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Volunteeer Makers workshop_Snapping the Stiletto

Volunteer Makers start the year with stilettos, armour and dreaming spires

If 2017 was a busy year for Claire Sully and the Tickbox team as Volunteer Makers caught imaginations up and down the country, so 2018 has continued to build on that momentum.

Claire led Volunteer Makers workshops at the Royal Armories Leeds and with  Snapping the Stiletto, an Essex County Council inter-museum project.

These popular workshops explore how organisations can tap into the micro-volunteering revolution and how they can use the Volunteer Makers platform to achieve this for free for 6 months, followed after by low monthly fees.

Royal Armories is the home of the national arms and armour collection and is a must for militaria buffs as well as all those with an interest in our nation’s history.

Opened in 1996, the Leeds museum complements other Royal Armories’ sites at the Tower of London, and Fort Nelson, near Fareham.

From the weapons of yore to destroying the stereotypes of “Essex Girls”, the next assignment could not have been more different!

Snapping The Stiletto is a project that helps rebuff the “white mini-dress and high heels” cliché attached to Essex, by bringing the county’s museums together to uncover the real stories of strong and pioneering women.

Bringing these hidden stories to the public involved many volunteers, and this is where Volunteer Makers came in.

Museum Project Officer Pippa Smith said: “The training was really useful in bringing together the partners and giving us the time and space to reflect on where we all are with volunteering in our various organisations and how we can move forward.

“For me personally it showed me how the platform can work really well to provide a framework for what is quite a complicated project with a lot of partners.”

Another January highlight was when the Museum of Oxford launched its Volunteer Makers’ platform.

Its volunteer challenge scheme is designed to gamify working with the museum and encourages volunteers to fulfil a number of different roles and engage more closely with the institution’s work.

Cllr Dee Sinclair, who is on the board that runs the museum, summed up the Volunteer Makers’ ethos succinctly: “This is the perfect opportunity to expand volunteering to those who may not be able to regularly be involved. Volunteering can be flexible and can easily fit around your life.“

For more information on Volunteer Makers workshops with free use of the Volunteer Makers technology, get in touch.

Woman hand touch white tablet with blank empty screen

2017- still ticking all the boxes

Woman hand touch white tablet with blank empty screen

During 2017 our development team has been busy with several major site relaunches for prestige customers.  While we have also run a national programme of tech and training (Volunteer Makers) supported by Arts Council England.

The year began with a significant site rebuild for HorseWorld, one of the country’s largest equine charities.

HorseWorld wanted a site that was easy-on-the-eye and logical, briefs Tickbox has many years of experience at delivering.

The charity was keen to highlight the number of horses they are working with to rehabilitate (many after being rescued from mistreatment) and rehome.

After the site relaunch, animal adoptions (a key fundraiser for HorseWorld) doubled and overall web traffic to all the site’s animal pages shows a steep increase.

Tickbox also worked with the South West Federation of Museums and Art Galleries – a large group of independent heritage organisations across the 7 counties of the West Country.

The aim was to deliver South West Fed a mobile-friendly, modern and responsive site which cut down administration work significantly for their core staff.

By allowing members to join and renew membership of the Federation online, administrative time has been reduced on this task from 30 minutes for a renewal to 5.

The uploading of news, jobs and events has been simplified, meaning SW Fed staff now can update these sectors in significantly less time.

Further developments will make the site even more member-facing, with the use of Tickbox’s Volunteer Makers platform to match volunteers to opportunities, and online blogging to share experiences and expertise.

Another major client undergoing a site overhaul was Arthur Johnson & Sons auctioneers.

This Nottingham company runs the UK’s largest set of auction rooms, from the city’s old cattle market site. It is among the largest companies in its sector.

Arthur Johnson sought a more responsive and feature-rich site, that would deliver big benefits to customers viewing it on mobile and tablet platforms – who make up more than half the site users.

The many back-end,  design and layout changes Tickbox undertook mean the BidMaster online bidding system used by Arthur Johnson integrates smoothly with the content Management system used – giving customers an improved, faster auction experience and saving staff administrative headaches.

The clearer more modern site should help Arthur Johnson maintain their position at the forefront of progressive auction houses.

Delivering these major projects hasn’t been all, for Tickbox and there are still major site relaunches planned in the near future for the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

2018 is a year in which Tickbox Marketing is set to keep ticking the boxes with its site building and development work.

Volunteer Makers National Conference

Riding the wave of the volunteering revolution

Volunteer Makers ConferenceTickbox has long been involved in creating innovative technology ideas with organisations for and with arts, heritage, charities and community organisations.

As a marketing and technology company we strove to create a digital platform along with innovative training tools that could harness the know-how of hundreds of thousands of volunteers – many “baby boomers”,  rich in time and expertise, millennials with a sense of purpose looking for skills and experience and the missing middle (Generation X) who want to support through giving their time.

Volunteer Maker evolved from these efforts working collaboratively with our partners from the heritage sector – a bespoke tool for expanding organisations’ volunteering base and connecting with their supporter community.

In 2017, Tickbox’s “baby” expanded from small, local networks and – with the involvement of Arts Council England – has taken off across the country. We have even picked up our first interest from Wales and Scotland.

This year we saw over 60 organisations, including councils, museums and galleries take part in our Pioneer Programme for Volunteer Makers, breaking the target we were set, in a total of 20 training workshops held up-and-down the country.

We also delivered 9 seminars and made 4 presentations to regional conferences, and at the sector’s national conference, we hosted a fringe event for 58 delegates.

