Despite the current transition to an isolated workforce, Microserve delivered an engaging remote workshop for charitable organisations to interrogate the digital volunteering experience.

On April 7th, Microserve hosted its first online, remote, public workshop for charitable organisations with a volunteer workforce. Whilst the workshop was originally scheduled to take place in London, the current Coronavirus pandemic has forced most workforces into isolation. The Microserve team quickly rallied to transition the workshop into the digital realm to ensure that attendees could still partake and engage remotely.

The workshop focused on how organisations recruit, engage and retain a volunteer workforce, and looked at how digital can be harnessed to do this effectively. 

Attracting, engaging and retaining volunteers

Volunteers are a critical resource for charities. Many charities are only able to deliver the services they do thanks to volunteers who donate their skills and time. But attracting, engaging and retaining high-quality volunteers is hard. Microserve is committed to putting users at the heart of the online experience. We wanted to facilitate a session where Volunteering leads could come together to explore the problem space and discuss how we can better support volunteers with technology. 

A problem shared...

The technical setup of the workshop ran smoothly. We used Zoom video conferencing to host the online workshop, with participants dialling in remotely. By enabling the ‘breakout room’ functionality we could facilitate smaller group discussions and allow the participants to get to know each other and the different charities involved. Each breakout room group was given a Google Sheet to collaborate on; the sheets were used to pool common pain points and brainstorm what solutions would entail.

The 2-hour session was led by Hannah Royce-Greenshill, Principal UX Designer at Microserve. With 8 years of industry experience, working with high profile clients such as WWF, Youth Hostels Association, and Vouchercloud, and a recent Nielsen Norman Group certification, Hannah was perfectly placed to help attendees deep-dive into the volunteer journey. 

We were delighted to have Heads of Volunteering attend from a wide variety of charitable organisations including the MS Society, NSPCC, Independent Age and St John Ambulance. It was fantastic to see the teams working together to discuss possible solutions for day-to-day challenges. By facilitating a space for problem sharing, attendees were able to learn from each other’s successes. 

Next steps

As well as enabling conversation about day-to-day issues, the workshop also highlighted some bigger problems, widespread across the organisations. Armed with this knowledge the UX team at Microserve will now carry out user research with volunteers to uncover their barriers to volunteering and what changes they would like to see. Pooling feedback from Volunteering Leads and the Volunteers themselves Microserve will be able to create user-led solutions that improve the volunteering experience for all. 

If you are a charitable organisation with a volunteer workforce and you would like to benefit from our research and findings, or if you are interested in having Microserve facilitate a workshop for your team please get in touch.