charity

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Employee, Business, Community

We have over 20 years experience in matching corporate volunteering activities with local not-for-profit groups. In 2021 we facilitated the employee volunteering of 530 local business volunteers with North Surrey charities. Lockdowns and social distancing were not a barrier to 63 team events and Christmas saw a bumper year of Angel Tree Gift donations by local business employees to vulnerable members of our community. More than 1,300 gifts and monetary donations of £25K have supported 23 charities and their beneficiaries.

So, why is corporate volunteering good for business? Raising your profile and building customer confidence is key to business success. Encouraging your employees to volunteer has been shown to build a positive company-consumer relationship. 88% of consumers said they were more likely to spend money for a company that supports and engages in activities to improve their community.

Recruiting and retaining excellent employees is another reason for engaging with communities. Creating a better work-life balance is becoming increasingly important for employees. By facilitating a workplace culture where your employees are encouraged to support their causes by volunteering, builds a stronger more productive and connected team. Tackling a real issue and providing a solution is a morale boost for volunteers and creates pride in their socially responsible company.

Why do you need us to help you? We have a unique insight into the charitable sector of North Surrey, with strong connections to charities and voluntary groups and a good understanding of what they need and who is best placed to help them. Many of our community and voluntary sector organisations have little or no budget and will really value your enthusiastic volunteers. Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, gardening or helping at a children’s party, using your skills or learning new ones - VSNS will find a project that fulfils the passions of your employees, and enables you to do something truly rewarding as a team.

We are already putting challenges in place for 2022 and looking forward to a busy, exciting year of employee volunteering in North Surrey. Our services are at no cost for you or the charity.

Contact tj@voluntarysupport.org.uk to discuss how we can help you connect.

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Micro Volunteering

Do you want to volunteer but the same old reasons of not enough time or unable to commit to a long term role keep holding you back?

Micro Volunteering is the answer - bite-size tasks with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality, involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and finish. It's a perfect way for you to do something good or give back, mostly from home, because 80% of micro volunteering takes places online.

We've put together a variety of microvolunteering ideas and there really is something for everyone:

Post Pals volunteers send cards, letters, emails and small gifts to seriously ill children and their siblings in the UK.

Pachamama Project volunteers make reusable sanitary pads for refugees worldwide

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers who lend their eyes to solve tasks big and small to help blind and low-vision people lead more independent lives.

FCancer volunteers donate their skills by the hour to support cancer charities (eg. photography, coding, writing and design) and help beat cancer.

Campaign to End Loneliness has ways for you to get involved locally or nationally with campaigns and ideas.

Dementia Friends volunteers learn about dementia so they can help their community by raising awareness and understanding.

Give Nature a Home volunteers build homes for nature where they live.

United Nations Online Volunteers (UNV) allows volunteers to team up to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world. Some of their projects do require a little more time and commitment.

Zooniverse enables volunteers to take part in real cutting edge research of all kinds, from classifying galaxies to counting penguins to transcribing manuscripts, there's a project for everyone.

Missing Maps volunteers help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people. Many of the places where disasters occur are 'missing' from any map and first responders lack the information to make decisions regarding relief efforts.

Furlonteer connects skilled professionals with remote volunteer opportunities. If you’ve been furloughed, are taking time out, searching for your next role, or employed with time to spare they have opportunities for everyone.

Remember - many people doing small actions can make a big impact!

find the right trustee

Recruiting Trustees

Nearly half of all charities in the UK are looking for trustees at any time and with 170,000 UK registered charities that's a lot of vacancies!

Recruiting new members to the board can seem a daunting task but there's a wealth of help and resources to start your search.  The important consideration is diversity amongst board members because boards with trustees of different backgrounds and experience are more likely to encourage debate and to make better decisions. Some trustee roles need special skills and depending on your cause you may need trustees with other experience and specialisations. NCVO has a informative Roles on the Board page to help you identify what kind of trustee you need.

The first rule of thumb in trustee recruitment is to openly advertise any trustee posts, and not just spread word of the vacancy through your existing networks. The second rule is to advertise in the places where your prospective targets are. We've put together some links to get you started:

Treasurer Recruitment

The Honorary Treasurers Forum

Institute of Chartered Accountants

Have you thought about approaching your local Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Rotary or business associations to find someone locally who would be interested in your cause?

Digital/Social Media/IT Trustee

https://mediatrust.org/

Diversity Specific

Women on Boards

Young Trustees Movement

A Practical Guide to Recruiting Black and Asian Charity Trustees

General Trustee Recruitment

Reach Volunteering

Getting on Board

Charity Job

Using LinkedIn to recruit trustees has been very successful for some local charities and we can offer support by publicising your trustee position on Volunteer Plus, our online volunteer recruitment database, contact alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk for more details.

