How you can help

It would be very easy for us to simply ask for visitors to donate money. In fact, as you can see, we already do. As important as funding is for our charity, more so is the service we deliver to the children we work with.

To this end, we are always looking for Older Friends to work with and mentor our Younger Friends, specifically to help with the following tasks:

  • Support with running events
  • Display of Posters, Leaflets, or postcards for volunteers
  • Donations
  • Additional Trustees ‐ approx five meetings per annum, plus work in your area of expertise
  • Voluntary Fund Raiser – prime part of role is preparation of bids
  • Marketing & Promotion & Events
  • HR/Legal
  • Others for succession planning –
  • safeguarding/worked with children etc.
  • Managerial

If you know you would like to help make a difference to a child’s life “someone who would benefit from a guiding influence“ then complete this application form and send it into us.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss anything about the roles and responsibilities of being an Older Friend, then please feel free to contact one of our Area Co-ordinators:

North Warwickshire Area Co-ordinator
Deborah Roberts deborahroberts@friendshipproject.co.uk

South Warwickshire Co-ordinator (Warwick, Leamington Spa, & Kenilworth)
Fiona Roche fionaroche@friendshipproject.co.uk

South Warwickshire Co-ordinator (Shipston, Stratford, & Alcester)
Helen Yendall helenyendall@friendshipproject.co.uk

Thank you for your time. We certainly look forward to hearing from you!


What makes some people more likely to volunteer than others?
(Credit: An article reproduced from the Guardian. The original is located here: www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2016/jun/01/science-behind-volunteering-psychology)

While the benefits of volunteering are well known – making a difference, giving back to the community, and developing new skills, for example – there is less clarity about what psychological aspects make a volunteer and how charities can use this knowledge to attract more people to their cause.

These insights could prove invaluable. In the last 15 years, the overall number of volunteers has stayed largely the same, with the exception of spikes in 2012 (during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games), and in 2005, which experts suspect is linked to protests against the Iraq war.

Starting young

Emily Dyson is the evidence and strategy manager for the #iwill campaign, which aims to drive youth participation in volunteering in the UK. The charity publishes an annual report, monitoring social action among 10-20 year olds and providing recommendations to improve engagement with this group.

“We have an ambitious goal to increase the number of young people taking part in social action by 1.5million by 2020,” Dyson says.

The latest findings showed that 70% of the 2021 young people surveyed were likely to participate in social action in the future, but 41% said that they weren’t sure how to get involved – a clear opportunity for organisations to improve communications with this group.

The analysts also classified the respondents into three groups based on their current, previous and intended participation in social action – committed, potential and reluctant – and identified a recommendation for each. The goal for the committed group is to encourage them to do more by celebrating the impact they have; the reluctant group could be engaged by promoting volunteering opportunities to their parents and teachers; and the reluctant group may participate if introduced to social action while they’re still young. The survey found that those in the committed group had their first volunteering experience before they turned 11.

How to engage and retain volunteers in your charity work

More research is needed here, Dyson admits, but it’s an interesting theory that “if you get people participating in social action at a young age, then they will continue to do that for the rest of their lives”.

The Scout Association has made good use of the report’s data to create their youth social action programme A Million Hands, and have successfully applied to the Department of Education to pilot scouting in partnership with schools.

Part of an everyday routine

Innovation is important when it comes to recruiting and retaining adult volunteers too. Justin Davis Smith, a senior lecturer on volunteering at Cass Business School and the former chief executive of Volunteering England, says that there are examples of charitable startups making good use of technology to help people fit volunteering into their lives.

“One of the biggest barriers to volunteering is lack of time, or more accurately a perceived lack of time,” he says. “The hope is that if you can engage people through smaller opportunities, they will go on to volunteer in more formal ways over a longer period of time.”

Davis Smith cites examples such as the Casserole Club, which encourages people to make an extra portion at dinner and distribute it to lonely people in their community, and GoodGym, where runners lend a hand at projects along their jogging route. “It’s about this notion of how can we try and wrap volunteering around what people are doing in their leisure time,” he says.

More established charities are also thinking outside the box. Last year, Oxfam launched a five minute campaign in a number of its shops, asking customers “what can you do in five minutes?”. Suggestions included having a cup of tea with a neighbour or reading to someone struggling with literacy. More importantly, the charity directly challenged the notion that volunteering will take a lot of time.

Make it meaningful, attractive and worthwhile

Principles of behavioural science can be used to overcome other perceived barriers to volunteering. The Join In initiative, of which Davis Smith is a trustee, has identified six behavioural principles in their Making Time report that can be used to attract more volunteers.

Those are: growth (provide training and the opportunity to learn new skills); impact (allow volunteers to interact with beneficiaries to see the difference they’re making); voice (think about the way you ask people to volunteer); experience (make finding, enrolling and participating in programmes easy and flexible); recognition (say thank you); and social factors (encourage socialising with other volunteers, staff and beneficiaries).

Ultimately, “it’s about constructing a really worthwhile, meaningful opportunity for people where they can make a difference,” Davis Smith says. “Don’t do that in isolation, do that with volunteers. They can help co-produce and co-construct the experience they engage in. Make it meaningful, make it attractive, make it worthwhile.”

Volunteer Roles and Help Needed

  • Older Friends, and Group Supporter Volunteers
  • Support with running or holding events – particularly focus in 2016 for 30th Anniversary, increase of profile getting funding and volunteers, and building on this
  • New role – Area Ambassadors to promote our organisation in their local towns and areas
  • Refresh Displays of Posters, Leaflets, or postcards to help with volunteer recruitment
  • Donations
  • Additional Trustees ‐ approx five meetings per annum, plus work in your area of expertise – see a couple of specifics below. NB WE ARE CONVERTING TO CIO STATUS THIS YEAR, RECENTLY AGREED AT AGM. Happy to consider co-opt and introductory trial period for potential trustees
  • Voluntary Fund Raiser – prime part of role is preparation of bids
    • Primary aim to raise funds through approaching larger charitable organisation sources
    • We have a good existing database of organisations and track record of success
    • Liaise and attend Funder events
    • Link with other local charitable organisations, like Lions, Rotary etc
    • Liaise with treasurer as to bid status
    • Attend linked training events
    • Approx 8/10 bids a year needed
  • Potential: Chair our fund raising team
    • Marketing & Promotion & Events lead
    • Increase the charity’s profile within Warwickshire
    • Local press releases
    • Help with getting our marketing material more widely spread
    • Liaise and attend and support with events
    • Newsletter content
    • Recruit ambassadors
    • Website content (We have a trustee who supports website)
    • Twitter account – @friendshipproj (We have someone responsible for twitter)
  • HR/Legal
  • Others for succession planning – finance/HR/Legal/Working with Children/QA/secretarial
  • Safeguarding/worked with children etc.- retired teachers/social workers
  • Managerial