surrey

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Local Business Generosity in North Surrey this Christmas

Confronted with a global pandemic many local corporates have been responsive, engaged and extremely generous looking into ways to keep their CSR going and making sure they are still engaged and helping the local community.

Local businesses including Enterprise Rent a Car in Egham, ADP Chertsey, Compass Chertsey. Alcon Camberley, Enterprise Aldershot, Spirit Energy, Visa and CHEP Addlestone have donated over 900 Christmas gifts to charities in Surrey Heath, Runnymede and Spelthorne.

Besides the gifts several local corporates have donated over £12,000 to local charities across the boroughs.  Recipients include the Runnymede Foodbank who received £2,500 for Tesco Vouchers and Just a Helping Hand who received £1,450 to help the homeless in Runnymede. Alcon Eye Care Specialists in Camberley bought and filled over 100 rucksacks for The Hope Hub and Spirit Energy in Spelthorne have bought and filled arts and craft bags for children in Foster Care in Surrey.

With many elderly and vulnerable residents being isolated and unable to leave their homes corporates have organised zoom events to write Christmas Cards which will be delivered through the Salvation Army, Age UK Surrey and Purple Angels to lonely individuals in our community.

We want to say a big thank you to all our local businesses who are working hard to ensure that their collective effort can support those most in need this Christmas.

 

 

 

Community Training

Voluntary Sector Training in Surrey

The Communities and Prevention Team at Surrey County Council are working to create an online training resource platform to support community volunteers. The platform will provide links to training covering a wide variety of subjects, share challenges and problems, and then provide a space for people to share practice.

In the meantime they have put together a list of training opportunities to investigate further:

Interim Community Training Bulletin

In addition you may be interested in:

NCVO online training courses 

Loneliness Digital Classroom with the British Red Cross, which aims to help people learn new skills to help them support people experiencing isolation/loneliness. There are 2 sessions are available. One for 10-19-year-olds and the other one for adults aged 19+. Email: RedCrossEducation@redcross.org.uk or call: 0344 412 2734 to book a place.

Financial Essentials for Charities – an online course to support finance professionals and charity leaders  and help drive sustainable finance strategies and decision-making (cost £155.99)

Selection of options for Digital Skills from Charity Digital

Please remember that we offer volunteer recruitment and management training and fundraising training throughout the year at no cost – for more information get in touch via info@voluntarysupport.org.uk

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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 if you try one and live in North Surrey please email alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk with your name and details of the volunteering role and we’ll enter your name in a draw for a £50 Marks and Spencer voucher.

Positivity by post volunteers send positive cards or packages to anyone who has a chronic illness/disability or mental ill health in the UK.

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

Loving Hands volunteer crafters knit, crochet and sew for charities and groups all over the world.

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.

Hedgehog Homes volunteers help hedgehogs when they go into hibernation by creating permanent structures in their gardens.

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!

virtual

Top Tips on Organising a Virtual Event

The biggest barrier to participation in a virtual fundraising event are the mechanics of how to get involved.
Here are our 4 top tips on how to organise a virtual event and make it easy for your supporters:
1. Have simple instructions and a central place to sign up and get information. Ideally, a page on your website dedicated to the event and using a tool like Eventbrite.
2. One of the best things about fundraising events is being with people who support the same cause as you. Help participants interact with one another on social media by creating event hashtags and by posting supporter stories on your website event page.
3. Create a fundraising toolkit for your participants, including things like graphics, ideas for social posts or emails, and tips for setting up a personal fundraising page.
4. The biggest benefit of taking your event online is that your fundraiser can last all year. Rather than having one set date for the event, supporters can now sign up to do a virtual walk anytime, making this one-off fundraising opportunity work all year-round.
COVID-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Information for voluntary sector groups

The spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a concern for all of us and VSNS takes this situation seriously. We can all do things to help reduce the risk of catching and spreading this virus.

Keep up to date with advice from:

NHS England
Department of Health and Social Care

The government site gives clear guidance on what to do (e.g. self-isolate) if you have returned from visiting any of the affected areas, whether you are experiencing symptoms or not.

What you can do:

  • Regular and thorough hand washing with hot soapy water (not touching mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands)
  • The agreement not to take offence when someone politely reminds us about washing our hands (it is easy to forget when we are always in a rush and our minds are elsewhere)
  • Using tissues or your elbow when sneezing or coughing – NOT coughing or sneezing into someone’s face – guidance here
  • Using antibacterial wipes on phones and keyboards – especially if you hot desk
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Ensure people you support understand the situation – particularly if they are unable to speak/read English
  • If you think you might be infected with the Coronavirus, do not risk spreading it by coming into work or by going to the GP or hospital. Ring 111 for advice

If you are providing services in the social, community care or residential care setting there is specific advice for providers of these services on the government website here.

What VSNS has done:

  • We’ve put practical measures in place to help reduce the risk of spread of the virus across our 3 offices such as, improved signage in toilets about hand-washing; paper hand towels; antibacterial hand-wash in kitchens and regular disinfecting of taps and public door handles. These practical measures will be reviewed regularly, in accordance with changes to public health guidance.
  • We have made contingency plans in case the services VSNS provide can no longer be delivered from our offices – if you haven’t already done this, it may be timely to revisit your own contingency planning for the services you provide.
  • We have put in place WhatsApp groups, video conferencing and team chat facilities so that we can stay in contact with each other. If your organisation needs help with any of these technologies we will support you wherever possible.
  • Office phones will be redirected to enable us to be contactable even if the offices are unmanned for a short time.
  • Contacting our volunteers individually and collectively to ensure that they are supported. Befrienders and buddies should be led by their clients wishes and they should not visit anyone if they are feeling unwell or have had known contact with anyone with a virus.

