Creating a social and
economic impact through
harnessing a blended
volunteering approach

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Doing good. Together.

Volunteer Makers helps charities, community and arts and heritage organisations to expand their volunteer engagement and create new and wider connections with their supporter communities, by blending volunteering with public participation through digital engagement.

Volunteer Makers provides training and consultancy in volunteering strategy along with digital tools.  Our workshops and consultancy have helped organisations to grow larger pools of supporters linking to increased volunteering and sign-ups.

The Volunteer Makers approach opens up volunteering to a new audience while delivering measurable value for organisations and the people who support them.

Pioneering Volunteer Makers – 21st Century Volunteering

Find out more about our ACE supported programme from those involved, and how we can work with you too.

Try Volunteer Makers Now

Volunteer Makers provides training and consultancy in volunteering strategy along with digital tools.  Our workshops and consultancy have helped organisations to grow larger pools of supporters linking to increased volunteering and volunteer sign-ups.

We can devise and deliver a training programme for your network or organisation. Our training ranges from workshops for individual organisations to national sector-based training programmes.

The Digital Platform

The Volunteer Makers’ web platform is a powerful tool for managing your volunteering – blending micro-volunteering with digital engagement and volunteer support.

Our platform has valuable functionality – it allows you to match the needs of your organisation to the skills and interests of your supporters, letting people support you in a way that that suits them and directly helps you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about Volunteer Makers including:

  • Who is it suitable for?
  • How does it work with your existing volunteers?
  • Why should you use it?

Our Volunteer Makers Pioneers

From 2016-2018 we worked with more than 60 museums across England, delivering Volunteer Makers training and the Volunteer Makers platform.

This national programme, supported by Arts Council England, helped our pioneer museum partners deliver measurable improvements in volunteer engagement and opened up opportunities for new volunteers.

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What you are saying about the Volunteer Makers model

I would just like to thank you for delivering our wonderful training and for taking the time to travel down to Portsmouth and inspire us with Volunteer Makers.

Thanks again for your training and support- we are all excited about the future of volunteering and the new direction we will soon be travelling in.

Kirsty KinnairdNational Museum of the Royal Navy

“We know that people still want to give their time to volunteer, but also that that time needs to give something back. Museums need to offer more than just operations or events. They need to offer support, interaction and sustainability across the range of their activities.

“Volunteer Makers offers an intelligent answer to this problem. The app in particular not only makes it easier for people to find out how they can help, but addresses their interests or availability so that everybody wins. It’s volunteering for the modern world. And it’s going to have massive benefits in communities across the country.”

John Orna-OrnsteinFormer Director of Museums, Arts Council England

Everyone was buzzing and excited after the session, and I can honestly say I have never had such heartfelt positive feedback about a change of system before!

Jessica Hartshorn Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

“Introducing Volunteer Makers has seen a wider demographic of people sign up with interest to volunteer with the museum.  Age ranges have become much more balanced across the board. Interest from non-visiting community groups has doubled which is amazing!  We are excited to continue to harness the power of this digital technology, to continue to offer a broad range of opportunities and better reflect the diverse community in Hackney”

Fran RiandoGeffrye Museum of the Home

Before You Launch – Consider These 5 Tips

Here at Volunteer Makers we are always looking for ways to improve the success of our pioneers in engaging with volunteers and supporters in flexible and inspiring ways. Here are our top tips to consider before launch.

Tip 1
Think strategically about why you want to use Volunteer Makers to engage with your supporters. Is it a way of opening up new opportunities to regular volunteers? Do you want to encourage new and different types of supporters to join you? Do you want to offer flexible opportunities? Do you want supporters to help deliver a business objective (e.g. a redevelopment)?
Thinking about challenges including micro ones has completely made us rethink how we use volunteers. Before we were in a situation where we would recruit volunteers and think how we would use them. Now we look at the programme coming up and think about how to use volunteers on and off site. Fundamental shift for us” (Amanda, Corinium Museum)
The answers to this question will help shape your plan…

Tip 2
Devise and work to an action plan, including how to roll out Volunteer Makers and how to work together. Name people in the plan! Make it SMART.
Claire helped us to set an action plan during the workshop with a vision and aims. This, so far, has enabled the project to move forward. [We have] regular group meetings looking at our progress and working with the team and our current volunteers to overcome any challenges. Our officers are setting challenges, front of house staff are selling Volunteer Makers, volunteers are currently testing it. Everyone plays a part” (Jess, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum)
This plan must embed working organisation-wide…

Tip 3
Engage leadership in championing Volunteer Makers as part of your strategic engagement objectives. Get buy in across the whole organisation. An organisation-wide engagement culture helps to mitigate changes in staff that can impact roll out. Work across the whole organisation (including volunteers) to provide inspiring, flexible challenges that help deliver the organisation’s business need, understanding that almost anything can be framed as volunteering, engagement or support of your organisation.
Getting the whole organisation involved at all levels has been really important. Planning multiple opportunities for people to get involved and think about what aspects of Volunteer Makers might appeal to the motivations of different teams” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And for this to happen you need to set aside time…

