Posted: 31 January, 2021
We have been keeping a close watch on the current volunteer management trends in the UK and internationally to find out what organisations will be adopting more of during the coming year.
Investment in technology and embracing digital
Virtual volunteering has had a significant boost in 2020 with local and national lockdowns in place across the country making it difficult to deliver cycling activities to support the community. It forced many cycling organisations to innovate and produce virtual and digital volunteering opportunities that people can do from the comfort and safety of their own home.
Exploring and embracing the world of technology has helped to generate new volunteering opportunities, fundraise much need income, market services, campaign, educate, socialise, and improve retention through utilising platforms like zoom for catch up meetings.
Creating volunteer training programmes in house and developing webinars to allow volunteers to be educated or inducted from anywhere at a time that suits them.
Utilising existing online training opportunities for volunteers, which not only reduces in person training costs and contracts but allows volunteers to access training which would have been previously inaccessible as it was out of their geographic area.
In 2020 volunteers from Cycling Projects attended several courses run by Sports UK, Virtual College and Salford CVS, which increased the competence levels of our volunteers.
And soon we will be setting up our very own Cycling Projects online learning programme – more news on this during 2021.
Online Community Champions
In 2020 volunteer relationships with your organisations social media channels and campaigns have become stronger, as everyone is accessing social media more frequently due to lockdown restrictions and are engaging with more content.
A focus in 2021 would see more cycling volunteers sharing your organisation’s campaigns, updates, and news stories to their social media friends, as well as growing micro-volunteering roles and to help your organisation to generate income/receive more members throughout the year.
Increase in volunteer diversity
Significant events across the world in 2020 and national movements regarding race, gender, disability, equality, and access to opportunities. Hence, we predict that this year there will be a stronger push to increase the diversity of cycling volunteers in our organisation to represent local communities, provide more opportunities and gain new perspectives to engage with hard-to-reach communities.
Recognising volunteers as a strategic asset
The impact that volunteers make to the success and sustainability of cycling programmes across the country has been felt in 2020 more than any other year. Organisations reported that some services couldn’t delivered or delivered as frequently due to a lack of volunteers because of shielding and isolation at home.
On the flipside of this situation, cycling organisations such as cycling projects, were able to put a call out to volunteers not isolating to support a cycle loan service to hospital staff and disabled families, which wouldn’t have been able to be carried out as quickly and effectively without a team of committed volunteers who wanted to support our NHS staff and isolated families.
The benefits that volunteers bring to cycling organisations are:
- Social and person approach, bonding with similar minded people and bringing people from different backgrounds together.
The value that volunteers bring through life experience, skills, education, training, health, networks, compassion and understanding others.
Embedding and embracing organisation values, identity, history and ways of working.
Increased Community Spirit
The country has been divided a lot over the last few years with political divides, brexit and racism, but during the 2020 pandemic citizens have found their community spirit to work together to stop the spread of covid 19, save the NHS and protect our more vulnerable members of the community.
The renewed interest from the British people in helping others and supporting our most vulnerable is good news for cycling organisations who wish to improve their communities. This comes down to the effective marketing and campaigning of how your organisation helps the community and the difference it makes.
By Tom Glynn, National Volunteer Coordinator, Cycling Projects