Inspiring and supporting volunteering

Organisation Log In

Organisation FAQs

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.

 

COVID-19 

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 not able to volunteer with you for the time being but want to volunteer during the current health situation, 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.
  • Supporting 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 update them on service updates.

 

If you 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 Kingston 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 Kingston can offer help, support and advice. Please fill out this form so we can identify how best to support you.

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 volunteer connect and we will promote this to our pool of existing volunteers. You will need to register as an organisation on Volunteer Connect 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 needing 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 many will still be open as they are providing frontline support to those in need, for example, care homes, homeless shelters and foodbanks, 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 email us and outline what you are looking to discuss in an email, so we know how best to support your group. 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.

If you want volunteer support, please complete this form. If you want advice and support from us, we are still available on email and are happy to have a phone or video call. Please consult our resources specifically created for the current situation.


Volunteer Connect FAQs

Registration

Yes!

If you log in regularly, use everything Volunteer Connect has to offer, and stay in touch with us, we are very, very confident that you’ll find and place volunteers. We hear about hundreds of placements every year from volunteers and organisations who have found each other through our service.

More than one person can have access to an organisation’s account, in order to edit volunteer roles and contact volunteers.

Visit https://vcconnectsystem.org.uk/GroundworkVMS2/VmsAccount/Login?ReturnUrl=%2fGroundworkVMS2%2fVolunteerBank

 

Option 1
If your name is the one associated with the account and you know the email address associated with the account, click the Forgotten Password button.

If your name is the one associated with the account, but you do not know the email address, please contact us – you can find our contact details here.

 

Option 2
If it is not your name, but it is your organisation, and you’d like to also have access to the account (so that you can manage the volunteer roles being advertised)

1. Register as if you were a new organisation (see https://www.volunteeringkingston.org.uk/organisations/login-register/)

2. When writing in the ‘Organisation’ field of your profile, start entering the name of your organisation and it should appear from a drop down list. Choose it.

The form will automatically be populated with your organisation’s details.

3. Now, once you have completed the rest of your profile and have been approved, you will be linked up to the existing profiles currently associated with your organisation.

You’ll have access to any of the roles your organisation has posted, you’ll be able to edit them, and you’ll be able to add your own new roles under your organisation’s profile.

Groundwork London runs volunteer services in Kingston,  Barnet, Brent, Hounslow and a limited service in Wandsworth. By registering to our service, you will be able to promote volunteer roles to volunteers across all five boroughs.​

If you recruit volunteers in Barnet and Brent:

  • 1) Register as one organisation.
  • 2) Please make this clear in your organisation description and volunteer roles.
  • 3) See ‘How do I promote volunteering opportunities that are available across more than one borough?’ for details of promoting roles.

If you recruit volunteers in all boroughs from one volunteer coordinator/central team:

  • 1) Register your organisation once.
  • 2) See ‘How do I promote volunteering opportunities that are available across more than one borough?’ for details of promoting roles.

If you recruit volunteers in all boroughs and have separate branches/volunteer coordinators in each borough:

  • 1) Register each as different organisations, e.g. Groundwork (Hounslow), Groundwork (Barnet).
  • 2) This makes it clear and easier to manage volunteer applications that are made to your specific borough service or branch
Posting New Opportunities

 

Once registered, log in using your email address and password and go to Add/Edit roles.

Click the blue ‘Add Role’ button.

Fill out all the fields with care and click ‘Save’.

  1. Remember:

– The email address in the role description will receive all updates, e.g. when a volunteer confirms interest.

– Include as much detail as possible about where and when the opportunity will take place, including a postcode.

– Ensure the telephone fields only contain a valid number (no brackets or text)

– The contact email address must contain a valid email account (no additional text please)

– Ensure you do not exceed the 500 character limit (incl. spaces) on the short description field

– Avoid any unusual characters in text e.g. [ ] <> # {}

– When copying text from Word ensure it doesn’t have any formatting i.e. bullet-points

 

 

If your volunteer role takes place in more than one borough, follow these instructions:

If you have the same role available in multiple boroughs:

  • 1)- Add the role as normal
  • 2) Copy the role by clicking “Copy” at the bottom of the page.
  • 3) In the title of the role, make it clear which borough it is in, and add the relevant postcode for each borough.

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 Opportunities of the Week Bulletin. This goes out to all of our registered volunteers via email, social media and is stored on the website.

  • We can promote your role on Facebook and Twitter:

Example of tweet from Volunteering Kingston

 

  • 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 enquiry@volunteeringkingston.org.uk or call 0330 365 9980

This will almost always be related to one or more of the following:

  • Ensure the telephone fields only contain a valid number (no text)
  • The contact email address must contain a valid email account (no additional text please)
  • Ensure you do not exceed the 500 character limit (incl. spaces) on the short description field
  • Avoid any unusual characters in text, e.g. [ ] <> # {}
  • If copying text from Microsoft Word ensure it doesn’t have any formatting i.e. bullet-points

If the problem persists, call us on 0300 365 9980

Recruiting and Contacting Volunteers

 

The four boxes are the ones you see when you are in the ‘Managing Your Roles’ page. You can get to this page by clicking: Log in – Add/Edit Roles – Details (underneath the role title you want to look at). They are, clockwise from the top left:

  1. Possible Matching Volunteers
  2. Awaiting reply from invited Volunteers
  3. Interested after finding the role in the search page
  4. Confirmed interest in the role after you invited them

 

Here’s a brief explanation of each…

  1. 1. Possible Matching Volunteers

These are volunteers whose interests and skills match those in your role description. Use this box to find potential matching volunteers and invite them to apply. Click on their names to see their full profile, write them a message including your contact details, and click to invite.