Tip 4
Make sure you commit the time, and are supported to do that, to make rolling out and developing Volunteer Makers a success. Although Volunteer Makers doesn’t replace your approach or existing volunteer programmes, you do need time to make it as effective as possible in engaging your audience.
We have tried to work collaboratively across the organisation; in practical terms this has meant having a clear idea of time scale and key outcomes at different stages [which] has been really vital. This has helped to make sure that people have the information they need to contribute to decisions, reflect and feedback at each stage, whilst planning time to act on feedback where possible. We used a simple table to help keep track of this which allowed us to adjust the plan as needed” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And effective engagement means engaging digitally too…

Tip 5
How you are going to communicate your challenges is as important as coming up with them in the first place. Ensuring those responsible for marketing/social media are part of your organisation-wide buy in is essential. Engaging digitally is key, and you need to be social (e.g. a blog, social media) if you are going to diversify your volunteers and reach a broader range of people.

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

What Makes a Good Challenge Great?

Here’s something to ponder – what makes some Volunteer Makers’ challenges stand out from the crowd, while others fade away? Why do some pull you in while others have the opposite effect? In an attempt to answer that question, I’ve been delving into our pioneers’ platforms and have distilled my answer into 5 top tips.

Tip 1
Be humorous, and if you can’t be humorous give your challenge some personality – Volunteer Makers doesn’t need to be too formal, taking as it does its cues from social digital – where people come together on digital platforms. This translates well to engaging on social media, which is where you need to be talking about your opportunities to diversify your volunteers.
Tip 2
Give a compelling or inspiring reason to get involved. Why should they do this challenge? It might be because it helps deliver your cause – one they can get behind. Or it could be access to ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities.
Tip 3
Be specific in what you are asking people to do and ensure it’s appropriate for the time category. If people are looking for an hour or two, then let them see it can be done!
Tip 4
Appeal to a broad range of skills and interests in your challenges by thinking laterally. This too will help to diversify your volunteers and engage more people.
Tip 5
Make the whole experience frictionless for your volunteers. You’ve led them this far, don’t fall at the last hurdle by adding extra layers. Volunteer Makers captures your volunteer data and preferences on sign up, so get them to sign up/sign in, be clear about what will happen next and let them get on with completing the challenge!

Summary
So how does this look in practice?

http://museumofoxford.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/spread-the-word/7/
• This challenge uses humour (‘help us change this sorry state of affairs!’)
• It gives a good reason to get involved (‘the more people we have attending our events and visiting, the better reason to develop the museum’)
• It’s specific and would fit in the one-two hours slot (‘Drop off 20 leaflets with a local café, take 10 to your local library or give a leaflet to a friend!’)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (‘Sign up here, get an email from the Museum Team and simply arrange a time to pick up some leaflets. We will discuss with you where you intend to distribute them so there aren’t any wasted journeys.’)

http://southamptonartsandheritage.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/clock-tower-tour-assistant/11/
• This challenge is specific and timebound (‘The tours last an hour, start at reception and run at 10:30 and 11:30am. You’ll be required to climb 215 steps for each tour and to help ensure that the group stays together’).
• It’s intriguing (‘get a behind the scenes look at one of Southampton’s most iconic buildings’).
• It has some lateral thinking in the Skills and Interests that could appeal to a broad range of people (e.g. Conservation, Event Stewarding, Architecture and Building Management, Visitor Services)

http://snappingthestiletto.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/give-a-day/uncover-katherine-mina-courtauldas-involvement-in-the-suffragette-movement/38/
• This challenge is specific (‘Uncover Katherine Mina Courtauld’s involvement in the Suffragette Movement’)
• It’s inspiring (they’ve provided enough history to motivate you)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (Sign in/sign up, accept the challenge and ‘Visit the Essex Record Office to search for information and email Claire Willetts at Braintree Museum with anything that you uncover’)

Have you seen or created any challenges that are great, not just good? If so, share them with @volunteermakers

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

Meetings – and the Mersey: Volunteer Makers summer schedule

Hot sun was matched by hot demand for Volunteer Makers blend of micro-volunteering and digital engagement.

Love Falmouth Volunteer Makers have been spreading the word at Cornwall’s Brilliant Things conference.

Tamsin Bough and Sarah Scot, of Falmouth Art Gallery, spoke to the meeting on growing relationships with volunteers.

The conference – organised by the Cornish Museum Partnership – heard how Love Falmouth Volunteers (a partnership of cultural organisations led by Falmouth Art Gallery) use of the Volunteer Makers platform has not only brought new supporters to its members, but strengthened institutions’ links with the local community.

Early July saw a regular event in the VM calendar: attendance at the South West Fed’s annual conference in Exeter.

Volunteer Makers were among the sponsors of the event and had a trade stand at it. VM founder Claire Sully also gave a presentation on the VM concept to delegates.

South Wed Fed is a community of independent heritage organisations throughout South West England.

Claire Sully said: “Volunteer Makers, as an Arts Council England supported programme, first got lift off at the South West Fed Conference 2015 after a networking chat.

“We’re now working with over 70 organisations and love returning to where it all began, starting new conversations to see where they might take us next.”

One place they took Claire was from the south-west to the north-west, with a visit to Liverpool for the latest in Volunteer Makers’ rolling programme of training workshops.

