Month: December 2016

Advertising volunteer opportunities

Over the next year The National Autistic Society will be expanding the amount of volunteers we are hoping to work with.

I’m really interested to know any new or innovative methods that people use to attract/recruit a diverse range of volunteers.

I’m particularly interested in how organisations have successfully used new media to attract new volunteers. I worry that if we always advertise in the same way then we are simply reaching the same group of people.

In the past we have used our website,, mail outs to NAS members, volunteer events etc

I would appreciate any thoughts on this?

Do you engage with Volunteer Centres Daniel?

I know many national organisations don’t tend to engage with local Volunteer Centres for various reason, but quite often we are working with a diverse range of clients, have good local knowledge on what skills local people may have, and have good contacts with colleges, universities, public sector organisations, private sector groups looking for group volunteering, etc. They will also tend to have a database of people who are either existing volunteers or who have expressed an interest in volunteering. Here at Sefton we send out a monthly update, to our volunteer database, with information on new and urgent volunteer roles and we continue to see people on a regular basis in face-to-face interviews as well as providing advice over the phone and via email.

In my previous role with involved Sefton we did use Facebook and Twitter to promote new volunteering through Facebook and Twitter. Of the two Facebook was the most successful, but was still nowhere near as successful as sending emails out to our network.

I have seen PAID FOR volunteer recruitment adverts on Facebook, but have no idea how successful they are.

I also know some charities use texts as a way of circulating information on volunteering, but that would obviously be for people who are already in touch with the organisation.

If you are looking for volunteers in Sefton, or on Merseyside, feel free to get in touch.

Being clear about what your learning objectives are

Other Jayne gives you a great steer as ever. I think being clear about what your learning objectives are at the start is a really important starting point.

In a previous job, I worked in VSO’s training team and introduced online learning as part of their pre-departure training for volunteers going overseas to work in developing countries. For us, peer learning and support was really key in the face to face training and we wanted to maintain this. Also we were aware that things aren’t always black and white in terms of the content and there weren’t always going to be right or wrong answers – it was discussion that was important and about exploring peoples’ attitudes. Maybe not to dissimilar to some of the things you might be looking at in developing training for befriends.

We plumped for using e-moderated message boards through VSO’s online volunteer area. This is based on Gilly Salmon’s 5 stage e-moderated methodology – you can Google her. We used Moodle, which is a free platform, although a bit clunky. It’s used pretty widely in schools these days. Volunteers do e-learning courses either side of two face to face training courses, with the face-to-face and online courses interlinking with one another.

I have to admit to not being completely sold on the whole online way of learning prior to taking on the project – probably prejudiced by my own learning styles! But it’s been really successful and gets good feedback from volunteers. I’ve moderated courses with participants dotted all over the UK, in France, Morocco, India, the States all at the same time – makes for some really interesting debate!

Happy to have a chat with you on the phone some time if you want – mail me directly to arrange a time.

I work for CHAS in Edinburgh, and am just about to trial online training for our volunteers, who are Scotland-wide. We already have a system in place for our staff, so we want to see how well it works for volunteers. This is to cover statutory / mandatory training (and some of it will need to be blended with face-to-face sessions).

As you’re also in Edinburgh, do you want to contact me direct for a chat?

We are also considering online training / E-learning for volunteers at The Blue Cross. I have a similar question I’d like to ask as we’re at a slightly earlier stage in the process! How do people decide which training / learning opportunities are suitable to be delivered online? Do you use any criteria to assess existing learning opportunities to decide whether they could/should be delivered in another, online format? All thoughts welcome!