 

More Reading:

NCVO Easy Read Good Trustee Guide: How Trustees Look After the Charity 

Or the Charity Commission 5 Minute Guides

Charity Commission Finding New Trustees 

 

 

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Befriending Week 2021

This befriending week, we are celebrating everything that befriending is, the difference it makes to individuals, families and communities, and the amazing contribution made by the many wonderful volunteer befrienders out there.

Loneliness is a growing issue in our society and has been a particular concern throughout the pandemic. Most people have experienced feelings of isolation in the last year and a half but for a lot of people in our communities, feelings of isolation and loneliness are enduring. Being matched with a volunteer befriender, having something to look forward to and someone to share stories with, is such a positive experience for people and beneficial to health.

Befriending can make a big difference to the lives of people who are matched with a befriender, but it can also offer some comfort to family members. We live in a society in which, many people live some distance from their families. Being able to refer a loved one to a befriending service can be a relief to family members who are concerned about a loved one who is feeling lonely or isolated. They can rest in the knowledge that every week their loved one will have a friendly visit from a trusted organisation.

Befriending can also provide a link between a person experiencing feelings of isolation, to their local community. Befrienders can tell the person they are matched with, stories from their neighbourhood, they may be able to visit the local shops or have a drink with their befriender in a local cafe. Feelings of isolation and loneliness diminish which is hugely beneficial for emotional wellbeing.

Befriending is not however a one-way experience. Volunteer befrienders report how much they enjoy the visits they make. They talk about the rewards of knowing you are making a difference, the joy of meeting someone knew and hearing their stories. They report how happy it makes them feel, to know they are bringing happiness to others. Befriending can be a wonderful way to manage your own feelings of loneliness too, as volunteers are also building new friendships and giving something back to their community.

At Time to Talk, we are so grateful to all of our wonderful volunteers. They have supported people throughout the pandemic, finding creative ways to stay in touch with people, doorstep visits, sitting in gardens, going for walks. They have offered their time every week to make a difference to someone else. Without our volunteers, we would not be able to provide the support that we do.

Befriending week is an opportunity to extend a huge thank you to all volunteer befrienders. You are keeping people connected, making people smile and reminding people that someone out there cares.

Thank you

meeting the mayor

Visit by The Mayor of Surrey Heath Cllr Sarah Jane Croke

"Some of the Voluntary Support North Surrey Team had the pleasure and honour of meeting the Worshipful Mayor of Surrey Heath Councillor Sarah Jane Croke this afternoon

The Mayor has taken time to personally visit and thank charitable organisations who assisted residents throughout the pandemic.

We were delighted to receive thanks from the Mayor for our significant contribution in Surrey Heath;

Alison Morey recruited and onboarded more than 350 volunteers to assist the Primary Care Network with the vaccination initiative at Lakeside.  At it's peak, 111 shifts of volunteers were required each day.  Colin Morey has had the unenviable task of scheduling the shifts for all these volunteers, successfully sourcing and implementing technology to assist and facilitate the process.  Without doubt the Lakeside vaccination centre is an excellent example of a well run and efficient vaccination site.

Libby Holcombe supports and builds capacity in Surrey Heath charities and voluntary groups, assisting them with their front line work and also delivered PPE throughout the pandemic.

Elaine Hawes (missing from the photo) ensures that Time to Talk befriending offered a friendly voice and/or visit to those feeling most isolated.  Indeed, with the support of Elaine, some visiting continued throughout the winter in gardens, at a safe social distanc

VSNS actively participated in the COVID Champions initiative, ensuring the dissemination of accurate health and wellbeing messages to local residents and recruited local volunteers to deliver oximeters across the borough.

Our Chairperson, Helen Frary, was present to receive thanks on behalf of the volunteer VSNS board who have worked flexibly throughout the pandemic agilely adapting as needs required.

The vaccination program is continuing across North Surrey, with booster vaccinations for our vulnerable residents and flu clinics. Some of our amazing volunteers have gone back to work or moved on to new challenges so we are continuing to recruit marshal volunteers. If you, or anyone you know, would like to get involved in keeping our community well, we really need you.

Please contact alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk or call 01932 571122"

Solette Sheppardson, Chief Officer, Voluntary Support North Surrey

 

options for online fundraising

What are your digital fundraising options?

We are often asked about the best way to accept donations and which platforms to use. The good news for charities is that there are now lots of ways to collect digital donations:

More information:

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/video-five-digital-fundraising-platforms-your-charity-should-know-about-9232

https://www.bhibcharities.co.uk/advice/the-best-online-fundraising-platforms/

 

 

Why charities need a Newsletter

Why do I need a charity newsletter?