Volunteer Makers worked with University of Liverpool Museums & Galleries to spread the word on how its digital and blended volunteering approach can manage, evaluate and enhance working with volunteers and supporters.

The group includes a quirky museum and well-regarded gallery in the Victoria Building – an architectural icon in itself, as well as a world-class museum of archaeology at Garstang.

Before You Launch – Consider These 5 Tips

Here at Volunteer Makers we are always looking for ways to improve the success of our pioneers in engaging with volunteers and supporters in flexible and inspiring ways. Here are our top tips to consider before launch.

Tip 1
Think strategically about why you want to use Volunteer Makers to engage with your supporters. Is it a way of opening up new opportunities to regular volunteers? Do you want to encourage new and different types of supporters to join you? Do you want to offer flexible opportunities? Do you want supporters to help deliver a business objective (e.g. a redevelopment)?
Thinking about challenges including micro ones has completely made us rethink how we use volunteers. Before we were in a situation where we would recruit volunteers and think how we would use them. Now we look at the programme coming up and think about how to use volunteers on and off site. Fundamental shift for us” (Amanda, Corinium Museum)
The answers to this question will help shape your plan…

Tip 2
Devise and work to an action plan, including how to roll out Volunteer Makers and how to work together. Name people in the plan! Make it SMART.
Claire helped us to set an action plan during the workshop with a vision and aims. This, so far, has enabled the project to move forward. [We have] regular group meetings looking at our progress and working with the team and our current volunteers to overcome any challenges. Our officers are setting challenges, front of house staff are selling Volunteer Makers, volunteers are currently testing it. Everyone plays a part” (Jess, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum)
This plan must embed working organisation-wide…

Tip 3
Engage leadership in championing Volunteer Makers as part of your strategic engagement objectives. Get buy in across the whole organisation. An organisation-wide engagement culture helps to mitigate changes in staff that can impact roll out. Work across the whole organisation (including volunteers) to provide inspiring, flexible challenges that help deliver the organisation’s business need, understanding that almost anything can be framed as volunteering, engagement or support of your organisation.
Getting the whole organisation involved at all levels has been really important. Planning multiple opportunities for people to get involved and think about what aspects of Volunteer Makers might appeal to the motivations of different teams” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And for this to happen you need to set aside time…

Tip 4
Make sure you commit the time, and are supported to do that, to make rolling out and developing Volunteer Makers a success. Although Volunteer Makers doesn’t replace your approach or existing volunteer programmes, you do need time to make it as effective as possible in engaging your audience.
We have tried to work collaboratively across the organisation; in practical terms this has meant having a clear idea of time scale and key outcomes at different stages [which] has been really vital. This has helped to make sure that people have the information they need to contribute to decisions, reflect and feedback at each stage, whilst planning time to act on feedback where possible. We used a simple table to help keep track of this which allowed us to adjust the plan as needed” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And effective engagement means engaging digitally too…

Tip 5
How you are going to communicate your challenges is as important as coming up with them in the first place. Ensuring those responsible for marketing/social media are part of your organisation-wide buy in is essential. Engaging digitally is key, and you need to be social (e.g. a blog, social media) if you are going to diversify your volunteers and reach a broader range of people.

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

What Makes a Good Challenge Great?

Here’s something to ponder – what makes some Volunteer Makers’ challenges stand out from the crowd, while others fade away? Why do some pull you in while others have the opposite effect? In an attempt to answer that question, I’ve been delving into our pioneers’ platforms and have distilled my answer into 5 top tips.

Tip 1
Be humorous, and if you can’t be humorous give your challenge some personality – Volunteer Makers doesn’t need to be too formal, taking as it does its cues from social digital – where people come together on digital platforms. This translates well to engaging on social media, which is where you need to be talking about your opportunities to diversify your volunteers.
Tip 2
Give a compelling or inspiring reason to get involved. Why should they do this challenge? It might be because it helps deliver your cause – one they can get behind. Or it could be access to ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities.
Tip 3
Be specific in what you are asking people to do and ensure it’s appropriate for the time category. If people are looking for an hour or two, then let them see it can be done!
Tip 4
Appeal to a broad range of skills and interests in your challenges by thinking laterally. This too will help to diversify your volunteers and engage more people.
Tip 5
Make the whole experience frictionless for your volunteers. You’ve led them this far, don’t fall at the last hurdle by adding extra layers. Volunteer Makers captures your volunteer data and preferences on sign up, so get them to sign up/sign in, be clear about what will happen next and let them get on with completing the challenge!

