Growing your volunteer programme


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Training presentation for libraries growing their Summer Reading Challenge volunteer programme in 2014

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  • Outline of what to cover in the session: SAF funding – what it includes, some rationale for growth, a practical plan which you can take away from the day. Outcomes:Support to increase numbers Support to deepen volunteer involvementIntro activity – in groups – what surprised you most about working with Creepy House young volunteers in 2013?
  • (OVERVIEW SLIDES 4-7: 20 MINS – slides 4-7)Young people are now almost twice as likely to volunteer as they were a decade ago, according to a survey published by the consultancy nfpSynergy. Young people are being excluded from the recovery as youth unemployment levels remain stubbornly high at just under 1m at 958,000. The unemployment rate for 16-to-24 year olds currently stands at 21% and around a third (32%) of 18-to-24 year olds have been out of work for over 12 months.And even if they do get a job, employers complain that young people don’t have the skills they need to keep the country economically competitive (according to the Annual CBI/Pearson Education & Skills Survey. finds England's young adults trailing the world in literacy and mathsSo free, local, accessible volunteering opportunities are essential for young people to develop their skills in a competitive environment.
  • In September, the Cabinet Office awarded a follow-on Social Action Fund grant to TRA to support libraries to make grow SRC volunteering; demonstrating the Government recognition of libraries’ social activism.The grant seeks to achieve a 40% increase in youth volunteers, with 80% of authorities involvedFocus this year on two strands: (i) Support to increase numbers (ii)Support to deepen volunteer involvementThrough the grant we hope thatSRCv will be recognised in more local authority corporate plansWe’ve secured seed funding up to £1000 which you can use however you wish to support growth; We’ll be using the grant to help broker new national partnerships with DofE, Guides, NCS which will help drive recruitment locally; Independent research on the impact of SRC volunteering by young people, not just on themselves but the children they are helping.
  • Centrally, The Reading Agency will provide training, distance support and substantial resources including volunteer packs and advocacy materials. Printed materials include Postcards and Advocacy Card for schools,partners and internally. Online resources include: (1) a schools pack of letters for teachers, presentations for plasma screens and assemblies. (2) Volunteer handbook, case studies, templates and best practice guide. (3) promotional films and case studies. In addition, an appropriate digital platform to support the volunteers will be developed further, building on the success of the Ideas Bank created for 2013.
  • We’ve also got films of young people talking about their experiences volunteering. You are welcome to embed any of these films into your websites.
  • INTRO TO PRACTICAL SESSIONS (5 MINS – 2.00-2.05)125 authorities (83% of the sector) have agreed up to 40% level of growth overall. Some authorities are aiming for 40% growth, others are committing to a smaller but still significant growth, others are sustaining high numbers. So that’s the background to 2014. The rest of this afternoon’s seminar is going to be practical – you’ll be working in groups on a Growth Development Plan which you can take away with you. It will be set within the realities of your working environment in terms of corporate priorities, staff capacity, community partnerships etc. (show the template – they will be asked to identify 3 key actions in each section)We will feed in good practice ideas from the SAF application responses we’ve received from authorities, and which we’ll be sending as a Best Practice guide after this seminar.
  • GROUP DISCUSSION & FILL IN TEMPLATE (15 MINS IN GROUPS THEN 5 MINS TO FED BACK 1 KEY POINT PER TABLE)Think about support at a corporate level, within SMT, in local branch libraries with frontline staff.
  • (GO THROUGH SLIDE FOLLOWING FEEDBACK)How are you going to get staff behind you & get all the resources you need?Win the hearts of staff. Make sure you help them to see how positive the experience of having volunteers can be. Provide evidence of the difference volunteers make, for example, the impact on staff and participating children, and the benefits for young volunteers themselves. Use evidence including quotes from staff and young people from last year’s Challenge to support your argument. Give staff the opportunity to air concerns and discuss solutions drawn from previous activity locally. A simple advocacy card or flyer can help raise awareness of the benefits among staff. However getting these staff to advocate in person is by far the most powerful way of winning hearts and mindsRoll out training locally. Design your SRC training for young volunteers so it can be delivered in local settings by local staff. You can also use the Reading Agency’s training presentation, available from the website, to up-skill staff locally. Share best practice within the authority.This helps ensure a consistent approach, as well as effective sharing of knowledge, with library staff champions cascading learning through training sessions and interactive workshops.
  • GROUP DISCUSSION AND FILL IN TEMPLATE(15 MINS IN GROUPS THEN 5 MINS TO FED BACK 1 KEY POINT PER TABLE)Think about how you will recruit through schools and fill in the Development Plan.Information is provided in the Plan about recruiting through local partners and in your library. Are there any other sources of recruitment?