Nonprofit newsletters get some of the best average open rates in email marketing (26%). Newsletters provide important opportunities to showcase the work you do, make appeals for donations and other support and raise awareness of the problems your charity tackles. Use your newsletter to connect with donors and volunteers, encouraging them to take action.

Email drives more charitable donations than any other online channel. 42% of donors prefer to hear from causes they support by email, 20% of donors said that emails made them more likely to donate again and 69% of subscribers said they were more likely to donate after receiving an appeal for a specific need.

Everyone gets more emails than they can ever read. A typical email receives no more than 15 seconds of attention - so make yours stand out. Use images, a good subject line and engaging opening paragraph. If a reader is not interested at the opening of your newsletter, they won’t read what comes later.

What else should you do?

  • ensure that your newsletter can be read on a mobile device.
  • personalise (use recipient names)
  • all non-profit newsletters should include a call to action - usually a request for donations, volunteers or an ask to social share
  • keep text to a minimum and focus on 1-5 stories or calls-to-action
  • have your donate button and social media icons at the top of the newsletter
  • enable social sharing
  • use images and video screenshots linking to your website or YouTube
  • send on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday - avoid Mondays and Fridays

Finally, remember you cannot email anyone without their permission, but you can build your email list by:

  • have a subscribe button on your website
  • promote through conversations with supporters
  • run a specific list building social media campaign
  • offer donors the option to subscribe in thank you messages

Subscribe to our e-news here!

More reading:

https://getanewsletter.com/en/blog/newsletter-introduction-examples-how-to-write-catchy-intros-for-your-newsletters/

http://www.thestorytellingnonprofit.com/blog/5-non-profit-newsletters-to-learn-from/

https://knowhow.ncvo.org.uk/campaigns/communications/e-newsletters

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/everything-you-need-to-know-about-email-marketing-software-8734?

charity website

What does a good charity website look like?

The best charity websites are kind to users – not overloading them with choices or too much text, and instead making calls to action obvious and ensuring that users can easily find further information as needed. Here are our top tips to improve your site:

  • Give your website visitors what they want! Make your home page menu clear with no more than 6 options. Users need to be able to find what they need quickly so make your messages clear and concise to avoid overwhelming users with too much information. Guide Dogs is a great example of a clear, user friendly website with https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/
  • Be clear what your charity does, how website visitors can support you and what support means to the lives of your beneficiaries. Charity Water does this really well https://www.charitywater.org/uk
  • Use images for instant impact - donors respond to campaigns that feature a single, identifiable beneficiary. Care International UK has faces of beneficiaries on every page https://www.careinternational.org.uk/fighting-poverty
  • Make sure your website is device appropriate. You must consider how it's being viewed on smart phones, iPads and tablets. Comic Relief looks good on all devices https://www.comicrelief.com/rednoseday
  • Payment or sign-up processes should be as simple as possible. Not too many steps to complete and don't ask for unnecessary information in long winded forms.

More reading:

What Makes a Good Charity Website?

https://www.theukdomain.uk/what-makes-a-great-charity-website/

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Gaming for Good

Gaming and livestreaming were already big before the pandemic struck but participation has really taken off.  This is good news for charities because it gives us a new avenue for fundraising that appeals the generous Generation Z.

The idea may seem strange but gaming fundraisers are popular and effective https://fundraising.co.uk/2021/02/03/6-successful-gaming-for-good-livestreaming-campaigns/

How does it work?

Gamers share game playing with their friends and other gamers, who tune in to watch the game in action. This is called streaming and there are there are several platforms dedicated to gaming, the most popular is called Twitch, which was built specifically for streaming games. The gamer adds a donate buttons to their stream – like a donate button on a charity website which links to the gamer's fundraising page on a donation platform like JustGiving.

By hosting a donate button on screen, gamers engage their audience into making donations in return for gaming activity. A gamer could host a 24-hour gaming marathon or they could host a tournament with other gamers.

If you want your charity to run or help run a gaming fundraiser, try reaching out to local gaming communities or looking for gaming events that have occurred in your area. Maybe someone on your  charity team (volunteer/supporter/member of staff) has a passion for video games, and they can help organise hosting or participating in a gaming fundraiser. Look for gamers who might be interested in your cause https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/gaming-for-good-how-to-find-gamers-9003

More Reading:

Top tips for successful livestreaming and gaming for good

Just Giving Gaming

How to Get Started with Gaming Fundraising

Fundraising on Twitch

 

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