  1. 2. Awaiting reply from invited volunteers

These are either volunteers who you have messaged or volunteers who have messaged you. If a volunteer is here, you’ve already interacted and you are waiting for a final confirmation of interest.

  1. 3. Interested after finding the role in the search page

These are volunteers who have found your opportunity and confirmed some interest; they are waiting for a response from you. You should aim to always have this box empty.

  1. 4. Confirmed interest in the role after you invited them

You have spoken with a volunteer, and they have decided they are happy to provide their contact information, and therefore have clicked to confirm. The volunteers in this box will have their contact details visible.

 

 

1. Log in, and click Add/Edit Roles.

 

 

2. Click on the blue ‘Details’ box underneath the role title.

 

3. You’ll then see four boxes. The top left hand box, “Possible matching volunteers” will show you volunteers who match your opportunity based on their skills and interests.

 

4. Click a name to see their profile.

 

5. If you think they are a suitable match then scroll down and write them a message.

 

It is strongly advised you include a phone number and an email address in all correspondence with volunteers.

 

6. The volunteer will then move to the top right-hand box, “Awaiting reply from invited volunteers”.

 

 

Now simply wait for them to get back to you. If you don’t hear anything after a week or so, call us and we can follow up for you – 0300 365 9980.

 

 

You’ll receive an automated email to the email address associated with the opportunity.

Be advised this is not always the same as the email address you may have entered for your organisation profile.

To see which email you’ve entered, log in and go to Add/Edit Roles.

 

Click the blue ‘Details’ box underneath the role/opportunity title.

 

 

Scroll down and see “Contact email for this role”. This where all automated correspondence for the role will be sent.

 

Make sure you log in regularly anyway in case these emails go into your junk or spam folders by mistake.

 

 

Emails for volunteers applying/confirming interest go to the email address associated with the opportunity. This might not be the same as your log-in email address or the email you’ve entered into your ‘Profile’.

Please see the FAQ – “How do I know when a volunteer applies to an opportunity?”

If you frequently have changes in your team or have more than one person in charge of volunteers, please keep a record of which email address is associated with which role for your own reference.

 

  1. Log in, and click Add/Edit Roles.

 

2. Click the blue ‘Details’ box underneath the role/opportunity title.

 

3. You’ll then see four boxes. In the bottom right-hand corner, you’ll see a box called “Interested after finding the role in the search page”. You should always aim to keep this box empty. If people are in this box, it means they’ve contacted you and you haven’t yet replied.

 

4. Click on their name. They may or may not have written a message. In either case, you should write them a short message. It is strongly advised to include a relevant phone number and an email address in all communications with volunteers.

 

 

5. They will then move to the top right-hand box, “Awaiting reply from invited volunteers”. You now must wait for a final confirmation of interest from the volunteer.

 

These volunteers are the ones who appear in the box titled ‘Interested after finding the role in the search page’. They’ve found the role and have clicked ‘Confirm Interest’. Hopefully they’ve included a short message, but no worries if not.

 

Simply click on the name of the volunteer, scroll down and write them a message. It is strongly advised you include in here your own organisation contact details.

 

Then, you wait for the volunteer to confirm interest once more. They will now appear in the above box, ‘Awaiting reply from invited volunteers’.

 

We are very happy to follow up any unresponsive volunteers.

Call us on 0300 365 9980, 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. 1. Log in, and go to Add/Edit Roles
  2. 2. Click on the ‘Details’ box underneath the role title
  3. 3. Find the volunteer from one of the four boxes, click the name, scroll down and click the button to disassociate

 

Data protection laws mean you will only see this at the third and final stage of contact on Volunteer Connect. The three stages are:

  1. A volunteer confirms interest with a message to your organisation, either independently or following an invitation from you.
  2. The organisation writes back with information on the role and how to get in touch.
  3. The volunteer accepts the invitation, and appears in the Confirmed interest in the role after you invited them box. You’ll see their contact information only when they are here.

 

Through correspondence in the first two stages, you are of course free to ask for this information and we strongly encourage volunteers to let you know this information as early as possible too.

 

You can also call us, let us know the volunteer’s name and the role, and we can follow up for permission to send contact details – 0300 365 9980, enquiry@volunteeringkingston.org.uk

Other Questions

Volunteering Kingston is the service we offer in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames supporting both volunteers and organisations on their volunteering journey.

Volunteer Connect 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 9980