Summary
So how does this look in practice?

http://museumofoxford.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/spread-the-word/7/
• This challenge uses humour (‘help us change this sorry state of affairs!’)
• It gives a good reason to get involved (‘the more people we have attending our events and visiting, the better reason to develop the museum’)
• It’s specific and would fit in the one-two hours slot (‘Drop off 20 leaflets with a local café, take 10 to your local library or give a leaflet to a friend!’)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (‘Sign up here, get an email from the Museum Team and simply arrange a time to pick up some leaflets. We will discuss with you where you intend to distribute them so there aren’t any wasted journeys.’)

http://southamptonartsandheritage.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/clock-tower-tour-assistant/11/
• This challenge is specific and timebound (‘The tours last an hour, start at reception and run at 10:30 and 11:30am. You’ll be required to climb 215 steps for each tour and to help ensure that the group stays together’).
• It’s intriguing (‘get a behind the scenes look at one of Southampton’s most iconic buildings’).
• It has some lateral thinking in the Skills and Interests that could appeal to a broad range of people (e.g. Conservation, Event Stewarding, Architecture and Building Management, Visitor Services)

http://snappingthestiletto.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/give-a-day/uncover-katherine-mina-courtauldas-involvement-in-the-suffragette-movement/38/
• This challenge is specific (‘Uncover Katherine Mina Courtauld’s involvement in the Suffragette Movement’)
• It’s inspiring (they’ve provided enough history to motivate you)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (Sign in/sign up, accept the challenge and ‘Visit the Essex Record Office to search for information and email Claire Willetts at Braintree Museum with anything that you uncover’)

Have you seen or created any challenges that are great, not just good? If so, share them with @volunteermakers

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

Meetings – and the Mersey: Volunteer Makers summer schedule

Hot sun was matched by hot demand for Volunteer Makers blend of micro-volunteering and digital engagement.

Love Falmouth Volunteer Makers have been spreading the word at Cornwall’s Brilliant Things conference.

Tamsin Bough and Sarah Scot, of Falmouth Art Gallery, spoke to the meeting on growing relationships with volunteers.

The conference – organised by the Cornish Museum Partnership – heard how Love Falmouth Volunteers (a partnership of cultural organisations led by Falmouth Art Gallery) use of the Volunteer Makers platform has not only brought new supporters to its members, but strengthened institutions’ links with the local community.

Early July saw a regular event in the VM calendar: attendance at the South West Fed’s annual conference in Exeter.

Volunteer Makers were among the sponsors of the event and had a trade stand at it. VM founder Claire Sully also gave a presentation on the VM concept to delegates.

South Wed Fed is a community of independent heritage organisations throughout South West England.

Claire Sully said: “Volunteer Makers, as an Arts Council England supported programme, first got lift off at the South West Fed Conference 2015 after a networking chat.

“We’re now working with over 70 organisations and love returning to where it all began, starting new conversations to see where they might take us next.”

One place they took Claire was from the south-west to the north-west, with a visit to Liverpool for the latest in Volunteer Makers’ rolling programme of training workshops.

Volunteer Makers worked with University of Liverpool Museums & Galleries to spread the word on how its digital and blended volunteering approach can manage, evaluate and enhance working with volunteers and supporters.

The group includes a quirky museum and well-regarded gallery in the Victoria Building – an architectural icon in itself, as well as a world-class museum of archaeology at Garstang.

Before You Launch – Consider These 5 Tips

Here at Volunteer Makers we are always looking for ways to improve the success of our pioneers in engaging with volunteers and supporters in flexible and inspiring ways. Here are our top tips to consider before launch.

Tip 1
Think strategically about why you want to use Volunteer Makers to engage with your supporters. Is it a way of opening up new opportunities to regular volunteers? Do you want to encourage new and different types of supporters to join you? Do you want to offer flexible opportunities? Do you want supporters to help deliver a business objective (e.g. a redevelopment)?
Thinking about challenges including micro ones has completely made us rethink how we use volunteers. Before we were in a situation where we would recruit volunteers and think how we would use them. Now we look at the programme coming up and think about how to use volunteers on and off site. Fundamental shift for us” (Amanda, Corinium Museum)
The answers to this question will help shape your plan…

Tip 2
Devise and work to an action plan, including how to roll out Volunteer Makers and how to work together. Name people in the plan! Make it SMART.
Claire helped us to set an action plan during the workshop with a vision and aims. This, so far, has enabled the project to move forward. [We have] regular group meetings looking at our progress and working with the team and our current volunteers to overcome any challenges. Our officers are setting challenges, front of house staff are selling Volunteer Makers, volunteers are currently testing it. Everyone plays a part” (Jess, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum)
This plan must embed working organisation-wide…

Tip 3
Engage leadership in championing Volunteer Makers as part of your strategic engagement objectives. Get buy in across the whole organisation. An organisation-wide engagement culture helps to mitigate changes in staff that can impact roll out. Work across the whole organisation (including volunteers) to provide inspiring, flexible challenges that help deliver the organisation’s business need, understanding that almost anything can be framed as volunteering, engagement or support of your organisation.
Getting the whole organisation involved at all levels has been really important. Planning multiple opportunities for people to get involved and think about what aspects of Volunteer Makers might appeal to the motivations of different teams” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And for this to happen you need to set aside time…

Tip 4
Make sure you commit the time, and are supported to do that, to make rolling out and developing Volunteer Makers a success. Although Volunteer Makers doesn’t replace your approach or existing volunteer programmes, you do need time to make it as effective as possible in engaging your audience.
We have tried to work collaboratively across the organisation; in practical terms this has meant having a clear idea of time scale and key outcomes at different stages [which] has been really vital. This has helped to make sure that people have the information they need to contribute to decisions, reflect and feedback at each stage, whilst planning time to act on feedback where possible. We used a simple table to help keep track of this which allowed us to adjust the plan as needed” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And effective engagement means engaging digitally too…

Tip 5
How you are going to communicate your challenges is as important as coming up with them in the first place. Ensuring those responsible for marketing/social media are part of your organisation-wide buy in is essential. Engaging digitally is key, and you need to be social (e.g. a blog, social media) if you are going to diversify your volunteers and reach a broader range of people.

