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We’ve added a list below of commonly asked questions we get from organisations wanting to recruit volunteers for the first time. This will be updated on a continuous basis with answers to the most common questions we get asked. If you don’t find the answer to your question in the below then please feel free to get in touch via our Contact Us page.
If you have any volunteer tasks that can be done safely from home that is a good way to keep your volunteers engaged.
If you have volunteers who are keen to support and be a part of the COVID-19 response efforts, please direct them to speak to us. We have many opportunities through which they can volunteer, including for those who are self-isolating and can’t leave their homes. Having something to do and feeling useful is important for mental health.
Here are some ideas of things they can do to stay involved:
- Proofreading of documents.
- Undertake free online training for something that will be useful when things return to normal.
- Support with social media and writing blogs.
- Researching advice, resources and positive things to share during the current crisis.
- Film themselves providing training for a skill – for example cooking, home-based exercise and basic DIY.
- Film themselves talking about the value of being a volunteer and ask others who can volunteer to give their time.
- Contacting service users (if appropriate) to inform them about service updates.
If your volunteers don’t use the internet or are not tech savvy, they could:
- Write about being a volunteer and encouraging others to volunteer.
- Come up with ideas for future fundraisers, trips, activities etc when things go back to normal.
- Write thank you cards (obeying hygiene precautions) for funders or people volunteering now.
- If they have been volunteering for a long time, they could write an oral history of the organisation and how things have changed. This could be posted on the website.
Volunteering with other organisations
- Advise them to contact Volunteering Barnet and we will try and find the right role for them.
If you have remote volunteers:
- Be sure to check in regularly with your existing volunteers to see how they are doing. Try to remember any birthdays or special occasions. Some of them may be feeling isolated.
- Think about setting up a social platform on WhatsApp or Facebook for your volunteers to keep in touch with each other.
- You could even think about a check-in-and-chat scheme where your staff and volunteers check in with one another regularly. To do this just ask your volunteers if they are willing to share their name and telephone number with another person in the group. Then buddy people together so everyone gets and gives at least one call. Encourage everyone to agree to a frequency and length of call – for example, they might like to call each other on the same day and time as they usually volunteer and they can take it in turns to call so that they share the phone-call costs.
Further guidance on check-in-and-chat volunteering from the Royal Voluntary Service can be found here.
Many community groups and local organisations are stretched at the moment. Volunteering Barnet can offer help, support and advice.
There are lots of volunteers across the borough willing to support charities and community groups during this time. If you want to recruit volunteers into a role, please upload your role to our volunteering platform Team Kinetic and we will promote this to our pool of existing volunteers. You will need to register as an organisation on Team Kinetic to do this, please get in touch if you need any support.
The government has said people can still go to workplaces if they cannot work from home. This includes if you need to go somewhere to volunteer. However, this should only be the case if you cannot volunteer from home.
Many organisations have had to close their service to help combat the spread of coronavirus e.g. charity shops. However, organisations will still be open as they are providing frontline support to those in need, for example, care homes, homeless shelters and food banks, and alternative remote services.
If your volunteers can complete their volunteer activity from home, please allow them to do so.
If your organisation is still running and you’re asking volunteers to come in make sure to:
- advise volunteer to stay at least two metres away from others
- provide handwashing facilities or PPE such as face masks and gloves
- make sure your volunteers understand they should self-isolate if they or someone in their household becomes unwell
- avoid asking volunteers to travel unnecessarily by public transport
- ensure volunteers don’t feel pressured to continue if they want to pause or stop volunteering
Anyone can set up a group and it’s great that people are doing so however there are responsibilities that need to be considered. This includes having a good understanding of safeguarding. Please have a look at our resource bank for useful guidelines and templates. NCVO also has lots of free tools and resources that you may find useful. If you would like more advice on setting up a neighbourhood volunteer initiative safely please get in touch to arrange a call with a member of our team.
Yes of course! It’s great you are offering your support to the local community and we would be happy to give you advice. Please fill out this form or email us at email@example.com. We will then discuss the best way to support you.
We also have lots of resources that you may find useful in our Resource Bank. The most important thing to consider is the safety of your volunteers and those you are helping so please read our guidelines on Safeguarding and Best Practice.
Any organisation, including newly formed groups, using or holding personal information (data) about a living individual is responsible for that data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
As a volunteer or group of volunteers coming together informally, the data protection legislation should not prevent the work you are doing as long as you do the following things:
● Let people know what information you propose to hold on them and what you will do with it. Only collect and store information that you actually need to carry out the volunteering activity. Don’t ask for any information “just in case”.
● Take care of information about other people. Don’t share what you have with anyone who does not need to see it, including chatting with other groups members.
● Keep a record of what you do with it. Don’t leave the information on bits of paper or any device that others can see. Lock it away or keep it in a password protected file.
● Don’t do anything with it that you have not said you will be doing.
● Don’t store the information for longer than you need. If someone leaves your group, delete their details.
For more details, the Information Commissioners Office has created a useful blog about Data Protection for COVID-19 volunteer groups.
Only one email address can have access to an organisation’s account, in order to edit volunteer roles and contact volunteers. We suggest using a general organisation email address to create your account.
