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How to improve your volunteering service through Insight & Impact - Day 2

Tags: Webinar

7th June 2021

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This is the recording of the second webinar as part of a series of three webinar sessions that will show you how to collect data to improve your volunteering service and demonstrate its values against key NHS measures.

Those sessions are delivered by experts in impact and insight. All three webinars are suitable for everyone involved in managing volunteers - regardless of your experience with evaluation.

Day 2: Barriers to evaluation

In this session, we explored what can get in the way of evaluation, and how best to address barriers.

We were joined by PPL, a health evaluation company that evaluated evidence collection on the Volunteering Innovators Programme. They shared their learning that can help volunteer managers to address common challenges such as data collection. In addition, Paul Wharton, Volunteer Coordinator at North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, shared his challenges when collecting data and how he overcame them.

Questions and answers from the sessions can be found below:

Q: To what extent did you (Paul) involve volunteers in data collection?

A: Part of a volunteer's role is to collect data and get feedback from patients. Paul explained to them that it was a pilot and that they needed evidence to present to the board. Understanding the benefit they were happy to do this. Paul also made a presentation about the future of volunteering at board level and received praises from the Board.

Q: How did you (Paul) gather data?

A: Gathering data around patients' evaluation was really key. Emotive questionnaires about how the patient was feeling at various stages through 28 days to see what effect the intervention was having on their wellbeing.

General notes from the session:

  • Volunteer service managers do not necessarily have enough hours in the day to collect data but there are tools to help them. It is really important to plan before you start and set realistic goals. The Volunteering Innovators Programme has shown that it can be a game changer in getting senior management on board.

TIP: When doing a survey, make sure you pick out a few key questions that can help you gain the right insights, too many questions can put participants off.

  • A few attendees commented that by collecting data and providing insights, they have seen such a change in their Trust and the way they are using volunteers. Their reports help staff to understand how the Volunteering Service work and that there is in need of a plan when they need volunteers' help. Requests should not come in at a late notice.
  • Other commented that before the pandemic, volunteers were sent ad hoc to areas where they were needed. Now they are asking volunteers to apply for specific roles so that they can make sure they have the right people in the right place. This has made such a huge difference.