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

What Makes a Good Challenge Great?

Here’s something to ponder – what makes some Volunteer Makers’ challenges stand out from the crowd, while others fade away? Why do some pull you in while others have the opposite effect? In an attempt to answer that question, I’ve been delving into our pioneers’ platforms and have distilled my answer into 5 top tips.

Tip 1
Be humorous, and if you can’t be humorous give your challenge some personality – Volunteer Makers doesn’t need to be too formal, taking as it does its cues from social digital – where people come together on digital platforms. This translates well to engaging on social media, which is where you need to be talking about your opportunities to diversify your volunteers.
Tip 2
Give a compelling or inspiring reason to get involved. Why should they do this challenge? It might be because it helps deliver your cause – one they can get behind. Or it could be access to ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities.
Tip 3
Be specific in what you are asking people to do and ensure it’s appropriate for the time category. If people are looking for an hour or two, then let them see it can be done!
Tip 4
Appeal to a broad range of skills and interests in your challenges by thinking laterally. This too will help to diversify your volunteers and engage more people.
Tip 5
Make the whole experience frictionless for your volunteers. You’ve led them this far, don’t fall at the last hurdle by adding extra layers. Volunteer Makers captures your volunteer data and preferences on sign up, so get them to sign up/sign in, be clear about what will happen next and let them get on with completing the challenge!

Summary
So how does this look in practice?

http://museumofoxford.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/spread-the-word/7/
• This challenge uses humour (‘help us change this sorry state of affairs!’)
• It gives a good reason to get involved (‘the more people we have attending our events and visiting, the better reason to develop the museum’)
• It’s specific and would fit in the one-two hours slot (‘Drop off 20 leaflets with a local café, take 10 to your local library or give a leaflet to a friend!’)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (‘Sign up here, get an email from the Museum Team and simply arrange a time to pick up some leaflets. We will discuss with you where you intend to distribute them so there aren’t any wasted journeys.’)

http://southamptonartsandheritage.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/clock-tower-tour-assistant/11/
• This challenge is specific and timebound (‘The tours last an hour, start at reception and run at 10:30 and 11:30am. You’ll be required to climb 215 steps for each tour and to help ensure that the group stays together’).
• It’s intriguing (‘get a behind the scenes look at one of Southampton’s most iconic buildings’).
• It has some lateral thinking in the Skills and Interests that could appeal to a broad range of people (e.g. Conservation, Event Stewarding, Architecture and Building Management, Visitor Services)

http://snappingthestiletto.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/give-a-day/uncover-katherine-mina-courtauldas-involvement-in-the-suffragette-movement/38/
• This challenge is specific (‘Uncover Katherine Mina Courtauld’s involvement in the Suffragette Movement’)
• It’s inspiring (they’ve provided enough history to motivate you)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (Sign in/sign up, accept the challenge and ‘Visit the Essex Record Office to search for information and email Claire Willetts at Braintree Museum with anything that you uncover’)

Have you seen or created any challenges that are great, not just good? If so, share them with @volunteermakers

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

Meetings – and the Mersey: Volunteer Makers summer schedule

Hot sun was matched by hot demand for Volunteer Makers blend of micro-volunteering and digital engagement.

Love Falmouth Volunteer Makers have been spreading the word at Cornwall’s Brilliant Things conference.

Tamsin Bough and Sarah Scot, of Falmouth Art Gallery, spoke to the meeting on growing relationships with volunteers.

The conference – organised by the Cornish Museum Partnership – heard how Love Falmouth Volunteers (a partnership of cultural organisations led by Falmouth Art Gallery) use of the Volunteer Makers platform has not only brought new supporters to its members, but strengthened institutions’ links with the local community.

Early July saw a regular event in the VM calendar: attendance at the South West Fed’s annual conference in Exeter.

Volunteer Makers were among the sponsors of the event and had a trade stand at it. VM founder Claire Sully also gave a presentation on the VM concept to delegates.

South Wed Fed is a community of independent heritage organisations throughout South West England.

Claire Sully said: “Volunteer Makers, as an Arts Council England supported programme, first got lift off at the South West Fed Conference 2015 after a networking chat.

“We’re now working with over 70 organisations and love returning to where it all began, starting new conversations to see where they might take us next.”

One place they took Claire was from the south-west to the north-west, with a visit to Liverpool for the latest in Volunteer Makers’ rolling programme of training workshops.

Volunteer Makers worked with University of Liverpool Museums & Galleries to spread the word on how its digital and blended volunteering approach can manage, evaluate and enhance working with volunteers and supporters.

The group includes a quirky museum and well-regarded gallery in the Victoria Building – an architectural icon in itself, as well as a world-class museum of archaeology at Garstang.

