TeamKinetic

Build better volunteer communities

Tag: Sport Volunteer

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

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.

Not another IT system!!!

angry at computer

Many of the organisations we work with offer the same reservations about initiating a new Volunteer Management System.
“Do we really need another IT system?  Why can’t we just use our CRM system?”
We are living in a time of rapid technological change and organisations are fighting to keep up with that change whilst battling for attention in an increasingly busy marketplace.  Its my aim to try and answer the question above but to also give you some food for thought on how you may future proof your IT infrastructure and grow your organisations ability to effectively communicate with your fans, members, coaches, volunteers, officials and, other stakeholders.
 
We live in the Post PC world where your various users have choice over how they want to keep in contact with you.  This includes phones, tablets, computers, smart TV’s, PC’s and Macs as well as old world technology like magazines and news letters.  Netflix has come to dominate the “Video on demand” space through making sure its service is ubiquitous, that is it is available on all platforms.  Now I’m not suggesting you are Netflix, but the lesson is clear, know where your users are and prioritize those platforms for development. 
 
Another important lesson from Netflix is to make sure the experience is consistent across those platforms.  If people have a bad experience on their phone with your web site or app, their opinion will be diminished across any other digital content you offer.
Not only do we have so many ways to plug in to the digital world, we have an even larger range of software options and channels to communicate through that space;  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Chat Bots, Google.  These channels provide vast infrastructure and reach but as more and more options become available the cost of keeping all these relevant and interesting becomes harder and harder, also your audience gets further and further segmented making each option less attractive for total market reach.  
 
How do you create an infrastructure that will be able to continue to cope with the endless developments that are coming down the line? Can you build in a manner that allows you create you own communities?  If you build your own community do you know how to track its opinions and trends effectively? Can you extract value from that relationship commercially, operationally and socially?
 
Let start with CRM and the problems it solve and creates. 
 
There is a clue in the name, Customer Relationship Management.  In its self it seems to make sense and you could argue it would solve some of the issues I have pointed out above, but let me explain what the issues are:
 
“Customers”.  If I’m selling widgets this approach makes sense, but in a sporting context who are your customers, is it the clubs, the members, the helpers, the fans?
 
This “customer” focused approach does not encompass the complexities your organisation faces. You do have examples where there is clearly a customer relationship and taking elements from good customer service is never a bad idea, but there are many other examples where you are stakeholder, signposting service, community leader, advisor, service provider, trainer and manager.  Your relationship with your “customers” is vastly more complex than most retail or service organisations.  Each user group listed has a very specific set of requirements from you.
 
CRM also makes the assumption that everything will go through you directly as an organisation. What we have learnt over the last 7 years is that communities really thrive when you, a central governing organisation, give your members, customers and interested parties, the tools they need to be independent and to take ownership of their own destiny.
 
I am not suggesting that a CRM policy is not important, and you should consider it carefully but not at the expense of the end user. Your CRM should be flexible to allow you to work with other solutions. It should provide a data and insight backbone through which you can track opportunities and direct contact.  But as the world becomes more complex it is unreasonable to assume it can undertake every aspect of your business communications strategy. 
 
Our particular area of expertise is Volunteer Management, they are not members often, do not always self-identify as Volunteers and they are defiantly not customers. Their roles vary from helpers to chair of your board. Our system provides specific tools for the specific job.  Events management, schedule setting, opportunity brokerage, skills mapping and training to name some headline functions.
 
Providing high powered tools that do a specific job very well, gives your organisation the opportunity to see exponential performance improvement and the ability to achieve new levels of scale. 
Our volunteer platform allows Manchester City Council to provide a service for over 7000 users with only one staff member.
 
So how do you get your CRM system and other specialist systems working more effectively together to get the best outcomes for your users?
 
Reduce account duplication and sign up fatigue.
Leveraging open auth ecosystems like sign in with Facebook, Google and so on, reduces friction for your users and also reduces the duplication of accounts. As a bonus it also gives a smooth route to encouraging users to share their experiences.
 