  • (GO THROUGH FEEDBACK AND SHOW SLIDE)Get to know names of careers advisors and work experience coordinators in schools and work through them Post on the schools extranet Review participation levels from previous years, making personal contact with schools that are not supporting SRC, or in areas of low engagement. Make them feel part of a special push for this year.Visit school assemblies – taking last year’s volunteers with youRun a staffed promotional stallWrite directly to secondary head teachers and 6th form colleges and informing them about the opportunity to volunteer in libraries over the summerWork with teachers who are planning the school’s volunteering programmeEngage one year group firstly, e.g. Year 9, to develop ideas about how promote SRC to pupils in their feeder schools and to volunteer in their local library during the summerWork with local and regional partners who may have links with schools you haven’t traditionally got into (e.g. via the Cultural Education schools network or via regional Arts Council ‘Bridge’ organisations.
  • (TEMPLATE PRE-FILLED – PRESENT THIS SLIDE)Local authorities have a duty to involve young people as part of the government’s policy, Positive for Youth. There may be local strategic priorities for raising the participation of young people, and by feeding in SRC volunteers, you can contribute to these priorities which will support partnership working. Think about key local partners you could approach – here are a few identified by library colleagues.
  • Some ideas for recruiting in libraries (some of which you’ll already be doing):Put recruitment posters in all libraries Make use of press releases, websites and social mediaTailor the message appropriately whether you are targeting young people themselves or parentsVisit volunteering fairs, e.g. in Volunteer Week and Student Volunteering WeekBroaden the age range to work with younger volunteers (12-15 years). However make sure you have the resource in place to support younger volunteers, who may be less confident than older volunteers.Run appealing recruitment events (with appropriate refreshments) where young people can find out more about SRC volunteering in an informal atmosphere, and where you can conduct group briefings/ interviews to set up their volunteer placements. Make a short power point presentation that can be played on library plasma screens Use short films of the young volunteers talking about the benefits of volunteering to feature on library websites, plasma screens and in schoolsIn collaboration with young volunteers, develop networking opportunities to enable them to come together and learn from each other.
  • Make sure that you sell the benefits of participating to young people in terms that will be meaningful to them. Develop a clear message to show how SRC volunteering contributes towards students’ development e.g. increasing skills and confidence, or offering customer-focused work experience Use quotes/small case studies from other young peopleConsider using a variety of formats to sell your message – e.g. short films, audio clips, advocacy postersThink about how to sell the benefits to parents who might encourage their children to volunteer. Be careful not to put young people off in the process though
  • (15 MINS IN GROUPS THEN 5 MINS TO FED BACK 1 KEY POINT PER TABLE)Think about how you will develop roles and opportunitiesInformation is provided in the Plan about training and recognition, rewards and incentives
  • Give YP clear roles:Leadership roles Recruit a volunteer co-ordinator/ mentor from the target age group They can play a central role in the recruitment, training and retention of new volunteers. By acting as mentors and co-ordinators, they will be able to develop further their confidence and experience skills. They might also support staff with SRC promotional work at school assemblies in May and activities during Children’s Book Week in June. Young people who have volunteered before could also be powerful and effective peer motivators, bringing in young people they know.YP-led focus groupsConsulting young people on developing progression routes and developing the volunteer offer is a powerful way of creating a year-round youth friendly offer for your library service. Young people will know what works for other young people, and focus group members will have a chance to express their views, and gain more experience for their CV.Workshops:Stockton libraries, will offer volunteers the opportunity to run workshops with their peers, working with a freelance Creative Practitioner. This will promote ownership of an event, as well the opportunity to learn new skills. The volunteers will benefit from working with professionals, learning new skills and the experience of planning and delivering their own sessions for the future.In Calderdale MBC, the training will also include an opportunity for young people to work with the children’s librarians and an outside trainer, such as Imagination Gaming, to develop an additional activity club related to reading and language. This will offer themed activity related to the Reading Challenge, and be mentored by the children’s librarians.
  • Volunteers who have a good experience will want to come back the following year. They will also sell the opportunity to others. This means good training is needed to skill staff in looking after volunteers, making sure that accessibility issues have been considered, and ensuring enough for volunteers to do during their sessions.Provide training to empower young people to be confident advocates of books, reading and librariesIf you have lots of volunteers, agree a minimum and a maximum number for libraries so that young people and staff don’t have a poor experienceRun extra group induction sessions enabling more volunteers to feel part of a groupOrganise smaller sessions in largest libraries – making the sessions more valuable and personal and enabling staff to focus on needs. ‘Volunteers+’ – working closely with our returning volunteers to enable them to develop new skills which add value to their CVs, including opportunities to ‘buddy’ with new volunteers and model best practice.
