Tickbox’s Volunteer Makers model helps organisations engage, manage and grow their volunteer community, opening up volunteering to a wider demographic and connecting with the “long tail” of volunteers.

Changes to traditional funding models mean volunteers are becoming increasing important to organisations and shifting demographics have meant that the traditional model for volunteering management and engagement is proving to be challenging for organisations.

Volunteering is seeing a boom with more than 23 million of us volunteering at least once a year (13 million volunteering regularly), creating an annual economic value of 43 billion pounds (ONS figures).

The Volunteer Makers training and development pilot programme that ran from January -April 2016 proved demand for Tickboxes’ volunteer engagement development model and follows a successful three-year digital engagement project run for the SW Museum Development Programme where they worked with more than 40 museums across the South West to help them create a digital engagement strategy.

It also builds on extensive experience working with Luton Culture to create the technology behind the Museum Makers initiative, which helped build a substantial and transformational volunteer community for Wardown Park Museum. Tickbox is now looking to roll out the programme to museums nationally from October 2016.

Museums in the volunteer engagement programme benefit from:

Increased collaboration with communities and business

Increased diversity and skill-sets in the volunteer base

Increased sustainability from volunteering

Increased organisation-wide understanding of targeted digital engagement strategy, supported by appropriate tools

Sharing best practice in latest volunteer engagement thinking

Volunteer Makers takes into account changing demographics, affecting how and why people volunteer – along with reduced funding in the sector. The model also looks to widen and diversify the volunteer base for museums, as well as increasing the impact and effectiveness of volunteering and the ability for museums to measure this impact.

Organisations are understanding that there is a real value to creating a community of volunteers, but that it requires effective engagement and strategies said Claire Sully, MD of Tickbox.

“What we learn from working with museums we know will benefit other sectors,” said Sully. “We have worked with museums for five years delivering digital training programmes. This has given us an in-depth understanding of the challenges museums face in the 21st century. We have seen the impact of Volunteer Makers in our pilot programme and we are excited about the prospect of taking it to a national platform.”

The Volunteer Makers model is supported by the Volunteer Makers digital platform, which helps co-ordinate, target and manage wider volunteer engagement.

Phil Gibby, ACE Area Director, South West, said: “This project will deliver tangible benefits to the museums sector and we are delighted to be supporting it.”

The Volunteer Makers programme is already working with museum networks across the UK representing more than 600 museums and the Arts Council grant will allow Tickbox to engage museums in all regions to help them develop a model of 21st century volunteering that promotes diversity in volunteering and helps sustain this vital sector.

Chartered Institute of Fundraising October 2021
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