Remote Volunteering – a Volunteer’s Perspective

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By Lindsey Chamier

I have been volunteering with Community Impact Bucks since June of this year. I also volunteer for Chiltern Music Therapy who are a charity providing therapy using music, which looks at creating change and improvements in communication, physical, social, cognitive and emotional needs for all ages. I do half a day with each of them every week depending on the work which is required. I decided to get involved in volunteering as I am currently studying part time for an MA in International Relations and so had some time to spare which could be usefully spent helping in my local community. It also helps balance my life and prevent it from become one big self-indulgence! I found both my volunteering “jobs” through the Community Impact Bucks’ website which has a very user-friendly function allowing you to browse in your particular area of interest and then apply for volunteering opportunities. Before I started the MA, I spent a number of years working for the BBC in a variety of roles in television production and then after moving to Buckinghamshire in 1997 I worked for Connexions (a careers organisation) in High Wycombe. I therefore have a variety of skills and experience which I have been able to put to good use.

I have found that the volunteering fits in perfectly with my other commitments. Both organisations are very flexible so that if I have a big essay deadline then I can move the days which I work for them around and they are very supportive. I have done a variety of administrative tasks such as writing Success Stories for Community Impact Bucks and some marketing research and database input for Chiltern Music Therapy. I work at home from my desk overlooking my lovely garden (not so lovely as the winter begins!) which is perfect for me as I have a weak muscle condition which impairs my mobility so not having to concern myself with parking and access is a big bonus. I am in regular contact by phone and email with both charities and so it all works very well. I suspect they will have to try quite hard to get rid of me now! I thoroughly recommend volunteering either to gain experience and skills to enhance your CV, to try out something different or, like me, you have a few hours which you would like to put to good use.

Unveiling…VolunteeringBucks.org.uk

A lot’s been happening behind the scenes at here Community Impact over the past few months. Our CEO, Nick Phillips, joined us in February and we launched a brand new strategy to help create A Better Life for the People of Buckinghamshire.

One of the greatest ways we can make this a reality is by helping YOU (our Not-for-Profit sector) be the best you can possibly be. We know that one of your biggest challenges is FINDING NEW VOLUNTEERS.

So, we are more than a little excited to unveil …..

VolunteeringBucks – the gateway to the
best local volunteering opportunities

VOL BUCKS

VolunteeringBucks is an online platform dedicated to getting people excited about volunteering and showcasing the life-enhancing benefits of becoming a volunteer.

We surveyed almost 2,000 voluntary organisations and this is what you told us you needed: help connecting with new audiences and a different ‘story’ to tell about volunteering.

Everything you see in VolunteeringBucks is the result of insight and research into volunteer motivations, which tells us that the next generation of volunteers value ‘experiences’ and ‘connection’ over ‘altruism’ and ‘doing good’.

The site is designed specifically for individuals looking to volunteer and won’t replace the resources for you on the Community Impact Bucks site.

Making the most of VolunteeringBucks:

We love the new site but, it’s vital that you do too. So, if you have any suggestions on how we can make it even better, please let us know here.

Where will VolunteeringBucks.org.uk take YOU?!

Top tips for a compelling volunteer role description!

Writing

By Hazel Finney

So, you’ve identified that you need more volunteers, you know the types of things that you require support with, but just how do you go about attracting people to come and volunteer for you?

It all starts with putting together an engaging role description – well written and clearly expressed opportunities are far more likely to attract potential volunteers. Spending some time drafting and editing opportunities before you advertise them will pay off in the long term – the volunteer marketplace is busy – it’s all about making your role stand out from the crowd!

Sell, sell, sell… you need to attract someone’s attention in just a few seconds – start with the aim of the role – it needs to be short, sharp and punchy.

Get straight to the point… state when you need the volunteer to start, what the time commitment is, and where the role will be based. Clearly specify the tasks you would like the volunteer to carry out – and what skills/experience you would like them to have.

What’s in it for them? describe how your volunteer will benefit from being involved with you – whether it’s the opportunity to make new friends and have a structure to the day, use professional skills, or even get a massive buzz from changing someone’s life!

The formalities… volunteering should be great fun, but it’s important to have some safeguards in place – so say if references (it’s always best to ask for 2), and DBS checks are required.

Call to action… if someone is interested in your role and wants to find out more information, then you’ve cleared the first hurdle – include the name and contact details (always best to have a phone number and email address) of a named person within your organisation so that it’s easy for them to get in touch.

And finally, good luck!… if you need a bit more help developing a compelling role description, we can help – either attend one of our upcoming FREE Volunteering Advice Surgeries, or sign up for our heavily discounted Inspire Your Volunteers – Creating Strong Teams’ training on 27 January (at South Bucks District Council) or 8 March (Chesham Town Hall). For a role template that you can download, and all things volunteer related, please pop along here:

CIB Developing Volunteer Opportunities

CIB Events

If you’re looking for a volunteer with specialist skills, e.g. marketing or business planning, then we can also help! – please contact one of our very own fantastic volunteers, Marlene Baker, who will be happy to assist: volunteer7@communityimpactbucks.org.uk.

Sorted!

Hazel Finney is one of the Volunteering Advisers at Community Impact Bucks, if you’d like help creating a winning role description for you, then book a place at our FREE volunteering advice surgery on 14th Dec in High Wycombe.

3 Ways to Future-Proof your Board…

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What a year it has been!

Running a Not-for-Profit these days is not for the faint-hearted.

The world has changed. Technology is disrupting the way we engage with supporters and deliver our services, and (based on the Etherington review), charity leaders need to increase their fundraising involvement.

As a Trustee or board member, it can be quite a daunting prospect to suddenly realise that our old tricks aren’t working the same way, but it’s also an exciting time to be in the third sector and a fabulous opportunity to achieve things we never thought possible.

But nobody said it would be easy. The future of the voluntary sector looks vastly different than the past and we, as Trustees, have a responsibility to ensure we are keeping up with the pace of change.

There is no magic formula for a successful board, but these top tips will go a long way to ensuring you are shining bright in tomorrow’s world:

1. Recruit, Recruit, Recruit! Networks are everything, and this is where the board can really add serious value to your organisations’ success. In the new world of Not-for-Profit, everyone is a brand ambassador and it starts at the very top. Strive to attract young, connected trustees who understand the business world and have the energy to keep up momentum and drive through change.
2. Manage Risk – Good governance is the key to resilience. Be clear on your legal obligations and assign specific roles and responsibilities to each board member
3. Know exactly where you’re heading – as Steven Covey famously said ‘Begin with the end in mind’. A robust and clearly defined strategy, which aligns with your mission, is critical to success. And don’t get lost in endless jargon. Keep it simple and always come back to the question – how will this decision affect our beneficiaries?

If this makes for uncomfortable reading, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve created an event that will show you exactly how to do all of this, and more!

The 2016 ‘Future-Proofing’ Trustee Forum is an afternoon of practical inspiration from some of the UK’s leading governance and resilience experts.

Workshops include:

– Boost your Trustee Board
– Trustees and Risk Management
– Fundraising for Trustees
– Strategic Planning for the Future
– Duties of a Trustee

You’ll then have the opportunity to road-test your new skills with potential new board members in our Trustee Dating Session, when eager volunteers from the business community come searching for their dream role.

It’s all happening on 18th January 2016 at the Gateway Conference Centre in Aylesbury. Tickets cost just £15 and are 2for1 until the end of November.

To Future-Proof your board click here.