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Tag: Volunteer managment

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.

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

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: 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.


How charities big and small can help the NHS | Voluntary Sector Network | The Guardian

With public health under new budget pressures and no sign of abating cronic health needs the Guardian discussion on the roll of the Voluntary sector offers some interesting arguments.

Sound advice for anyone who is thinking about Volunteering

Since starting Grassroots Nomad, the number one question that I have been asked is ‘How do I find grassroots / sustainable volunteering work?’

Unfortunately the answer isn’t a simple one as it requires a lot of dedication and hard work – before you even start to volunteer. But, if you aren’t committed to working hard to find the right place to volunteer, then maybe volunteering isn’t the thing for you.

Step One: What do you want?

The first step when deciding whether or not to participate in volunteer work is to think about why you want to do it in the first place. Is it to make your CV better (which it will)? Is it to make a difference (which you can do)? Or is it to learn something about the world, different cultures, a new skill, or even about what inspires you (which you will)?

So here are a few questions to think about:

Why do I want to volunteer?
What are my specialist skills?
What are my passions?
What are my interests?
What do I want to learn?
How can I transfer these skills to volunteer work?
What kind of countries, organisations, issues do I want to work in?

Now you have an idea about what you can offer, you have to think where these specialist skills are best suited. If you are a professional teacher, maybe you could help train teachers in remote communities and develop lesson plans? If you are an IT expert, maybe you could develop a website for a small organisation? If you are a social media wizz, perhaps you could devise a feasible social media strategy to improve an organisations’ online presence and boost volunteer/donation rates?

If you are not qualified to work in an area, then think hard about working in that field, particularly if it relates to children or animals. If you are not qualified to work around children, many of whom have faced incredible challenges in their lives, then please reconsider volunteering for a few weeks at an orphanage.

Volunteering at an orphanage or school seems to be the number one type of volunteer work that people want to do. Sadly, your presence might be doing more harm than good.

Step Two: Where will I apply to volunteer?

The key to stage two is research. This is not easy. There isn’t one site that you can go to which lists all the free, grassroots volunteering opportunities around the world (although I am working on it).

Grassroots volunteering opportunities aren’t available through travel agents or big tour companies. You have to do the ground-work yourself.

Now you know what you can offer and what you are looking for you will be able to target your research rather than flicking through hundreds of websites without any direction. These are the places that I go to when I’m looking for volunteer work and they have been very successful for me:

Read research papers in your chosen topic. E.g. My focus was human trafficking so I read a lot of articles by the UN and big organisations like Anti-Slavery International, etc. Look closely at their reference list. These organisations conduct interviews with small, grassroots charities that work within these communities. They are the experts.
Research organisations that collaborate together. If you have found one charity that you like the sound of, read their research and see if they collaborate with other organisations. This is a great way to give yourself a number of different options for volunteer work, as your first preference might not accept you.
Read articles written by previous volunteers. Verge Magazine publishes a lot of different articles written by volunteers. It was in one of their online editions that I read an article by a lady who spent time volunteering with the Himanchal Education Foundation in Nepal. I will be spending the month of November volunteering with them myself, so I will update you on my work.
Talk to people. Keep your ears open for new opportunities or organisations that you haven’t heard of before. There are also groups online, such as Responsible Tourism Networking Facebook group where people regularly ask advice about volunteering opportunities or sustainable travel.

Stage Three: Applications

Once you have compiled a list of potential organisations it is time to make contact and ask whether it would be possible for you to volunteer.

Things to consider when writing your email/letter:

Keep it short and use simple language. Often English is the second, third, or even fourth language spoken by the staff you are emailing. If you use complicated language you may be impressing yourself but they will just be confused.
Explain what you can offer. Why should they let you volunteer? Volunteers are a lot of work for an agency as they require training and divert staff away from their day-to-day work. Make it clear that you have specialist skills and aren’t just looking to beef up your CV.
Be flexible. It is important that organisations pick volunteers that are able to offer skills needed by the community. This might mean you are working on something you never expected, but volunteering is about helping in a useful way – it is about what the community wants not what you think they want.
Be open minded, passionate, and show your dedication to the values and goals of the organisation.
Be respectful. Don’t assume that because you have qualifications that you know more than the people already working in these communities. Respect the work that they do, their motivations, and their backgrounds.
Once you submit your application, it is time to wait. Many organisations might not have frequent internet access or check their emails regularly so it might take some time for them to reply. Don’t lose hope!

Stage Four: Success!

After a few applications, you will find your organisation. Now it is time to discuss timeframes, what assistance they are able to provide with visas and accommodation.

See if you can conduct any fundraising before you leave, or if the organisation requires any resources that are hard to find – e.g. calculators, etc – that you may be able to bring with you and donate to the community.

Updated tip: Be flexible! In the hour or so since I posted this article my volunteering plans in Nepal have been cancelled due to increasing unrest and danger in the area. Now I have no idea where I am heading – back to the planning and research!

A review of the EC directive for SMS marketing and use in VolunteerKinetic

Know the rules

Know the rules

SMS marketing is considered an electronic form of communication. That means its use is governed by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations. It may sound scary, but it really isn’t that hard to understand. However, I thought it worthwhile to go over the basics of the EC Directive to help you better understand what you can and can’t do with your SMS marketing.

In the warnings issued by the ICO, several key paragraphs from the EC Directive are quoted. They basically say that no one can send unsolicited messages to any individual without prior consent. It then goes on to state three criteria used to determine what consent means (from Regulation 22):

“A person may send or instigate the sending of electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing where –

(a) that person has obtained the contact details of the recipient of that electronic mail in the course of the sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service to that recipient;

(b) the direct marketing is in respect of that person’s similar products and services only; and

(c) the recipient has been given a simple means of refusing (free of charge except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal) the use of his contact details for the purposes of such direct marketing, at the time that the details were initially collected, and where he did not initially refuse the use of details, at the time of each subsequent communication.”

That is honestly a mouthful of words, but very important ones. Here’s a simple interpretation you can take when dealing with your Volunteers.

As long as you ask for consent when signing a Volunteer up to the VolunteerKinetic system, which you do as part of the terms and conditions. you can send that Volunteer text messages that are related to the service the volunteer undertakes.  For example, other voluntary opportunities and non-voluntary information that is similar to the Volunteering the person has undertook.  This could be a training course that is suitably matched to the volunteers area of voluntary experience, or other services as long as they are related to the Volunteering.

You can not send SMS messages about unrelated services or products, for example the opportunity to buy a holiday or book cinema tickets unless that was specifically related to the voluntary opportunity the volunteer signed up to.

Part c is important, as you must make it simple for the Volunteer to opt out of any future communications if they wish.

Following these rules will keep you  inside the law and hopefully will keep your Volunteers happy.  If you have any stories of Good / bad practice of how to use SMS messaging to increase Volunteer retention and recruitment please feel free to send them to me





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