Before You Launch – Consider These 5 Tips

Here at Volunteer Makers we are always looking for ways to improve the success of our pioneers in engaging with volunteers and supporters in flexible and inspiring ways. Here are our top tips to consider before launch.

Tip 1
Think strategically about why you want to use Volunteer Makers to engage with your supporters. Is it a way of opening up new opportunities to regular volunteers? Do you want to encourage new and different types of supporters to join you? Do you want to offer flexible opportunities? Do you want supporters to help deliver a business objective (e.g. a redevelopment)?
Thinking about challenges including micro ones has completely made us rethink how we use volunteers. Before we were in a situation where we would recruit volunteers and think how we would use them. Now we look at the programme coming up and think about how to use volunteers on and off site. Fundamental shift for us” (Amanda, Corinium Museum)
The answers to this question will help shape your plan…

Tip 2
Devise and work to an action plan, including how to roll out Volunteer Makers and how to work together. Name people in the plan! Make it SMART.
Claire helped us to set an action plan during the workshop with a vision and aims. This, so far, has enabled the project to move forward. [We have] regular group meetings looking at our progress and working with the team and our current volunteers to overcome any challenges. Our officers are setting challenges, front of house staff are selling Volunteer Makers, volunteers are currently testing it. Everyone plays a part” (Jess, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum)
This plan must embed working organisation-wide…

Tip 3
Engage leadership in championing Volunteer Makers as part of your strategic engagement objectives. Get buy in across the whole organisation. An organisation-wide engagement culture helps to mitigate changes in staff that can impact roll out. Work across the whole organisation (including volunteers) to provide inspiring, flexible challenges that help deliver the organisation’s business need, understanding that almost anything can be framed as volunteering, engagement or support of your organisation.
Getting the whole organisation involved at all levels has been really important. Planning multiple opportunities for people to get involved and think about what aspects of Volunteer Makers might appeal to the motivations of different teams” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And for this to happen you need to set aside time…

Tip 4
Make sure you commit the time, and are supported to do that, to make rolling out and developing Volunteer Makers a success. Although Volunteer Makers doesn’t replace your approach or existing volunteer programmes, you do need time to make it as effective as possible in engaging your audience.
We have tried to work collaboratively across the organisation; in practical terms this has meant having a clear idea of time scale and key outcomes at different stages [which] has been really vital. This has helped to make sure that people have the information they need to contribute to decisions, reflect and feedback at each stage, whilst planning time to act on feedback where possible. We used a simple table to help keep track of this which allowed us to adjust the plan as needed” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And effective engagement means engaging digitally too…

Tip 5
How you are going to communicate your challenges is as important as coming up with them in the first place. Ensuring those responsible for marketing/social media are part of your organisation-wide buy in is essential. Engaging digitally is key, and you need to be social (e.g. a blog, social media) if you are going to diversify your volunteers and reach a broader range of people.

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

What Makes a Good Challenge Great?

Here’s something to ponder – what makes some Volunteer Makers’ challenges stand out from the crowd, while others fade away? Why do some pull you in while others have the opposite effect? In an attempt to answer that question, I’ve been delving into our pioneers’ platforms and have distilled my answer into 5 top tips.

Tip 1
Be humorous, and if you can’t be humorous give your challenge some personality – Volunteer Makers doesn’t need to be too formal, taking as it does its cues from social digital – where people come together on digital platforms. This translates well to engaging on social media, which is where you need to be talking about your opportunities to diversify your volunteers.
Tip 2
Give a compelling or inspiring reason to get involved. Why should they do this challenge? It might be because it helps deliver your cause – one they can get behind. Or it could be access to ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities.
Tip 3
Be specific in what you are asking people to do and ensure it’s appropriate for the time category. If people are looking for an hour or two, then let them see it can be done!
Tip 4
Appeal to a broad range of skills and interests in your challenges by thinking laterally. This too will help to diversify your volunteers and engage more people.
Tip 5
Make the whole experience frictionless for your volunteers. You’ve led them this far, don’t fall at the last hurdle by adding extra layers. Volunteer Makers captures your volunteer data and preferences on sign up, so get them to sign up/sign in, be clear about what will happen next and let them get on with completing the challenge!

Summary
So how does this look in practice?

http://museumofoxford.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/spread-the-word/7/
• This challenge uses humour (‘help us change this sorry state of affairs!’)
• It gives a good reason to get involved (‘the more people we have attending our events and visiting, the better reason to develop the museum’)
• It’s specific and would fit in the one-two hours slot (‘Drop off 20 leaflets with a local café, take 10 to your local library or give a leaflet to a friend!’)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (‘Sign up here, get an email from the Museum Team and simply arrange a time to pick up some leaflets. We will discuss with you where you intend to distribute them so there aren’t any wasted journeys.’)

