volunteers

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Social media – make it easy!

You want to inspire and motivate your audience to get involved with your charity by posting great social media with valuable content. You need engagement, retweets, likes, shares, followers, and all the other good things that comes with a successful social media profile. So the question is, what kind of social media content gets that kind of love and gives you the most value?

Who is your audience?

This is a group of people that you’ve identified that you want to appeal to and who are most likely to be interested in your charity. Your audience can be based on location, age, employment or behavior. Look at other similar charities to yours. What content are they publishing? What kind of voice are they using? Who are they appealing to? What’s their call to action?

What is your goal for the social media post/campaign?

Your social media posts should have a purpose – this is a call to action CTA. Do you need donations? Sign up to an email list?  Volunteers? Publicising an event? Your call to action should encourage readers to engage with you further. Be clear what you want your audience to do.

What should you write?

We write about our successes, our beneficiaries, our volunteers, our community and we share local and national social media from partners and charities. Cause awareness and giving days can also be powerful themes for fundraising and social media awareness campaigns. Get ideas from 2021 Cause Awareness Days Days of the Year  Wikipedia’s List of Commemorative Months and download the handy calendar template from Hootsuite for your office wall.

When should you post?

Different audiences on different platforms read posts and view videos at different times of the day. For example, commuters consume social media on their journey to work. Homeworkers may read posts in the middle of the day. Twitter audiences are consuming in the early morning and engagement drops off later in the day. Use the Sprout Socials guide to experiment with posting at different times on different platforms.

How do you make it visually attractive?

Including images is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase engagement. Our brain can interpret images much quicker than text making your post much more effective. Top tip – make your images the correct size for the platform! We use a free version of an easy to use graphic design platform called Canva and Hootsuite have a guide to getting the sizes right. Remember to use images that belong to you or those from a royalty free site – we use pixabay or unsplash

Finally … make it easy

Posting diverse, interesting content at the right time on the right platform is made much easier by using a scheduling tool. We use Hootsuite. It allows us to plan our content in advance and schedule appropriately across 3 platforms for free. Read about Hootsuite and other scheduling options here.

Making sure Christmas happened in Surrey Heath #goodnews

Making Christmas happen in Surrey Heath!

For many people this year, Christmas was a time of extreme loneliness, but Surrey Heath charities made a massive effort to tackle this.

The Rotary Club of Camberley staged a Virtual Christmas Day Drop-In for two hours for anyone by themselves fancying a chat on Christmas Day.

Camberley Besom and the Rotary Club of Camberley put together 180 and 80 Christmas hampers respectively, of which 18 were made up from donations by SHBC councillors and staff.  Normal food bank parcels were also available for the festive period. The Old Dean Community Group in partnership with St Martin’s Church supported local people in hardship with food parcels including vegetables donated by the local allotments, fresh pastries and a fresh chicken voucher.

Lightwater Connected, Windlesham Caring and Bagshot Care combined efforts to take part in the Windlesham Parish scheme to provide a Christmas meal for those living alone on Christmas Day. Through the support of local restaurants volunteers were able to deliver meals to nearby residents who were lonely or vulnerable.

Our two local befriending groups the Time-to-Talk Project from VSNS and Surrey Heath Age Concern supported their clients with a special gift in Christmas week delivered personally as well as a friendly call.

Camberley Alzheimer Café hosted a special Christmas Social on 21 Dec in addition to their monthly zoom meeting for anyone living with dementia and/or carers recognising the isolation that some people feel during the festive period.

Ingenuity, sharing resources and using connections to help their community is a good news story worth telling.

January 2021

January 2021 is Mentoring Month

Mentoring can have a significant impact on a young person’s life, prospects and outlook. In addition to better school attendance and a better chance of going on to higher education, mentored young people maintain better attitudes toward school – 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs – 27% less likely to start drinking – 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities than those who do not. Being a mentor gives a young person someone to rely on, provide emotional support, educational and career guidance and generally be a guide.

Interested? Here are a few local ideas:

Forward Trust – make a difference to the lives of ex offenders and people with drug and alcohol issues

Surrey Care Trust – work with vulnerable families who need help to cope with life’s challenges or support taking their next steps in life

PACT – Prison Advice and Care Trust volunteers support prisoners resettling back through practical and emotional support

or have a look at some of the many and varied mentor roles on our volunteer website

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Open for Business

Many of our local charities have a new ‘normal’ – adapting their existing services so they can be accessed virtually and creating new online services for their users.