  • Many Summer Reading Challenge volunteers are also keen to gain recognition for their volunteering directly from the library service. This provides significant motivation for participation. Recognition might include:‘Thank you’ certificatesA focus on personal outcomes for young peopleLetter for their school/ college portfolio outlining skills gained/ hours contributed Celebration events to recognise achievementSecuring an author visit from a celebrity author as a ‘thank you’ to those who pledge their time. Celebration events can also be used as sign up events, providing an opportunity for volunteers to pre-register for next year’s Summer Reading Challenge, and to learn about other regular or timed volunteering opportunities in libraries (e.g. World Book Night book giving , supporting baby bounce and rhyme sessions).Volunteers can also become part of a ‘recruitment team’, extending their volunteering role by becoming actively involved in recruiting volunteers in their current or former schools.You may find it useful to develop a form for year-round use to promote volunteer opportunities at the point of engagement with young people, and to capture their contact details .
  • Implement a prize draw for volunteers completing a requisite number of volunteering hours during the holiday period. This will encourage volunteers not only to sign up but also attend assigned sessions leading to a higher level of customer care being attained.If possible, offer small expenses for the young people (covering bus fares/ tea money/refreshments etc.) Although a small gesture, it can help the young people feel valued and appreciated for their support of the service.Partner with local providers such as cinemas, coffee shops, and leisure centresIf you want to keep your volunteers coming back as steering or planning group or similar, give them a group prize they can enjoy as a group – we found popcorn makers to be very popular with young people groups! Or offer them a book trolley dash for the library – both a thank you and a fun activity to engage them after the summer Incentives for £10-50 (recommended by YP)Cinema Vouchers. High Street Vouchers. Book Vouchers.I-tunes, clothes shops.), magazine subscriptions.Cinema tickets. Theatre tickets. Computer games. Clothing. Shoes (possibly vouchers for). Pamper day. Afternoon tea. Nail spa. Films on DVD/Blu-ray. iTunes vouchers. MP3 player. Amazon vouchers. Book tokenscandy floss machine; t-shirts that fit
  • (Template)Many of you will already be linking your SRC volunteering in with locally run accreditation schemes that young people are already part of. It pays to find out which schools/ colleges/ youth centres/ uniformed organisations and other partners are already running accreditation/ awards and actively promote to them:E.g. Guides (girls age 10-14): Baden Powell Challenge Award - SRC volunteering could contribute to the skills and relationships element of this award if young people age 10-14 organise an event or help out in the community.  Senior Section (young women aged 14-25):The Senior Section offers young women aged 14 to 26 the opportunity to develop their skills and abilities through a flexible programme of challenges, activities for personal development.  Queen's Guide Award: The most prestigious of the Girl Guiding accreditations, for 16-24 year olds. SRC volunteering could contribute to the Community Action element (one of 5 elements of this Award), which has to be unrelated to school/college/work and completed during a 12 month period. Young people record their achievement using the 'Go' achievement record. Local contact:Contact local Girl Guides Commissioners/ Unit Leaders to promote SRCv as an opportunity locally or authority-wide County Queen's Guide Coordinator.  For a list of regional offices see
  • Higher numbers of volunteers can help to sustain an experienced volunteer base, especially for recruiting volunteer champions to do outreach work on the library’s behalf Higher levels of staff involvement at an earlier stage can help embed the model for future years Support young people to set up an Ambassador group in order to sustain young volunteers’ effective involvement with the Library Service. Support staff to streamline processes & ensure best practice is shared to maximise efficiency.The use of multiple volunteer profiles can enable existing volunteers to access new roles and new volunteers will have wider choice for their time with the programme.Recognition of volunteer contribution and achievements will make young people feel valued and encourage them to stay involved for longerEvaluation enables the library service to improve the experience for future years. This can include consultation with existing volunteers in order to inform planning.Building relationships with the careers/work experience adviser in schools and the young people so that they have a good experience and are motivated to remain involved
  • (Present this slide) Incredibly generous£1m Paul Hamlyn Foundation gift to develop a new Challenge building on the success of Reading Activists work and the existing Challenge modelsAimed at 13-24sReading and volunteering based Challenge with a focus on skills acquisition and boosting their CVsNational website, local ownership linked to existing activity in your libraries
  • Evaluation:We will follow the usual format and timescales for evaluating SRC volunteering We will be in touch later in the year about the independent evaluation – which we expect to involve focus groups with a selection of authorities, led by the independent reseachers. Going out to tender in February so will know more then.
