TeamKinetic

Build better volunteer communities

Tag: volunteerkinetic

Introducing TeamKinetic: Steve Hall – Stepping into the Unknown

TeamKinetic …what fun we’ve had!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve

Implementation Consultant

steve@teamkinetic.co.uk

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

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.

 

VolunteerKinetic V6 – New Events and Provider Layout

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

We often get asked how providers can tell volunteers a little about themselves and promote their organisation to the volunteers. Previously the provider profile has been limited to a few words and a logo.

In version 6 we have improved the look and feel of the provider profile immensely. Providers can now add a large background header image, overlayed with their logo and organisation name. There is also a WYSIWYG* text editor where they can complete their profile text, choosing their own colour scheme and font sizes.

You take a look at First Choice Sports‘ profile on our demo site.

We have also added a similar layout for the events pages which advertise and promote an event and the opportunities and roles available within that event. In addition the events home page lets you add documents for the volunteers to download.

We think these changes will greatly enhance the visual experience for the volunteer and hopefully lead to more volunteer signups for events.

*What you see is what you get – A text editor that allows you to see exactly how your text will appear to the end user.

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Accreditation

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

accreditation_badge

Some of our larger customers regularly run very large national events that may involve hundreds of volunteers across many roles. We already provide useful downloads listing all the volunteers on events and which sessions they are signed up for. What we didn’t have was any sort of accreditation service.

Version 6 sees the release of our first stage in our accreditation process, the creation and printing of volunteer identification badges. This allows you to specify the text of the badge title, a general information section and an access area box. The badge comes complete with the volunteers profile picture, their unique ID and your organisation logo.

Once you are happy with your text, you simply select the opportunity or event you wish to create badges for and a PDF document will be automatically generated containing a single volunteer on each A6 sized page. This document is ready for printing in house or sending out to your preferred print shop.

We think this will be a great time saver, and even if you do not need a specific ID card for your event or opportunity it’s a good method of giving your volunteers a sense of belonging and building that team mentality.

 

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Fairer Rating System

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

From version 2 we have included a feedback system for both volunteers and providers, where they can leave a star rating out of 5 and some comments of their experiences.

Version 5 saw the arrival of an admin approval system where, if they choose to, the administrator would approve each feedback before either the provider or volunteer could see it.

Volunteers could see their average feedback rating, how they were doing compared to the rest of the volunteers and the individual comments that providers had left.

We never wanted to demotivate the volunteers but our and other’s research showed us that by ranking the volunteers we risked just that. The star rating also skewed the data as providers when faced with very many volunteers to rate and comment on would often just leave the rating at the default value.

feedback

Version 6 introduces a whole new rating system based on thumbs up or thumbs down. This binary system is much simpler and clearer to both the volunteers and providers. Volunteers will only ever see their thumbs up comments, the very rare thumbs down comments will be directed to the administrator so they can try to resolve any issues and action accordingly.

We have also removed the over all ranking from the volunteers homepage, just giving them their total thumbs ups so far. We think this will help to keep the volunteer motivated and their overall feedback will not be susceptible to skewing by a rogue single star rating that was usually a mistake or by lots of default 3 star ratings.

Volunteering Internships

afp-volunteer

As always we look to bring you the best practice from across the Voluntary sector.  This article from the NCVO gives some fantastic guidance on Internships for Volunteer managers.

As more organisations have realised the value of offering young people the opportunity to gain experience, whilst benefiting from their willingness to work hard and learn, it is becoming event more important that organisations do not take advantage of this willingness.  The NCVO offer some common sense advice that ensures the Volunteer is valued and that they gain as much from the experience as the organisation does.

If you have examples of how your organisation has benefited from a Volunteer internship or lessons you may have learnt from using Volunteers as interns please feel free to share at info@smarterindesign.com.

See the full article and many more like it at

http://knowhownonprofit.org/people/volunteers-and-your-organisation/volunteering-internships#guidance

NCVO have worked with a range of organisations to review the current situation and produce guidance on volunteer internships to help charities ensure they fully understand any legal obligations they may have and to ensure expectations about the role between both parties are clear.

Internships have been the focus of much debate recently, with some arguing that they are either a form of job substitution or a way of exploiting cheap labour, and others that they are vital to both charities and those who want to work for them.

Much of the confusion comes from the fact that the term ‘intern’ has no basis in UK law. There is no legal definition of an ‘internship’. So people undertaking a role described as an ‘internship will still in legal terms be defined as either a worker or a volunteer.

Some charities describe some volunteer roles as internships as they have found it valuable to offer volunteering opportunities with a stronger skill-development focus and because describing a position as an ‘internship’ has been found to attract more volunteers.

NCVO have worked with a range of organisations to review the current situation and produce guidance on volunteer internships to help charities ensure they fully understand any legal obligations they may have and to ensure expectations about the role between both parties are clear.