It may look different, but they are still there to help and still able to offer support to our community.

We’ve been talking to local charities who are ‘open for business’ and finding out how they have changed and adapted. Take a look at what the Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath groups are doing.

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Connected Communities are Making a Difference

COVID brought many communities together – Lightwater is building on the successful COVID response by creating a new community organisation. Three voluntary groups in the village have joined together to create ‘Lightwater Connected’, an umbrella organisation coordinating the activities of Lightwater Care, LIVE and the Lightwater Resilience Plan LRP.

During lockdown 300 volunteers in Lightwater handled over 1000 calls for assistance and this joined up approach to community has resulted in a new, larger organisation, which shares volunteers, funding, modern technology and ideas. Lightwater Care has restarted driving duties again, the LIVE signposting centre has reopened for business. The new service will operate 5 mornings a week, manned by 2 duty officers, and will eventually not just take bookings for drivers, shopping trips and prescription collections, but pull together all the LRP and LIVE volunteers into a village-wide befriending and communication network, taking its lead from the successful operation of LRP during the Covid emergency. It will also eventually make LIVE available 5 days a week, rather than just Saturdays.

Lightwater Connected is a volunteer network ready for any future emergency and really making a difference to their community.

07933 123256 lightwaterhelp@gmail.com  www.lightwaterconnected.org.uk

Our job is to help grow local voluntary organisations so if your North Surrey community group needs support or has a pandemic evolution story you’d like to share – we’d love to hear from you.

info@voluntarysupport.org.uk

 

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Make a Difference with the Kindness Economy

Customers care about how a business treats people, how it gets involved in the community and how the business impacts the planet. 40% of Millennials, the most powerful consumers in the world, stated that the goal of business should be to ‘improve society’.

This is known as the Kindness Economy which is built on the stuff that we care about and runs on the currency of kindness. The more people spend their kindness, the more the community benefits.

Our Kindness Economy in North Surrey is flourishing with local businesses helping their community and making a difference. Alcon employees have written over 100 cards and letters to older residents in Surrey Heath for local charity Surrey Heath Age Concern. Enterprise in Egham have committed to helping 13 local charities at Christmas with 230 gifts for their beneficiaries. London Irish Rugby Club employees cooked meals, shopped and collected hundreds of prescriptions for Spelthorne residents during lockdown.

Your business can join the Kindness Economy in North Surrey and we can help your business make a difference. Contact tj@voluntarysupport.org.uk for more information https://www.kindnesseconomy.com/

swan

Enterprise at the Swan Sanctuary

The 6 strong team from Enterprise in Egham didn’t swan around when they spent a day volunteering at the Swan Sanctuary, Shepperton.

They brushed, sanded and painted the main barn windows and fascia in the Autumn sunshine.

Steve, the Sanctuary Manager was delighted with the results and thanked them all for their hard work. The Swan Sanctuary, Shepperton is a wildlife hospital dedicated to the treatment, care and rehabilitation of swans and wildfowl. As well as caring for the birds, they provide training for organisations who may find themselves faced with wildfowl casualties and educate groups of all ages in the work done by the Swan Sanctuary

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Don’t Stop Fundraising!

Charities still need to raise money – incomes have been drastically hit but the demand for services are increasing.

  • Go digital – over the last few years I’ve encouraged you to introduce digital fundraising as part of your fundraising strategy. Now more than ever your website should reflect what your charity is doing in the community, with good news stories of business as usual or how your services have evolved because of COVID. Use all the avenues available via links from your website – donation pages, Facebook donate, Instagram donate, Amazon Smile and charity shopping fundraising sites such as EasyFundraising.  Hold virtual events using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet or virtual sporting events using sports platforms such as Strava.
  • Get personal – use this time to send direct personalised messages to your existing supporters and tell them what the pandemic means for your charity in terms of your finances, delivering your services, beneficiaries, staff and volunteers. Ask your trustees to talk directly to your funders to ensure they are aware of your financial situation, they may be in a position to extend your funding or help you reapply for different streams.
  • This is an emergency – if you are in real trouble, now is the time to tell your supporters and community that you will not survive without their support. Highlight what closure will mean for your beneficiaries – now is the time for an emergency appeal. To avoid saturation and donor fatigue why not think about having a joint campaign with other local charities.

