The Newark Sports Association approached the Twine team in spring 2018. They wanted to tackle a big question of the sports sector: how can we demonstrate the value of volunteering to sports clubs? We know (or rather, Sport England has found) that more than six million people volunteer in sports clubs every year, in most cases they are indispensable to the projects they support. But what does that look like in practice, and how can sports organisations prove that value to their stakeholders, and to funding bodies?
We started shining some light on that by working with the Newark Athletics Club and our volunteer app. We spoke to Emma, their (volunteer) training coordinator, a few months into the trial:
Edward: So, Emma, to start off with. How were you logging volunteer hours before you started
using the Twine app?
Emma: To be honest, we didn’t have a particular way of tracking volunteering hours before we began using the Twine app. It has been very useful to log volunteer hours. Especially as a handful of our volunteers have been busy doing extra work for our club in the lead up to us moving to our new facilities!
Edward: That’s sounding positive! How many volunteers are using the volunteer app?
Emma: We currently have 20 volunteers set up on Twine and these include Coaches and
Coaching Assistants, Committee members and casual volunteers.
Edward: You have a total of 139hrs and 25mins of volunteering logs at the time of writing. How
do you feel about the time investment involved in that so far?
Emma: Wow! We have racked up a fair few volunteering hours in the short time we’ve been
using Twine. Because we have never electronically tracked this time before, this has come as
quite a shock to me. A good shock, but its crazy how much time and effort our volunteers really
put in to keeping the club ticking along on a daily basis.
Edward: How have the volunteers been responding to it? Was it difficult to get them to begin
Emma: I have been logging everyone’s hours and have been making up a password for them,
we decided that I would do it centrally. Committee members have found it easier to text me
what amount of time they would like inputting and what job role it was for.
Edward: Any challenges?
Emma: The main thing we have found difficult is getting into the routine of actually logging on
and tracking our volunteering time.
Edward: Any tips or tricks you have found useful you could recommend to other users?
Emma: The location reminders option I think would be really helpful to get volunteers
remembering to use it.
(The app has a feature enabling the user to save the GPS-location of their volunteering work, prompting the app to send a reminder each time they leave or enter that place.)
Edward: If you could change or improve on the app, how would you do so?
Emma: When you select the activity that volunteering has been part of, for example, office
support or outdoor work, we would quite like to see more options there. Or potentially a way to
add projects to it. That way we could see someone is doing outdoor work (coaching) for a
particular group, and segregate that data.
Edward: Interesting ideas! Thank you. As you well know from having seen the new search and multiple volunteer options, we are updating the app, so we will take that on board. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences of the Twine Volunteering app!