How to Improve your volunteering services through Insight & Impact - Day 1

Tags: Webinar

12th May 2021


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This is the recording of the first 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 1: Why evaluate?

In this session, we were joined by representatives from Nuffield Trust, an independent health think tank and Patricia Hunt, Volunteer service manager at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

We explored the benefits of capturing data and measuring volunteering role or initiative. The Nuffield Trust team also walked us through a new guide to help volunteering service managers evaluate the impacts of their volunteering service. This work has been funded by NHS England and Improvement as part of the Volunteering Innovators Programme.

Questions and answers from the sessions can be found below:

Q: What challenges have colleagues faced with implementing an evaluation framework?

Pat: I think one of the problems that we could have is recruiting the right volunteers. You might want to ask them if they have got a passion to be that up close with patients? A lot of volunteers apply who don’t really know what to do as they do not have any experience of hospitals. Biggest thing is getting the right volunteers as they will be the ones who give you longevity. Having ‘anybody’ doesn’t work.

: I am interested in seeing whether Pat's Trust is investing funds in this area? As it’s been such a success are they given you any more investment to continue permanently.

Pat: It’s now embedded in the Trust. The difference has been noted. Volunteers are highly rated in their trust even though there has been a lapse because of Covid. They are the ones who can’t wait to come back and will be coming back first. Volunteer service is supported by grants which they have to do every year.

Q: Also interested to know if your work has increased capacity and resources to continue with evaluations?

Pat: All the data is there as the volunteers are logging in and out and answering the questions. When everything is back to normal, I will look at the results again to see where we are. An ongoing thing.

Q: how many volunteers do you have in the mobility volunteering role?

Pat: 40 volunteers to start with providing support across two wards which was scaled up.

Q: It seems that to carry out evaluation, volunteering teams will need a lot of resources. However, for a majority of Trusts, they only have one or two members in the team, can they still do evaluation?

A: Good point. Quite possible you can not do all of it so there are opportunities to link up with other teams. There are ways to support you even if you don’t have a big team. The initial thing is that you can do it independently. Then reach out to people who have the right skills.