An informal conversation and guide to the sometimes confusing world of volunteering.

Volunteers - undermanaged and definitely underfunded

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But what about the people who manage volunteers?

A new report published last week, Managers of Volunteers Undervalued and Underfunded, reveals the need for more training and development for managers of volunteers. It shows that nearly half of the people who manage volunteers have not received any training in this area.

From their research, it looks like most volunteers do have an induction. But many still don't have a written role description or supervision. Supervision could make a difference, our volunteers tell us how much they appreciate our support whilst they're on one of our projects.

Just over half of the charities surveyed said they had problems in recruiting enough volunteers overall, and particular difficulty in finding volunteers for roles in campaigning, IT support, fundraising, handling money, leadership/project roles, research and policy work.

If you are a volunteer manager and haven't come across Experts in Volunteering - they offer lots of useful resources and advice here.

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Jog On


My friend Becca is not only intelligent, beautiful, sweet- natured, hilarious, and a keen runner, but she also volunteers. And she’s actually found a voluntary opportunity that keeps her in training while she’s volunteering. Seems she’s a multi-tasker too, damn it.

The Good Gym matches people who like to run (or who keep meaning to start) with less mobile and isolated people in their local area. Runners jog to their house, deliver something nice, have a brief chat and are on their way again. The scheme is only running in Tower Hamlets at the moment and Becca was recently featured on BBC breakfast news (oh, she’s a TV star now too).

The Good Gym is the brain child of Ivo Gormley, our friend over at Think Public who we have collaborated with on past ventures. It was born out of dissatisfaction with ordinary gyms and the desire to channel all that effort people make in the gym into some kind of social benefit.

We love the concept of The Good Gym here at TimeBank as we understand how it can be tricky to find the time to volunteer even when the intention is there. The Good Gym provides an innovative solution to the time poor, big hearted people out there. Time to get off that sofa!

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What will you pledge?

Festival season's well and truly over (sob) and children are finally back at school but it looks like community spirit is definitely here to stay as tons of festival goers at the recent Vintage at Goodwood festival pledged to do good in their communities for the next year.

We had so much fun dressing up in vintage clothes (thanks to Rokit Vintage) with our friends at thinkpublic, getting the public to pledge anything from making hats for charity to encouraging the local community to grow their own veg.

Check out the video, it may inspire you to get pledging yourself.

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Welcome to our new site


Tony Blair published his 'journey' this week amid a blaze of publicity.

We've been on our own journey this year - and to mark our tenth anniversary we've got a new look website, launched today. We hope you like it.

We asked people what they wanted from our new website.

They wanted three key things:

  1. More volunteering opportunities in one place
  2. Access to the inside picture about volunteering  - what's it really like
  3. More advice and support.

We're asking you to do three things:

  1. Take a look around
  2. Leave a review of any volunteering you've done in the past
  3. Let us know what you think
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Orange RockCorps

If you're over 16, and have given four hours to a charity, you can get a great reward of a Ticketmaster Gift Card for you to use at a gig of your choice.

It's that simple. All you have to do is submit your story to Orange RockCorps and once they've approved it you can claim your reward.

Don't miss out. Tell them about your volunteering now.

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South Korea in South London

A few weeks ago we had a visit from a group of students from a think tank called The Hope Institute all the way from Seoul, South Korea. Think tanks in South Korea are predominately run by the government or private companies. 

Korean vi<img class=The Hope Institute is an independent civilian think tank that is free of government and corporate influence, providing a practical alternative for Korean society. One of the projects the students are working on is to link professional retirees with third sector organisations who could benefit from their expertise, much like our Leaders Together project which is a London-based mentoring project  linking  small charities and community groups with senior professionals from the public, private or charity sector.

Traditionally, non-govermental organisations (NGOs) and voluntary groups in South Korea were limited to organising political protests against  authoritarian regimes and providing social services for disadvantaged groups of people. As the political system shifted from an authoritarian state to a democratic state in the late 1980s,  NGOs became important in securing the democratic system and promoting political and voluntary participation.  However, compared to  Europe and the USA  participation in volunteering activities is relatively low.

The Hope Institute are driving forward volunteering hoping to transform society. It was fantastic to meet this group of vibrant young students, we were all extrememly impressed by how motivated and engaged they were. Hopefully we passed on some helpful tips to them and I wish their project every success.  And I’m loving the gold lucky pigs they left us all!

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Festival Goers Spread the Good(Wood) Word

From starting an allotment to restoring the local cinema, lots of festival goers at the recent Vintage at Goodwood festival pledged to get more involved in their communities.

Restore our cinemaCommunity gardenCockrellsAllotment

It was our job, along with our friends at thinkpublic, to get the public excited about volunteering and helping their local communities.

So in true true TimeBank style, a group of us donned some fabulous outfits, kindly lent to us for the day for free by Rokit Vintage, and volunteered ourselves to photograph and film people pledging to make a difference.

Group Shot

With the government's Big Society plans to get more people volunteering in their communities, I think this proves that people are definitely ready and willing, don't you?

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5 million ways to help

© RAFHaltonBattleBack www.lta.orgEven if you don't have £5 million to spare, you can still make a big difference to the lives of service men and women returning from conflict overseas.

There are lots of charities offering support to veterans and their families. 

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) has 90 branches across the country and is currently looking for volunteers to help with case work, fundraising, publicity, admin and IT

And the Royal British Legion needs volunteers for their Poppy Appeal across the country as well as for specific roles in London. They also need volunteer case workers to give emotional and practical advice to those in need of support.

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