OXFORD TIMES: Voluntary Voice: Correct use of Social Media is Vital to Success of Volunteers

Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) is developing its use of technology to boost the support it provides to the county’s non-profit organisations and volunteers.

Trevor Barton, OCVA’s recently appointed systems and support manager, said that local charities were welcoming innovation and embracing new digital services to help them with their work.

OCVA provides advice, information and training, representing and supporting non-profit organisations, networks and partnerships of all sizes.

Mr Barton said technology was providing cost-effective, creative ways for charities to work in the community.

He said “Social networking has become increasingly important in how people communicate generally, and we have found that the launch of our Yammer Groups, a social media platform which provides a simple way for our networks to interact with each other, has been particularly successful. We launched Yammer to provide a new way for our long-established networks to work together. It connects people to each other and to the information they need, swiftly and easily.”

OCVA has also launched a census of local community and other not-for-profit groups, to build a picture of voluntary groups across the county and create an online app or web tool with partners Oxfordshire Community Foundation. The tool, which will be free of charge, will make information readily available online and enable groups to access funding opportunities more easily. It is set to launch in mid-2016 and be the first of its kind in the UK.

Mr Barton said: “Following the launch of the census in the Oxford Mail we are hearing from a growing number of organisations who want to take advantage of the opportunity, but we know that there are around 4,500 groups who could participate and we would like to help them all. It doesn’t matter if your group is a small food bank initiative, a church or mosque project, or a big registered charity. If you work in Oxfordshire as a not-for-profit, please get in touch.

“We know that funders want to know which groups to invest in and also that many groups are not aware of all funding opportunities. We want to fix this. The census runs until October 31.”

OCVA chairman Kiera Bentley added: “The voluntary sector is working harder than ever to provide support and services in the local community. OCVA’s use of technology is one way in which we are acting as trailblazers for innovation, providing cost-effective ways for our members to access funds, network and help people in the community.”


Source: The Oxford Times, p.66 and The Oxford Times Online.
Author: Julie Baker