  • Growing your volunteer programme

    1. 1. Summer Reading Challenge 2014 Growing your volunteer programme
    2. 2. Today’s aims Support to increase numbers Support to deepen volunteer involvement 1. Outline of SAF funded SRC volunteering in 2014 2. Why grow your volunteering 3. Developing a growth plan: • • • • Internal advocacy Recruiting young people: key channels Supporting young people Sustaining involvement 4. Reading Activists Challenge
    3. 3. Why grow your volunteering? Group discussion: What would a bigger better SRC volunteering offer look like for you?
    4. 4. Policy landscape • Young people are now almost twice as likely to volunteer as they were a decade ago • 21% of young people are unemployed and 32% have been out of work for 12 months • National shortage in the skills the UK needs to remain competitive and grow • England ranked 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries
    5. 5. 2014: a step-change year • • • • • • • Cabinet Office Social Action Fund grant Government recognition of libraries’ social activism 40% increase in youth volunteers, 80% of authorities SRCv recognised in local authority corporate plans Funding to support authorities deliver the growth Brokering national partnerships Independent research
    6. 6. Resources and support Support to increase numbers Support to deepen volunteer involvement • Training and distance support • Advocacy and recruitment resources • • • • • Post card Advocacy cards Schools pack Volunteer handbook, case studies and best practice guides Promotional films • Volunteer pack • T-shirt, badge, volunteer booklet and log, Certificate • Digital platform
    7. 7. Achieving the growth Developing your SRC volunteering growth plan: Internal advocacy Recruiting young people Supporting young people Sustaining youth volunteering
    8. 8. SRC volunteering growth plan: Internal advocacy Discussion: • How will you achieve support for growth internally?
    9. 9. Internal advocacy Win the hearts of staff Roll out training locally Share best practice
    10. 10. SRC volunteering growth plan: Recruiting young people Discussion: • How will you increase the effectiveness of your youth recruitment? • • • • Schools Local partners In your library Any others?
    11. 11. Recruitment: Schools and colleges • • • • • • • • Use careers advisors Schools extranet Review previous participation levels Visit school assemblies Run a staffed promotional stall Write to head teachers Work with school volunteer leads Focus on a year group (e.g. Year 9)
    12. 12. Recruitment: Local partners Children in care Home educated networks Duke of Edinburgh Award Young People’s Well-being Action Group Guides and Scouts, possibly tying in with their badge schemes. Community student action groups at universities Young mums in partnership with Sure Start Sixth Form Colleges Local Voluntary Development Agency Traveller communities by working with local youth centres The Challenge Network (National Citizen Service) Youth Offending Team MyPlace Urban Futures InTo University programmes Youth Service Council apprenticeships The Princes Trust Education departments of universities (for education undergraduates to build a portfolio of practical experience.)
    13. 13. Recruitment: libraries • • • • • • • • Contact previous volunteers Encourage all staff to engage Encourage work experience students Tailor the message appropriately Work with younger volunteers Run appealing recruitment events Develop volunteer networking events Use short films
    14. 14. Sell the message to young people • Make it meaningful • Show how it adds to CVs • Use peer quotes/ case studies • Use films, audio, posters • Sell the benefits to parents
    15. 15. SRC volunteering growth plan: Supporting young people Discussion: • How will you improve the quality of your offer to young people? • Developing roles and opportunities • Training • Recognition, rewards, incentives
    16. 16. Developing roles and opportunities Clear roles Leadership roles Focus groups Workshops/skills sessions
    17. 17. Training for young people • Empower them to be confident advocates • Agree minimum and maximum number • Organise small sessions in largest libraries • Add value for returning volunteers
    18. 18. Recognition ‘Thank you’ certificates Celebration events to recognise achievement Letter for their school/ college Secure an author visit
    19. 19. Rewards and Incentives Prize draw for volunteers Offer small expenses Local partner providers Group prizes
    20. 20. Accreditation • Guides (10-14): Baden Powell Challenge, badges • Senior Section (14-25): badges and activities • Queen's Guide Award (16-24) – “Community Action” element of 12 month Award. • Girls use the 'Go' achievement record • Contact local Commissioners/ Unit Leaders or County Queen's Guide Coordinator. Other: Scouts (Explorer/ Network/ Queens Scouts) DofE (‘Volunteering’ element)
    21. 21. SRC volunteering growth plan: Sustaining youth volunteering Discussion: • How will you sustain youth involvement in your library after the summer?
    22. 22. Sustaining beyond the summer • Recruit volunteer champions for outreach • Involve staff in after-Challenge planning • Support volunteers to set up an Ambassador group • Involve volunteers in service planning • Build relationships with school careers/work experience adviser
    23. 23. Reading Activists Challenge • £1m Paul Hamlyn gift • Aimed at 13-24s • Reading and volunteering with a focus on skills • National website, local ownership linked to existing activity
    24. 24. Next steps • After this training • Evaluation
    25. 25. Contact details