Don’t force square pegs into round holes.
Membership, CRM, content management, social media management; each have very specific requirements, make sure you have the right tool for the job and that they are as tightly coupled as possible so you can share data and get better insights.
 
Software as a service (SaaS)
SaaS has led to software solutions that are web based and available across multiple platforms at a lower cost.  These solutions normally offer specific tools that you can subscribe to as and when you need them.
 
Don’t get hung up on what you think you want to know
If you provide an easy user experience that encourages user engagement, they will provide you with more insight and data than you will know what to do with.  Try and keep your technology focused but most important useful to the end user.  If it feels like its more about what you want to know rather than what the end user gets out of using it, they will very quickly disengage.  Look at how you collect your data from the way people engage with your various systems and use that data to continually iterate and improve the end user experience.
 
The story goes that part of the reason Google won the search engine wars in the early 00’s is because they automatically placed the text cursor in the search bar so you did not have to click into it with your mouse. (There was a little more to it that is also worth a read) It really is the marginal gains that lead to excellent end user experience. 
 
The TeamKinetic platform is created using many of the ideals I have shared above.  Our software is always undergoing iterative improvements so we can strive towards the best user experience possible.  If you would like to find out more about our Volunteering, Workforce, Coaching and Club management systems please feel free to get in touch or visit us here .
 

 

 

 

Manchester Metropolitan University 2nd Annual Conference “Sports Volunteering in the current landscape” – New speaker announced

All requests for Free tickets must be made by Friday 22nd April  – Please don’t miss out

The latest speaker to be confirmed is Yvonne Harrison – Chief Executive at GreaterSport, a leading Greater Manchester Charity Changing Lives through Sport and physical Activity.

Recently announced winner of Public and Third Sector Director of the Year by the North West Institute of Directors, Yvonne is an experienced leader with a track record of delivering positive impact through a high performing team.  Providing leadership across Greater Manchester to position Physical Activity and Sport as a key contributor to economic growth and population health improvement.
GreaterSport is striving to get one million people moving by 2017 and works with a wide range of partners to achieve this.
We believe Sport & Physical Activity;

– Makes a significant contribution to Greater Manchester’s social wellbeing and economic growth.

– Enhances lives, brings communities together and forms good sustainable lifelong habits.

– Should be promoted and celebrated for all, here in one of the greatest regions in the World for sport.

Yvonne is also a Non-Executive Director for Manchester Mangers Rugby League Club and Active Tameside.  She is also currently studying a Masters in Sports Directorship at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Yvonne will be part of our panel session when member sof the audience will get the chance to discuss the topics of the day with our experts.

To claim your free ticket to this event please get in contact here and let us know the days you will be attending, the names of the people attending on each day and if you can also let me know if you have any specific dietary requirements or access needs that would be most useful.

4th May 2016 –  Sports Volunteering in the Current Landscape

All VolunteerKinetic users are entitled to one FREE ticket to this event

mmu
Speakers include:

Geoff ThompsonMBE – Youth Charter

Tony Jameson– Sporting Memories

Charlotte Hill– Step up to Serve

Pukal Rana– Disclosure & Barring Service

Graham Herstell– Ball Zone

Chris Martin, Rolf Herbert and Nick Lowden  – Volunteer Kinetic and Greater Sport

The conference will encompass all aspects of volunteering in sport and the wider agenda within the current landscape. It will also provide a platform to draw together practitioners and academic perspectives from across the volunteering landscape to share, collaborate and network. There will also be the opportunity for delegates to attend keynote lectures from academics and practitioners, academic research presentations and interactive practitioner-led workshops. More speakers will be announced as they are confirmed.

If you want to purchase additional tickets for the 4th of May conference you can buy these at:

http://www.business.mmu.ac.uk/knowledgehub/mmu-sports-volunteering-conference-sports-volunteering-current-landscape.php for an early bird price of £38.00

If you need any more information about the event please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on 0161 914 5757 ext 22.

 

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