Empowering organisations, charities and volunteers in Somerset to build a resilient community by enabling them to find and promote volunteer opportunities through a digital platform that is easy to use and manage.
Spark Somerset is a county-wide organisation that supports and champions Somerset’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) to help change lives and build healthy, resilient communities.
Spark helps people to volunteer - to spark a positive change within themselves and within their local communities. In addition, the organisation provides free advice and support to charities and community groups.
Central to Spark’s mission is the Spark a Change platform; a volunteering brokerage website that allows individuals to discover and join volunteering roles in Somerset. It empowers local charities and non-profit organisations to attract, recruit and manage volunteers to support their work.
The goal is to reach more organisations, more volunteers, and match people with VCSEs to drive volunteering in Somerset. The platform is designed to help volunteering flourish in every local community in the broader Somerset area. Spark Somerset inspires people and organisations so that they can experience the impact that volunteering has on everyone’s daily lives and the lives of others. Supporting volunteers and VCSEs to take part - sparking positive change in themselves and their communities - is an important objective. The ambition is to increase volunteering in terms of corporate volunteering and young people's volunteering in Somerset. With its support for emergency response projects and flexible volunteering, Spark a Change is the go-to website in the county for all things volunteering.
Spark a Change supports the volunteer journey by giving organisations a platform to manage their own profile on the site. VCSEs can also recruit volunteers and offer opportunities through promotion on the platform. The site provides a useful volunteer management tool for smaller organisations that do not have their own platform. Spark a Change is the go-to volunteer recruitment tool for many larger organisations as well.
Whether it’s an individual who wants to volunteer or an organisation looking for people to support its work, they can use Spark a Change to:
● Register as a volunteer/VCSE and create a profile
● Explore or share volunteering opportunities
● Make contact and discuss their needs and desires
● Begin their volunteering journey
Ark at Egwood is a Somerset-based charity that supports vulnerable people with meaningful work experience, community integration, training aimed at developing physical and mental skills, as well as by sharing knowledge on how to care for the earth’s resources of land, soil, air and water. Ark at Egwood works with Spark a Change to recruit and manage a wide range of volunteers, from young people to corporate volunteers.
The intuitive platform adapts well to the needs of Ark and other VCSEs, for example with responsive volunteering. If a volunteer is needed next week, the vacancy is easily and quickly added to Spark a Change. Next, the opportunity can be shared on social media with native publishing features, making it possible to reach a large audience. Matching happens digitally and safely. And with a ready-to-use volunteer pool at hand, the process is virtually frictionless.
Thanks to the Spark a Change platform - powered by Deedmob - a number of Somerset VCSEs can now develop and promote their volunteer projects in ways that their previous system could not support.
Rich features take away the hassle from volunteer management, meaning volunteering services can be much more about self-service and enabling organisations to manage volunteering opportunities and recruitment themselves. Valuable saved time is directed towards developing their guidance and support to groups who are finding it hard to involve volunteers.
With its digital platform and no-code management, the Deedmob solution offers a wide range of volunteering support:
● Recruiting and retaining a variety of volunteers to take on a task, an organisational role or provide event support
● Registration through digital forms to determine if volunteers are suitable or to support finding the best matches
● One-click sharing of opportunities through social media, to invite friends and family to join
● Inviting permanent volunteers to join the organisation page, building a close community of involved volunteers
● Sending updates to volunteers via the built-in email tool
● Empowering trusted volunteers with the authority to post vacancies on behalf of the organisation
One big, recent success was Spark Somerset’s support of the NHS Covid-19 vaccination rollout. The organisation helped the Somerset Foundation NHS Trust recruit over 1,400 volunteers across the county. During this campaign, it was crucial that volunteers could sign up quickly and easily, as the social media shares enabled Spark to reach a large audience.
Over 500 organisations registered on the Spark a Change platform to recruit volunteers, which led to over 4,000 volunteer sign-ups within a relatively short amount of time. These figures are still rising and allow VCSEs in Somerset to grow further.
The gains for volunteers are abundant. Volunteering increases mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and reduces social anxiety. It also allows people to gain new skills in different areas, meet new people and play a meaningful role in strengthening their local community.
Of course, VCSEs benefit from the Spark a Change platform too. They can now manage volunteer recruitment themselves. Organisations sign up for free, after which they get their own profile for managing their offer and services. They own their own adverts and manage communication with volunteers in a scalable way.
Spark a Change provides VCSEs with their own shopfront for volunteering. This is especially beneficial for smaller organisations that don't have the infrastructure, capacity or budget to manage their own platform.
“Our service can now be much more about self-help and enabling users to benefit from all the platform can offer, as their own volunteer management system, rather than us helping to search for or publish opportunities for them. We can then focus on supporting people who may need more help, and developing our guidance and support to groups who are finding it hard to involve volunteers.” - Chloe Skinner, Volunteering Platform Manager at Spark Somerset
● Community platform, including vacancy database, matching and communication features
● Custom website with an easy to use CMS and no-code website builder
● Hosting, maintenance and continuous development of the platform
● Support by Deedmob expert and access to user community