Jane and Ellie here from Age UK Islington. We just wanted to share a bit about our experience with Here To so far from the point of view of an organisation.
We first found out about Here To before it even existed. We heard that Isledon and FutureGov (the creators) were joining forces to co-design a brand new approach to volunteering, and we wanted to be involved. We’re unafraid of thinking differently and are keen to reinvigorate the image of volunteering and helping older people too.
As a result, we put a lot of energy into the development phase of Here To and gave some insights that have helped shaped the project today. It was really enjoyable to have this level of input and to know that our views were being considered in the design.
Now, we have 4 different members of our staff using Here To across Age UK Islington and we are developing a portfolio of opportunities. We have already had 7 helpers placed within our organisation as a result, and we are confident that this number will grow as the website does.
As an organisation, we are very happy with the look and feel of the Here To website and believe the use of icons and other design techniques have created a contemporary appearance that will help us reach new (younger) volunteer audiences.
The underlying principles of Here To – skills, perks and bite-sized opportunities – have helped us also to think more about what we actually want from our volunteers, and how we might benefit from changing the emphasis when making calls to action.
We would like to see some changes to the dates concept for opportunities and also the photo uploading mechanism, but overall the online wizard to help organisations create new projects is clear and beautiful to use.
In terms of boosting Here To, we would suggest organising more activity offline to get out and grab people. We took part in the Here To Give Local event in June running a postcard-making workshop, and it was a really great experience that brought the website to life. Not only did it bring our clients together, but the event also created a space for new connections to form with other local organisations. One of our clients was even inspired to become a volunteer with us at Age UK Islington at Give Local and is currently undergoing training to prepare herself for such a role. So there is huge potential here for engagement!
We also think that Here To could get more local projects signed-up by sharing national insights and intelligence on voluntary matters. We would certainly find short, tweet-like summaries very helpful, as some of these updates and newsletters take a long time to read!
Moving forward, we are keen to continue to work together with Here To Islington and would particularly love to take part in future events. We still have lots of new opportunities to explore, but are glad to see this bold approach taking root in Islington.