The guidance also identifies key principles to follow to help ensure volunteer internships are managed in line with good practice, give a good quality experience and ensure volunteer interns are treated fairly and within the law.

Key principles

  1. Be clear what the role is and its purpose before recruiting
  2. Ensure that a volunteer internship is a genuine volunteering opportunity
  3. Make sure volunteering opportunities are genuinely inclusive and accessible
  4. Support volunteer interns in accordance with good practice standards in volunteer management
  5. Ensure that volunteer intern positions do not undermine fair recruitment procedures
  6. Provide opportunities for evaluation and regular feedback
  7. Recognise the contribution of volunteer interns

More information on each principle and how to implement them is discussed in the guidance.

http://knowhownonprofit.org/people/volunteers-and-your-organisation/ncvoguidancevolunteerinternshipsvoluntarysector.pdf

 

VolunteerKinetic V6 – More Email Customisation

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes built into version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

It’s always important the Volunteers get the right information at the right time. Whilst version 5 enabled administrators to customise some emails, such as the new registration emails, version 6 extends this ability to more email types and improves the structure of the emails allowing key information to always be merged into the emails whilst still allowing the administrators to customise the main portion of the email.

email

We achieve this by splitting the email into fixed prefix and suffix areas with a customisable content section.

For instance, the session signup email that is sent to a volunteer when they initially join an opportunity will contain helpful information regarding the opportunity they have signed up for in the prefix and the session list they are currently signed up for in the suffix, which obviously changes every time the email is sent.

You can see in the image above the areas that are replaced when the email is sent, they are all enclosed between *| |* tags like *|PROVIDER|* or *|OPPNAME|*.

The main content section is then editable by the admin via a WYSIWYG* text editor and can contain any combination of font sizes and colours they wish.

We believe you will find this is a big improvement over the previous system where if you choose to customise the email you would lose the specific tags that were replaced when the email was actually created.

 

*what you see is what you get – This means how you lay out the text on the screen is how it will look to the end user.

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Age Restricted Registration

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

age

Although we have always provided the ability to block access to opportunities based on age, there was never any restriction on registering; a new volunteer could be any age.

We wanted to maintain easy access to the opportunities for younger volunteers but also give the administrators some control over what happens to younger volunteers and how they are registered.

In version 6 administrators can set the age at which registrations must be verified. If a volunteer registers who is equal to or younger than this age then they will be taken to the age verification screen. Here they are asked to provide the email address of their parent or guardian.

The parent or guardian will receive an email asking them to follow a link to confirm that they give permission for the young person to join the site and access all suitable opportunities.

Until the volunteer has been verified they will not be able to join any opportunities, though they will still be able to search and browse the current opportunities and hopefully be enthused enough to ensure their parent or guardian verifies them as soon as possible!

If you have questions or issues around age verification please feel free to get in touch at info@smarterindesign.com

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Session Calender and Schedule

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

calender

In version 6 there is a volunteer calender that is available to both the volunteer and the admin. This shows all the volunteers sessions in blue and all available sessions in grey. This is a great way of quickly checking out what sessions you have coming up and also deciding if you can attend sessions on other opportunities.

 

In addition there is a printable list of the volunteer’s sessions underneath the calender which can be ordered by date or opportunity.

We’ve found that the calender feature is especially helpful for those volunteers who are attending multiple roles at an event. These volunteers can plan their day more effectively with a visual representation of when and where their sesisons are.

VolunteerKinetic V6 – Applying for Opportunties

This is one in a series of posts where I will be discussing the new features and changes we have built in to version 6 of our volunteer management software VolunteerKinetic.

As the size of the events that VolunteerKinetic is being used for have increased so have the complexities involved in making sure their are enough volunteers for all roles and they are suitably qualified.

We have introduced a number of new features to aid administrators and providers in choosing their volunteers, such as:

  1. a new experience field for each opportunity
  2. the recording of a volunteers movements in and out of sessions on an opportunity.

we have also introduced and entirely new sort of opportunity.

Previously it was always assumed that when a volunteer joined a session they were accepted on that session unless they were told otherwise. For large events this led to an over subscription to certain sessions as volunteers could not indicate which sessions they were able to do but were joining the sessions they wanted to do. Now administrators have the ability to set an opportunity to be an application opportunity.

When a volunteer looks at an opportunity that is set to in “application” mode they are informed that they should indicate all the sessions they are able to do. Once the administrator has organised volunteers into each session they can mark that opportunity as confirmed.

At this point all the volunteers are informed which sessions they have been allocated to. If a volunteer is unable to attend a session the administrator has the history of that session available and can quickly select a volunteer that indicated they could do that session but was not allocated to that session in the first draft.

This is a major new feature that will aid immensely in improving communication between the administrators and the volunteers and reducing the time it takes even out the available volunteers across an entire event or opportunity.

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