Interest has never been higher and it is growing, with local government now joining the heritage sector in making enquiries about VM.

For Tickbox founder Claire Sully, it has meant a year on the road, traversing the UK to speak to museums as far apart as Falmouth Art Gallery and the Tyne and Wear Museums group.

Working with Royal Navy Museums even gives VM a Pioneer in Northern Ireland in the shape of HMS Caroline.

For Claire, spreading the world on the smart use of volunteering, has meant the opportunity to visit museums as diverse as the National Holocaust Centre, the World Rugby Hall of Fame, the Fleet Air Arm Museum and the Museum of London (to mention just a few).  Claire says:

“It’s been a year of spectacular growth for Volunteer Makers, with organisations all over the country seeing its value, buying into the ethos and spreading the word.

“And the good news is 2018 looks like being even bigger with networks of organisations expressing a keen interest in the programme training, model and technology”.

For more information about the Volunteer Makers model, training and tech click here.  For our Volunteer Makers Pioneers community, click here.

Tickbox launches largest national programme on Future of Volunteering for museums

The programme launches at the Museum of London in January

The programme launches at the Museum of London in January

A two-year Arts Council England-funded programme to help museums attract the next generation of volunteers is launching with two regional seminars in London and the North West in January.

Volunteer Makers is a pioneering model developed with museums to meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing volunteer landscape.

It blends volunteering with public participation, audience development, marketing and digital to grow, manage and inspire a wider, more diverse and active support community for your museum.

The programme will engage with over 500 museums over the next 18 months, including 30 one-to-one workshops and a series of regional seminars.


All programme activity is free to participating accredited museums in England.  A Volunteer Makers Pioneers programme – will measure impact and research of volunteering in the 21st Century – is working alongside the national training programme and is partnering with larger museums and museum networks.

The Volunteer Makers programme launches in January with a Future of Volunteering seminar for London and the South East, held at the Museum of London on 12th January.

This will be followed by the North West seminar at Lancashire Conservation Studios in Preston on January 23rd.

The seminars are aimed at museum leadership, marketing, curators and volunteer managers. Further seminars are to be announced.

Tickbox MD and Volunteer Makers programme director Claire Sully said: “The Museum sector is leading the way in developing innovative models for engaging their communities and we are delighted to be at the heart of this, working across the national Museum Development Network.

“We believe this work will help museums as they connect with and grow a wider, more diverse, support base that will help sustain and grow the sector going forward, and will also prove important for other sectors too”.


Matthew Hick, Chair of the Heritage Volunteering Network said: “HVG is delighted to be running this event with Volunteer Makers. Both our organisations share the same values and we see the Future of Volunteering workshops as an opportunity for volunteer managers within our sector to network, share best practice and develop new ways of working. We also hope that this event will be the first steps towards establishing a support network for our regional Heritage Volunteering Groups.”

“Museum Development North West is pleased to be working alongside Volunteer Makers on this event. Our regional volunteer development programme complements the work they do and we’re looking forward to seeing how we can continue to work together in the future.”  Alex Bird AMA, Sector Development Officer.

Further info for London and South East seminar: http://volunteermakers.org/national-volunteer-engagement-training-programme/volunteer-makers-london-south-east-seminar/

To book NW seminar: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-future-of-volunteering-volunteer-makers-north-west-seminar-tickets-30041949279

Full details of the Volunteer Makers, and how to book, visit http://volunteermakers.org or contact hello@volunteermakers.org @VolunteerMakers.


We are recruiting: Web Developer/Software Engineer

Web Developer / Software Engineer

We are in the process of launching a major new API-based web application that has already attracted national recognition, government funding and partnerships with major arts and heritage organisations and we need to find the right people to come on board as we grow the company and roll out this exciting new project.

You’ll be joining us at a transformational time for the business and we need someone who can match our ambition and deliver exceptional quality work, to deadline and with attention to detail.

About Tickbox 

We are a Bristol-based development agency, founded in 2006 and specialising in the volunteer, charity and arts and heritage sectors.

Our clients include major international charities and national arts bodies. We’re a small, friendly team of specialists, but looking to expand as our core web application continues to gain investment and recognition.

This is an opportunity to join a business as it expands and we’re looking for someone who can grow with us and be in at the start of what promises to be an exciting and rewarding journey.

What we are looking for

We’re looking for a mid-level PHP developer to help deliver regular support work and PHP development. Experience of working with PHP frameworks such as Laravel and Symfony would be a significant advantage.

The job would involve supporting existing clients’ websites as well as web development (mainly back-end but some front-end coding may be required).

We’re looking for someone who is self-motivated, creative and an excellent communicator within a team. We encourage you to share and help develop creative ideas and are looking for someone who has the ambition to develop themselves and their role to match our plans for growth over the coming years.

As a small team at a point of significant growth, we need someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and embraces the challenge of playing a key role in helping make something special happen.

What we offer:

  • A competitive salary
  • Flexible working hours, including home working (by agreement)
  • 25 days paid holiday
  • Structured career development

Job Requirements

  • Minimum 2 years of professional software development experience with a focus on PHP and LAMP.
  • Knowledge of web technologies, including CSS3, HTML5, jquery, Javascript, responsive web development and other front-end frameworks.
  • Strong test-driven approach to development.
  • You must also have experience with version control (we use Git).

If this sounds like you, please get in touch and tell us more about yourself by emailing your CV and a brief profile to jobs@tickboxmarketing.co.uk