Helpful resources and examples
Many charities will already have experience with working with volunteers across relatively short time frames, or virtually.
For those beginning to explore, here are some ideas.
The charity needs a sponsor to run the relationship. Who is responsible? And does this person have they have what they need in terms of both time and organisational knowledge. While the project can impact many at the charity, Ideally, the sponsor is one person as the lead.
The charity will need to invest quite a bit of time and both parties need to be realistic about the time required. Very few skills based volunteering (SBV) projects have an ‘auto-pilot’ quality about them. If either party can’t invest this time, then best not to begin
Recognize that the furloughed employee does not have the infrastructure and support from their employer - so do they have all they need to accomplish this task without that support?
Have fun - build in some time for personal connection
With thanks to Stephen Greene CBE, CEO of RockCorps.
Further ideas on how furlunteers can contribute.
Add bandwidth and support to existing team members who feel they can’t take time off due to extra volume coming in.
Be a ‘shadow’ who can follow a key team member and pick up follow up, take notes and hold the fort while a team member takes a break could be invaluable. The right furlunteer for this type of support will be someone who likes to help someone to thrive in their role and is happy to turn their hand to anything that helps that person do their role well.
Create capacity to do more with the people you serve. If you have existing programmes where demand exceeds what you can supply, furlunteers with specific skills can help add capacity to your team. This may be through taking some of the back office tasks from them or by adding frontline capacity - be specific on your need to get a good match.
Help progress longer term projects where you have not had the resources to do them before - though beware starting lots of new initiatives. This is great for example where maybe you had redesign of your website on the back burner where you planned to do it in house to save costs but somehow never had the time. For this you need a short clear brief of the project and also know who will guide and support the furlunteer. This is good where the furlunteer has expertise but may not be able to commit to regular hours due to caring or other responsibilities during furlough.
Provide support to your team in operating in a new way. From remote working technical support through to coaching support for those on the frontline dealing with distressing situations - furlunteers with specialist skills can help build the capacity of your team to be at their best.
(with thanks to Sacha Romanovitch)
See useful links here.