I was encouraged to read in recently that the Small Charities Coalition (SCC) has integrated its with This means people searching for volunteering opportunities will have instant access to the SCC service via the Do-It interface. .
This is a really welcome development for a number of reasons.
First, it’s a great early sign of the open partnership approach that Ivo are bringing to their ownership of Do-It. It’s not that YouthNet didn’t do this – they did – but as Ivo move Do-It forward a renewed focus on collaboration and connections with others is important if the Do-it platform is to grow and modernise.
Second, it’s an encouraging step by volunteer finder services to join up. In recent years we appear to have had more and more websites created to help people find volunteering opportunities. This has, in part, been driven by the government, Nesta and others equating innovation in volunteering almost exclusively with online services. The result is that we have so many web based volunteering platforms that it’s probably harder than ever for people to find good volunteering opportunities.
Do-It’s tie up with SCC illustrates a sensible way forward. Instead of yet another website being created (perhaps the 21st century’s most obvious equivalent of wheel re-invention) the future will hopefully bring more integration of existing services for potential volunteers. Having one site would be to swing too far the other way (digital eggs in virtual baskets come to mind), but giving the user seamless access to opportunities across a variety of platforms is sensible.
Finally, the SCC and Do-It link up speaks clearly to a fact so often overlooked in the sector: trustees are volunteers. Despite the best efforts of some to get more trustees to be paid, the reality is that the principle of voluntary trusteeship remains enshrined in charitable law and practice. This fact is repeatedly ignored or forgotten when it comes to is trustees.
I’ve long held that some of the board issues organisations want to solve – diversity, effectiveness, challenges finding people to join the board etc – could be solved with the application of good volunteer management. After all, they are the same issues volunteer managers deal with day in, day out. But Chief Executives don’t turn to their VMs for help – they go to governance consultants instead. Yet the problems don’t ever seem to get solved. Interesting.
By linking the trustee finder service with Do-It, Ivo and SCC are helping to illustrate that a solution to the challenges of engaging trustees can lie in adopting the practice of volunteer leadership and management. Instead of resorting to crude and flawed thinking – such as payment to source competent people – organisations can and should turn to their existing volunteering experts for help. It’s not necessarily a magic bullet, but it is an option to be explored more often.
So well done Ivo and SCC. I hope this development will help change things for the better and that more will come in future.