For more information watch the The iHASCO ‘Coronavirus Awareness’ video

Read specific online advice for COVID-19 

Sign Language information from SignHealth on COVID-19

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SEO to increase website visitors and donors

Search Engine Optimisation helps your website perform better in search engines like Google.

SEO is important because good SEO practices improve the usability of your web site and your visitor’s user experience. You’ll get discovered by the right people more often, allowing you to grow your base of supporters and donors.

Users trust search engines – if your site is in at the top of a search for the keywords used by your visitors, they will have more trust in your site.

Many small charities face 2 problems – not enough website visitors and the ones who find you are not engaged enough to stay.

So how can you improve your SEO?

  • Regularly updated, quality, relevant content
  • Identify and use your target keywords
  • Use Google Search Console
  • Use Google Analytics
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
  • Use a plugin like Yoast
  • Fix 404s

The higher your google ranking, the easier your website will be to find. You’ll attract more visitors and persuade them to donate and support you with an interesting and attractive, navigable site – easy!

https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/course/6

https://truenorthsocial.com/seo/how-to-choose-seo-keywords-for-your-business/

https://search.google.com/search-console/about

https://www.quicksprout.com/best-seo-plugins-for-wordpress/

https://www.classy.org/blog/7-seo-tips-nonprofit-cant-afford-ignore/

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/10-essential-charity-seo-tips-to-get-your-website-found3-6168

https://whitefuse.com/blog/7-steps-mastering-seo-your-charity-website

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Use Social Proof

The Rule of Social Proof: ‘If others are doing it, it must be the right thing to do.’

92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. People care about what others think and you can use that to attract new donors and supporters.

Tell the stories of your beneficiaries and supporters in text and pictures. A good story will spark emotion and empathy in your reader and persuade them to answer the call to action on your donate page. Images in the online world increase engagement by 313%. Not everything can be expressed with words, but nearly everything can be explained with visuals. Pictures help us relate to content, which will increase credibility and trust in your cause.

Use numbers on your website donation page. Show the number of people who have already given or who have fundraised for you to motivate visitors to donate. Tell your readers your total so far if you have a target amount to raise, this inspires them to help you reach your goal.

If you’ve received positive mentions from credible media sources, influencers or publications, put them on your website as well as key quotes from experts. Don’t forget to include social media buttons on your website pages to demonstrate broad support for your organisation and so people can easily share your content.

The internet has made social proof a powerful way to influence social behaviours.  By building and increasing the visibility of social proof for your cause, you more clearly demonstrate the value of your organisation to prospective donors and fundraisers.

https://zapier.com/blog/power-of-empathy/

https://www.globalgiving.org/learn/listicle/photography-tips-for-fundraising/

 

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secure your website with an SSL

Would you enter your contact data on a website that was unsecured? We wouldn’t.

https is a secure way of transmitting the data associated with your website. On most browsers (even those on phones), you’ll see a lock icon in the address bar. The https lock icon appears when your site has an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate.

If your site collects personal information you should be protecting the data of your donors and supporters with an SSL certificate.

Usually costing approximately £50 per year and a couple of days to implement, your website hosting company will almost certainly offer an SSL certificate and set your site up with it.

https://smartcausedigital.com/articles/your-website-not-finished-you-forgot-https

windows 10

Long Live Windows 10

Support for Windows 7 ended on 14th January 2020 and we’ve been asked repeatedly about what that means.

Many of you are still using it – at the end of 2019 about a third of desktop operating systems were reportedly Windows 7, including a large part of the NHS.

Your PC with Windows 7 will continue to work, withdrawal of support by Microsoft means that there will be no software updates (including security updates) so your PC is more vulnerable to cyber-attack. Microsoft will also cease to provide technical support when things go wrong.

Continuing with Windows 7 also affects your organisation’s legal compliance. You cannot meet the security requirements of data protection legislation when you are using an operating system with potential security flaws which are not going to be fixed.

In practical terms – it may cost you more in time wasted recovering data from a system crash or a virus than installing Windows 10.

Unless your PC is very old, Windows 10 will run on the machine you have been using with Windows 7 it’s just a matter of upgrading. If you do decide to upgrade your PC, remember that UK charities can benefit from discounted software donated through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

https://www.charitydigitalexchange.org/

Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) have an excellent, more detailed blog post for more information

https://www.nicva.org/article/still-using-windows-7-heres-what-you-need-to-know

For those of you that hate change – once you’ve made the move you can customise Windows 10 to look like 7!

https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-make-windows-10-look-like-windows-7/

tell us what you think2

Tell Us What You Think

Organisations succeed when they talk to their customers and ask them what they think.

Every 2 years on behalf of Surrey County Council, we send out ‘A State of the Voluntary Sector Survey’ asking you about the quality of our services.

This survey provides hard numbers and facts on your opinions and we can use them make important decisions about how we help you.

Please complete the survey to voice your opinion and help us to improve services to you and other voluntary organisations in our community.

Surrey County Council Survey

You’re not just helping us – you’re helping yourselves and other local charities by improving what we do for you.

© Copyright 2017 Voluntary Support North Surrey. Privacy Policy. Registered Charity Incorporated Organisation Number 1141587