http://southamptonartsandheritage.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/clock-tower-tour-assistant/11/
• This challenge is specific and timebound (‘The tours last an hour, start at reception and run at 10:30 and 11:30am. You’ll be required to climb 215 steps for each tour and to help ensure that the group stays together’).
• It’s intriguing (‘get a behind the scenes look at one of Southampton’s most iconic buildings’).
• It has some lateral thinking in the Skills and Interests that could appeal to a broad range of people (e.g. Conservation, Event Stewarding, Architecture and Building Management, Visitor Services)

http://snappingthestiletto.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/give-a-day/uncover-katherine-mina-courtauldas-involvement-in-the-suffragette-movement/38/
• This challenge is specific (‘Uncover Katherine Mina Courtauld’s involvement in the Suffragette Movement’)
• It’s inspiring (they’ve provided enough history to motivate you)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (Sign in/sign up, accept the challenge and ‘Visit the Essex Record Office to search for information and email Claire Willetts at Braintree Museum with anything that you uncover’)

Have you seen or created any challenges that are great, not just good? If so, share them with @volunteermakers

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

Meetings – and the Mersey: Volunteer Makers summer schedule

Hot sun was matched by hot demand for Volunteer Makers blend of micro-volunteering and digital engagement.

Love Falmouth Volunteer Makers have been spreading the word at Cornwall’s Brilliant Things conference.

Tamsin Bough and Sarah Scot, of Falmouth Art Gallery, spoke to the meeting on growing relationships with volunteers.

The conference – organised by the Cornish Museum Partnership – heard how Love Falmouth Volunteers (a partnership of cultural organisations led by Falmouth Art Gallery) use of the Volunteer Makers platform has not only brought new supporters to its members, but strengthened institutions’ links with the local community.

Early July saw a regular event in the VM calendar: attendance at the South West Fed’s annual conference in Exeter.

Volunteer Makers were among the sponsors of the event and had a trade stand at it. VM founder Claire Sully also gave a presentation on the VM concept to delegates.

South Wed Fed is a community of independent heritage organisations throughout South West England.

Claire Sully said: “Volunteer Makers, as an Arts Council England supported programme, first got lift off at the South West Fed Conference 2015 after a networking chat.

“We’re now working with over 70 organisations and love returning to where it all began, starting new conversations to see where they might take us next.”

One place they took Claire was from the south-west to the north-west, with a visit to Liverpool for the latest in Volunteer Makers’ rolling programme of training workshops.

Volunteer Makers worked with University of Liverpool Museums & Galleries to spread the word on how its digital and blended volunteering approach can manage, evaluate and enhance working with volunteers and supporters.

The group includes a quirky museum and well-regarded gallery in the Victoria Building – an architectural icon in itself, as well as a world-class museum of archaeology at Garstang.

Before You Launch – Consider These 5 Tips

Here at Volunteer Makers we are always looking for ways to improve the success of our pioneers in engaging with volunteers and supporters in flexible and inspiring ways. Here are our top tips to consider before launch.

Tip 1
Think strategically about why you want to use Volunteer Makers to engage with your supporters. Is it a way of opening up new opportunities to regular volunteers? Do you want to encourage new and different types of supporters to join you? Do you want to offer flexible opportunities? Do you want supporters to help deliver a business objective (e.g. a redevelopment)?
Thinking about challenges including micro ones has completely made us rethink how we use volunteers. Before we were in a situation where we would recruit volunteers and think how we would use them. Now we look at the programme coming up and think about how to use volunteers on and off site. Fundamental shift for us” (Amanda, Corinium Museum)
The answers to this question will help shape your plan…

Tip 2
Devise and work to an action plan, including how to roll out Volunteer Makers and how to work together. Name people in the plan! Make it SMART.
Claire helped us to set an action plan during the workshop with a vision and aims. This, so far, has enabled the project to move forward. [We have] regular group meetings looking at our progress and working with the team and our current volunteers to overcome any challenges. Our officers are setting challenges, front of house staff are selling Volunteer Makers, volunteers are currently testing it. Everyone plays a part” (Jess, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum)
This plan must embed working organisation-wide…

Tip 3
Engage leadership in championing Volunteer Makers as part of your strategic engagement objectives. Get buy in across the whole organisation. An organisation-wide engagement culture helps to mitigate changes in staff that can impact roll out. Work across the whole organisation (including volunteers) to provide inspiring, flexible challenges that help deliver the organisation’s business need, understanding that almost anything can be framed as volunteering, engagement or support of your organisation.
Getting the whole organisation involved at all levels has been really important. Planning multiple opportunities for people to get involved and think about what aspects of Volunteer Makers might appeal to the motivations of different teams” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And for this to happen you need to set aside time…

Tip 4
Make sure you commit the time, and are supported to do that, to make rolling out and developing Volunteer Makers a success. Although Volunteer Makers doesn’t replace your approach or existing volunteer programmes, you do need time to make it as effective as possible in engaging your audience.
We have tried to work collaboratively across the organisation; in practical terms this has meant having a clear idea of time scale and key outcomes at different stages [which] has been really vital. This has helped to make sure that people have the information they need to contribute to decisions, reflect and feedback at each stage, whilst planning time to act on feedback where possible. We used a simple table to help keep track of this which allowed us to adjust the plan as needed” (Fran, Geffrye Museum of the Home)
And effective engagement means engaging digitally too…

Tip 5
How you are going to communicate your challenges is as important as coming up with them in the first place. Ensuring those responsible for marketing/social media are part of your organisation-wide buy in is essential. Engaging digitally is key, and you need to be social (e.g. a blog, social media) if you are going to diversify your volunteers and reach a broader range of people.

