Working together for change: How Girlguiding and Scouts are revolutionising the future for volunteers
Centre for Charity Effectiveness event hears from charity leaders on The Welcome Project and how it will change the way their organisations work.
Two leading charities are working together to transform the experience of volunteers in a bid to increase awareness, engagement and opportunities for children and young people across the UK.
In the first in-person Centre for Charity Effectiveness (CCE) event in two years, Angela Salt, CEO of Girlguiding, and Matt Hyde OBE, CEO of Scouts, discussed how the charities are working together to enhance the experiences of volunteers.
Th event, ‘Collaboration, innovation and digital transformation: Transforming the charity volunteer experience’, was well attended at Bayes Business School.
Both charities were formed more than a century ago, so recognise the need to remain relevant and accessible in the digital age. Post-pandemic, recruitment, training and the development of talent and skills are more vital than ever in retaining and encouraging new volunteers.
Funded by Pears Foundation, The Welcome Project aims to revolutionise the volunteer journey. Designed in conjunction with volunteers, for volunteers, testing on the new system will begin this summer.
Mr Hyde opened the session by outlining that 12.4 million people volunteered during the pandemic, including 4.6 million for the first time. He added that there were three key reasons why volunteering mattered.
“Volunteering matters because 1) it matters for you, it’s good for your skills, wellbeing and gives a sense of connection. 2) it’s good for the economy, contributing around £40 billion according to recent estimates, and 3) because of the pandemic, we saw the role volunteers can play in delivering public services alongside a paid workforce,” he said.
Ms Salt praised the "shared tradition and ethic" of the two organisations, highlighting their collaboration at both a local and national level.
“Collaborating on a new digital change project will help both organisations meet demand, build our movements and increase opportunities for young people. We’re open about the challenges we face and acutely aware that we can only do what we do because of our volunteers. Whether they are aged 14 or 94, we have opportunities for everyone, but we need to enhance the volunteer journey in order to ultimately unrich the lives of children and young people.”
Mr Hyde said there has been a 17 per cent increase in volunteering in the Scouts in the last year, the highest growth year-on-year since 1942. Yet, with a waiting list of 90,000 young people, he says recruiting and retaining volunteers is critical to the business model.
Ms Salt concluded by saying that The Welcome Project "will provide opportunities and challenges". Favourably, the two organisations already have much in common, including the possibility to create strong partnerships, and share lessons learned. But both Girlguiding and Scouts are aware of the need to successfully take volunteers on this new digital journey with confidence to not only retain individuals but increase recruitment. Decision making and understanding cultural differences will also be key to the project’s ongoing success.
Alex Skailes, Director of CCE, said: “It was great to see so many people back at Bayes. Building the CCE community of practice is a core and ongoing aim of ours – being together and making connections is critical to this so that we can all work together to strengthen the effectiveness of charities and each play our own roles in enabling social change.
“Angela and Matt perfectly illustrated the power in collaboration. How so much value is derived from the collaboration process itself, in addition to reaping the benefits when the end purpose is achieved.”
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Director, Centre for Charity Effectiveness (CCE)