COVID is not going to be over – even after lockdown is lifted. The emotional fallout will impact on the community for years to come. Fundraising will not be the same and we will all have to learn new skills to survive.

https://www.strava.com/

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/the-best-online-fundraising-platforms-for-charities-5324

https://fundraising.co.uk/2020/03/30/virtual-fundraising-ideas-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown/

https://www.techradar.com/uk/best/best-video-conferencing-software

 

 

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Always looking on the bright side of life ….

Under Covid-19 lockdown the voluntary landscape changed dramatically almost overnight. But despite the necessary suspension of face-to-face services, community spirit has fought back – and improvised. With fantastic new Covid-19 support groups being set up in most areas to localise help with shopping and prescriptions, many of the established voluntary groups have also revamped their offer through both online and telephone contact.

Camberley Care for example was forced to cease its neighbourhood driving service as a precautionary measure for its volunteers’ wellbeing but instead has organised its team to support all regular clients by ensuring they receive friendly chats each week and are linked up to Surrey Heath Prepared, the new Covid-19 hub across the borough.

Another inspirational story is Surrey Heath Age Concern which has similarly set up a support network for its regulars with their befrienders continuing to maintain contact with their clients over the phone with friendship and practical essentials. Staff are also working in partnership with Surrey Heath Prepared to combat loneliness through telephone befriending.

The Time to Talk befriending service that normally offers visits to anyone over 18 has adopted a similar strategy moving to telephone and online calls to keep in touch. Elaine Hawes, the Time to Talk manager, says:  “I am really proud of our volunteer befrienders who have continued to support the people they usually visit with phone calls and text messages and with practical things such as collecting shopping and prescriptions. They have been such a source of support at a difficult time”.

In Lightwater the Lightwater Resilience Plan grew out of a merge between the already existing, successful LIVE group and Windlesham Parish Council. One of the group leaders Windsor Rackham said “We have pulled together over 300 volunteers to make contact with, and look after, all 2700 households in Lightwater with shopping, prescription collection, and helping to resolve all the many issues surrounding self-isolation and long periods of quarantining”.  LRP have linked to Surrey Heath Prepared for the duration of the corvid-19 pandemic in order to access their food bank facility and the security checks on new volunteers, demonstrating the power of combining voluntary resources at this difficult time.

With Covid-10 support groups being overwhelmed by offers of volunteers we can only hope that after coronavirus is past, every cloud really does have a silver lining and this revived community spirit will carry on.

Hunter and me

Why do I volunteer for Brooklands Museum?

I have been a volunteer at Brooklands Museum for nearly a decade. Initially I just did one Saturday afternoon per fortnight, I now do much more. My first role was as a Steward. Stewards are the people you see in the exhibit areas, talking and listening to visitors and answering their questions. Now I do a much broader range of activities.

At first, all I brought to the role was an enthusiasm for, and fascination about, motoring and aviation. I had little in the way of knowledge and skills. That did not matter because I very soon learned a great deal. Some learning was through structured training by Brooklands, much was informal, through talking with other volunteers. I have always found other volunteers to be very generous in sharing their knowledge and skills. I have also learned a surprising amount from visitors.

On retiring, I had more time available and got involved in other activities, This included some basic work on historic aircraft. I learned how to safely strip and prepare an aircraft for re-painting, including how to avoid causing damage to the fabric and to myself. I have now started an Aviation Heritage Skills course, run and funded for volunteers by Brooklands, opening up a whole new area of knowledge and skills, in my ‘Third Age’!

My other roles have varied from car park marshalling on event days to providing Guided Tours for people ranging from aviation specialists, to a history society to a Women’s Institute group.

So why do I do it? I have found many benefits, including:

  • Meeting new people with a massive range of interesting backgrounds.
  • Retaining and interest and involvement with cars, motorcycles and aircraft.
  • Getting huge amounts of appreciation and feedback from visitors of all ages.
  • On retiring, keeping my brain alive through learning and developing new skills.
  • Making some contribution to the education, information and entertainment that it is the mission of Brooklands Museum to provide to all types and ages of people.
  • Helping to give people with special needs a fun day out.
  • Being involved in a highly successful and award winning organisation.

This is just my view. Other volunteers do it for many different reasons and carry out many different roles, from library archiving to gardening. There is a role just for you.

If you think this could be the volunteering role for you – why not call Sue Lewin on 01932 857381, ext. 242  or email her on suelewin@brooklandsmuseum.com

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