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

What Makes a Good Challenge Great?

Here’s something to ponder – what makes some Volunteer Makers’ challenges stand out from the crowd, while others fade away? Why do some pull you in while others have the opposite effect? In an attempt to answer that question, I’ve been delving into our pioneers’ platforms and have distilled my answer into 5 top tips.

Tip 1
Be humorous, and if you can’t be humorous give your challenge some personality – Volunteer Makers doesn’t need to be too formal, taking as it does its cues from social digital – where people come together on digital platforms. This translates well to engaging on social media, which is where you need to be talking about your opportunities to diversify your volunteers.
Tip 2
Give a compelling or inspiring reason to get involved. Why should they do this challenge? It might be because it helps deliver your cause – one they can get behind. Or it could be access to ‘behind the scenes’ opportunities.
Tip 3
Be specific in what you are asking people to do and ensure it’s appropriate for the time category. If people are looking for an hour or two, then let them see it can be done!
Tip 4
Appeal to a broad range of skills and interests in your challenges by thinking laterally. This too will help to diversify your volunteers and engage more people.
Tip 5
Make the whole experience frictionless for your volunteers. You’ve led them this far, don’t fall at the last hurdle by adding extra layers. Volunteer Makers captures your volunteer data and preferences on sign up, so get them to sign up/sign in, be clear about what will happen next and let them get on with completing the challenge!

Summary
So how does this look in practice?

http://museumofoxford.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/spread-the-word/7/
• This challenge uses humour (‘help us change this sorry state of affairs!’)
• It gives a good reason to get involved (‘the more people we have attending our events and visiting, the better reason to develop the museum’)
• It’s specific and would fit in the one-two hours slot (‘Drop off 20 leaflets with a local café, take 10 to your local library or give a leaflet to a friend!’)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (‘Sign up here, get an email from the Museum Team and simply arrange a time to pick up some leaflets. We will discuss with you where you intend to distribute them so there aren’t any wasted journeys.’)

http://southamptonartsandheritage.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/hour-or-two/clock-tower-tour-assistant/11/
• This challenge is specific and timebound (‘The tours last an hour, start at reception and run at 10:30 and 11:30am. You’ll be required to climb 215 steps for each tour and to help ensure that the group stays together’).
• It’s intriguing (‘get a behind the scenes look at one of Southampton’s most iconic buildings’).
• It has some lateral thinking in the Skills and Interests that could appeal to a broad range of people (e.g. Conservation, Event Stewarding, Architecture and Building Management, Visitor Services)

http://snappingthestiletto.volunteermakers.org/get-involved/give-a-day/uncover-katherine-mina-courtauldas-involvement-in-the-suffragette-movement/38/
• This challenge is specific (‘Uncover Katherine Mina Courtauld’s involvement in the Suffragette Movement’)
• It’s inspiring (they’ve provided enough history to motivate you)
• There’s no friction to getting involved (Sign in/sign up, accept the challenge and ‘Visit the Essex Record Office to search for information and email Claire Willetts at Braintree Museum with anything that you uncover’)

Have you seen or created any challenges that are great, not just good? If so, share them with @volunteermakers

Anna Bryant, MA, AMA, Marketing and Engagement Manager, Volunteer Makers
Anna has worked in and for museums of all shapes and sizes across curatorial, interpretation, audience development and marketing roles during the last 18 years.

Meetings – and the Mersey: Volunteer Makers summer schedule

Hot sun was matched by hot demand for Volunteer Makers blend of micro-volunteering and digital engagement.

Love Falmouth Volunteer Makers have been spreading the word at Cornwall’s Brilliant Things conference.

Tamsin Bough and Sarah Scot, of Falmouth Art Gallery, spoke to the meeting on growing relationships with volunteers.

The conference – organised by the Cornish Museum Partnership – heard how Love Falmouth Volunteers (a partnership of cultural organisations led by Falmouth Art Gallery) use of the Volunteer Makers platform has not only brought new supporters to its members, but strengthened institutions’ links with the local community.

Early July saw a regular event in the VM calendar: attendance at the South West Fed’s annual conference in Exeter.

Volunteer Makers were among the sponsors of the event and had a trade stand at it. VM founder Claire Sully also gave a presentation on the VM concept to delegates.

South Wed Fed is a community of independent heritage organisations throughout South West England.

Claire Sully said: “Volunteer Makers, as an Arts Council England supported programme, first got lift off at the South West Fed Conference 2015 after a networking chat.

“We’re now working with over 70 organisations and love returning to where it all began, starting new conversations to see where they might take us next.”

One place they took Claire was from the south-west to the north-west, with a visit to Liverpool for the latest in Volunteer Makers’ rolling programme of training workshops.

Volunteer Makers worked with University of Liverpool Museums & Galleries to spread the word on how its digital and blended volunteering approach can manage, evaluate and enhance working with volunteers and supporters.

The group includes a quirky museum and well-regarded gallery in the Victoria Building – an architectural icon in itself, as well as a world-class museum of archaeology at Garstang.

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