If your email is the one associated with the account and you know the email address associated with the account, click the Forgotten Password button.
If your email is not the one associated with the account, but you do not know the email address, please contact us – you can find our contact details here
Posting New Opportunities
Once your account has been approved by Volunteering Barnet, you can create and add new volunteering opportunities. Just simply sign into your account and click on add opportunity.
Key details to include:
- Opportunity Name – Brief title – Include the name of the activity and role e.g. Fun Run Volunteer Marshall
- Opportunity Description – Be descriptive – Give as much information about the role as possible, remember you are also trying to entice people to volunteer so make it sound fun and interesting.
- Benefits & Perks – Something to say ‘thank you’ to the volunteers. Tea and coffee provided throughout, a lunch or opportunities for volunteer training.
- Skills Required – Skills that will help the volunteer get the best from this opportunity. If skills are needed offer to provide any additional or specialist training to volunteers before they begin– this could be one of the added benefits and perks
- Main Category – From the drop-down menu what most describes the role.
- Activity Tags – Words you want to be associated to your opportunity e.g. if it was an admin role the tags could be: Admin, office, IT.
- Is the opportunity accessible?
- Opportunity part of a larger event – Do you have an event that requires many different roles and is this opportunity part of it? If yes, then choose yes from the drop-down menu and you will be able to put all opportunities related to that event onto one page. If it is a one-off opportunity then choose no.
If you have one role available in multiple locations across one borough:
- 1) Please do not tick Multiple Locations.
- 2) Use a central borough postcode, and list the various locations in the directions box.
If you don’t have a postcode where the opportunity specifically takes place:
- 1) Use a central borough postcode
- 2) OR use the postcode of a nearby tube station.
- This ensures that the opportunity will appear in the relevant search results for volunteers who are looking for opportunities.
If you tick “Multiple Locations”, it means your role will appear in searched across the whole of London. Therefore, we will only approve roles which have the “Multiple Locations” box ticked if they are truly available in all London boroughs.
You can be included in the Star Opportunities fortnightly bulletin. This goes out to all of our registered volunteers via email.
- We can promote your role on Facebook and Twitter
- Send us direct application forms for the role and we’ll bring them along to outreach and drop-ins, and then scan and send any applications to you.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 365 9960
If an opportunity is set to APPLYING then volunteers must apply and be approved by the provider before they are on the opportunity.
When a volunteer applies for an opportunity, the provider assesses them and if they are approved then they will be moved from the applicants list to the volunteers list. Volunteers can then be assigned to a session on the opportunity.
Recruiting and Contacting Volunteers
If you know a volunteer who is interested in the role, whether they are registered with Volunteering Barnet or not, you can invite them to apply.
Go to ‘Manage Volunteers’ and select ‘Invite Volunteers’ you can then type their email in manually separated by ‘,’ or upload a list of email addresses on a CSV file. Just make sure all the emails are on separate lines. They will receive an email asking them to apply; you can re-invite them again in future.
You’ll receive an automated email to the email address your account is registered with.
You can see who has applied by logging into your account, go to the opportunity, on the left-hand side click ‘Volunteers’ you will then see a list of all the volunteers who have applied for that opportunity. You can click on the volunteer to view their profile as well as emailing the volunteer directly through the website.
Make sure you log in regularly anyway in case these emails go into your junk or spam folders by mistake.
These volunteers have applied to volunteer with your organisation, it is now up to you to contact them to progress their application, this may be inviting them to have a quick phone conversation about the role, or asking them to complete an application form.
You can see who has applied by logging into your account, go to the opportunity, on the left-hand side click ‘Volunteers’ you will then see a list of all the volunteers who have applied for that opportunity.
If you requested information on their skills and experience hopefully they will have included a short message, but no worries if not. You can view their profile and decide if you want to progress their application. Either way, it’s best practice to let volunteers know the status of their application and why you won’t be taking the application further.
Simply click on the name of the volunteer, click on the three dots on the right-hand side of the page and click on the envelope to write them a message. It is strongly advised you include in here your own organisation contact details.
We are very happy to follow up any unresponsive volunteers.
Call us on 0300 365 9960, let us know the volunteer names and the role they applied for, we’ll call them and get back to you.
Even if you don’t think a volunteer who is interested is the right fit for your team, we strongly encourage organisations to let the volunteer know. They will most likely be waiting to hear back from you, so please always politely inform volunteers of your decision. This is always considered best practice.
You can then dissociate the volunteer from the opportunity online.
- 1. Login, and go to the opportunity
- 2. Click on the Volunteers tab on the left-hand side
- 3. Find the volunteer from the list of names, click the three dots on the right-hand side and select Remove From Opportunity
Volunteering Barnet is the service we offer in the Borough of Barnet supporting both volunteers and organisations on their volunteering journey.
Team Kinetic is the database where registered organisations can upload opportunities and volunteers can search and apply for opportunities.
As a Volunteer Centre, we only promote volunteering roles. When recruiting volunteers, it is important to ensure your role is appropriate for a volunteer. Remember, if you give the volunteer indication that the role is a job, they will be able to ask you for a wage.
If you are unsure then please speak to our team on 0300 365 9960