how to maximise our platform and its related connections.  We will be exploiting all our years of expertise in the sports volunteer sector to make sure VolunteerKinetic remains the most powerful volunteer management system available.

I think that pretty much covers the main elements as we understand them, please share your opinions with us on this latest strategy announcement.  We are keen to know what you think and how you might be able to benefit, or if you think Sport England may have missed anything.  We believe that this is where the hard work starts and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get stuck in.  If you want to join us on this mission, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

 

Volunteering in an Active Nation

logo-TeamK

sport-and-rec

joinin

TeamKinetic has been working to improve the experience and opportunities available to people in sport for almost a decade. We are excited to announce we are now part of a partnership that will help to deliver Sport England’s new Volunteering in an Active Nation vision.

In September, the Sport and Recreation Alliance was handed the baton from the Join In Trust to work with partners to continue to focus on sport volunteering. TeamKinetic is delighted to be a part of this partnership working with Do-it.org, GLL, Jump, Volunteering Matters and Greater Sport.

Because of the importance of volunteering in sport and recreation, the partnership has come together under a shared vision to make volunteering in sport more accessible and more appealing to a diverse range of people. We want to see more people sharing their professional skills, experience and enthusiasm for sport and recreation, and we want them to feel that their efforts to help others are valued and that they benefit from being involved.

We welcome the opportunity to work with the Sport and Recreation Alliance and partners to develop an effective matching service that will make it as easy as possible for people and clubs, organisations and events which need volunteers to find each other.

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