Make Volunteering Great Again | tahdah


Volunteers play a crucial role in the delivery of sport in the United Kingdom, without their selfless contributions many grassroots sports would cease to exist. Despite this, the experience of the individual volunteer seems to be an afterthought in the minds of the UK sports community.

According to a 2014 Wellbeing Impacts of Culture and Sport report sports volunteers are twice as likely to quit as volunteers from other fields due to feelings of being undervalued.

Sport England recently released a strategy aimed at improving the volunteering experience in the UK and making it more accessible to people from all backgrounds and walks of life:

 
"Putting the experience of the volunteer at the heart of our efforts is a key feature of our new strategy for volunteering."
 

At tahdah we believe that digital technology can play a massive role in improving the experience of volunteers in the UK. Our software is being used by a diverse range of sporting organisations from national governing bodies to grassroots level clubs.

The majority of these clubs have extremely limited resources and rely heavily on volunteer support. In this post we will outline the ways in which tahdah can revolutionise the way volunteers interact with their sport and receive recognition for their efforts.

Recruitment

One area of the volunteering experience in the United Kingdom that is still lagging behind is recruitment. According to a 2007 report by the Institute for Volunteering Research around two thirds of volunteers get involved because they hear about an opportunity from a friend, family member or someone connected with the organisation.

How Are Volunteering Opportunities Spotted?
Source: Helping Out: 'A national survey of volunteering and charitable giving’

This reliance on word of mouth recruitment means that tens of thousands of potential volunteers, especially young people from underrepresented groups, are not aware of the opportunities available to them.

Sport England's own research shows that there’s a significant proportion of potential volunteers looking for information online, especially those interested in opportunities in sport and physical activity.

Sport England see the need to address this issue through the use of digital technology, in their strategy they say:

 
"As part of our strategy to galvanise volunteering among a much wider audience, we’ll be researching and testing ways to use digital technology in recruitment.”
 

We believe tahdah is the perfect antidote to the volunteer recruitment crisis. We have created a live database of volunteers from across the sport and physical recreation spectrum with contributions from every sports organisation on the system; from local clubs to national governing bodies.

We hope that by breaking down the barriers that prevent people from volunteering we can encourage more people to get involved.

Volunteers who have created a tahdah account can list their skills, availability, qualifications and experience as part of their public profile. Clubs or other organisations in need of volunteers can then access the database (as shown in the image below) and use a variety of search filters to find the perfect volunteer who meets their requirements.

tahdah Live Volunteer Database
tahdah live volunteer database

Once they've found the ideal volunteer they can confirm their availability and then contact them directly through the system.

Organisation

The technologies that are required to start rolling out digital credentials are mostly operational. The major hurdles that need to be negotiated are issues surrounding cost, security, reliability and comparability. Some specific examples are:

One of the main questions posed by Sport England's volunteer strategy is: how can we better support people who are already volunteering?

There are many answers to this question but we believe one of the most beneficial things we can do to support people who are currently volunteering is to help them plan and utilise their time more effectively. That's why we introduced the personal planner feature.

The personal planner is available to every user on the system. You can use it to log upcoming training courses or volunteering commitments and set up notifications so that you never miss an important event again.

This live planner can be shared with your employer (if you're a staff member at an organisation) or your club (if you're a volunteer) so that you can synchronise your calendars and have full visibility of your commitments in real-time. This means that your club will always be aware of your availability beforehand - making organising your precious volunteering time a piece of cake.

Recognition

One of the main reasons why sport volunteers reduce, or even quit, their volunteering commitments is because they feel undervalued. At tahdah we have developed our software with this question in mind: how can we properly reward volunteers for their dedication and give them the real recognition they deserve?

To answer this question we have introduced a range of features that directly benefit the volunteer both in the short term and long term.

Firstly, our software allows for volunteers to catalogue and document their experience and participation data through our 'Digital Logbook' feature. This means that every volunteer on tahdah can have a fully verified record of their volunteering experience complete with times, dates, photos, locations, observers and much more. This data can then be added to your own digital CV - with any potential employers confident in the knowledge that all of your listed volunteering experience is accurate and verified.

Secondly, volunteers can receive and display verified awards/training/qualifications and, thirdly, they can be rewarded through the system (in the form of non-monetary gifts, discounted training opportunities, spot on leaderboards etc.).



Who already loves it
"tahdah have exceeded our expectations with their candidate management system. By taking time to understand our unique business needs they have delivered a quality piece of software that has revolutionised the way we work and engage with our candidates".

John Cousins
Chief Executive Officer Mountain Training