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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.

We have moved…

Its business as usual, but from a new home!

Exciting things are happening at Tickbox and we wanted to share the news with you. Our existing client base has fuelled our growth and with Volunteer Makers expanding very quickly we have made the decision to be one step ahead and move into some new, slightly warmer and larger, offices. Snazzy eh!

We’ll still be based in south Bristol but in the comforting offices of the Tobacco Factory.

New officesFeel free to drop by for some freshly brewed coffee or for some lunch in the Tobacco Factory Café. It’s not an excuse to just go to the bar – we promise!

From November 18, 2016 we will no longer be operating from our old address (Baynton Road, Bristol, BS3 2EB).

Now pass me the scissors, lets get unpacked!

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DirtyCow moooo-ving to a server near you

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 15.51.14No you read that right. DirtyCow – or copy-on-write for those inclined – is the latest hidden vulnerability to hit unprotected servers and in some cases Linux driven smartphones.

What is DirtyCow?

DirtyCow, or officially called CVE–2016–5195, has actually been in existence for 9 years. It actively allows attackers to target permissions to allow for privilege escalation in the Linux Kernel. Ultimately handing over control to the attacker.

Phil Oester was able to detect this as it was used in an attempt to take over a server that he was running.

Although not as bad as previous exploits (Heartbleed, OpenSSL) security experts do say that if you have a patch available to update it anyway. Even though this is less likely to be exploited, Dirty Cow should still be taken seriously because there is evidence of abuse. Although, as its not your standard update to Linux packages, updating the Kernel does require a server reboot.

Here at Tickbox, and working with our hosting partners Rackspace, we actively seek to make sure our servers remain up to date, to control critical issues that can plague unprotected web servers. Our servers were patched, cleaned and back up and running within a blink of an eye!

If you have concerns about your hosting environment and/or need an agency to aid with any issues like this, please do contact us on 0117 325 0091 or email us support@tickboxmarketing.co.uk - and we will be more than happy to help. We will be able to cater for any needs be it web hosting or Service Level Agreements (SLA’s).

Volunteer Makers Training Programme

The Volunteer Revolution – Volunteer Makers

Volunteer Makers Training ProgrammeToday we are launching Volunteer Makers (VM) pilot training programme.  This is a training and technology programme for arts, heritage and charities that is a rethinking of how organisations are working with volunteers.

It is driven by the principles of the digital revolution, but taking this virtual engagement into the reality of real-world working together.

From January to March we are running a pilot programme, giving free support and training to a limited number of organisations to create or build on their volunteer engagement and work with the Volunteer Makers online platform.

This is part of a Volunteer Makers pilot project to inform demand for the platform before a national roll-out from July 2016. Our results will be shared with the sector.

Our first three workshops this week are with Frome Museum, Royal College of Music and Corinium Museum.

As a new model of volunteer engagement, Volunteer Makers is presenting the value of volunteering in perhaps a different way, which is making some organisations shift their thinking about how they work. It is based on research and development work we have carried out during the past 4 years.

It is necessary to think this way because of significant challenges for organisations with their future sustainability threatened due to funding cuts, while we also have significant changes in demographics – simply that the pool of people who volunteer have changed. Both factors are having a huge impact on organisations in arts, culture and heritage. No longer can there be a one-size-fits-all model of working with volunteers, instead organisations have to understand who is volunteering and how they want to get involved and how this will work best for their organisation.

The VM training programme follows a three-year digital engagement programme working with 40 museums which we ran for the South West Museum Development Partnership. Many of the tools we are using were developed during this programme.

Volunteer Makers App is the technology behind Museum Makers and was developed for Luton Culture as a standalone web platform nearly four years ago. The results were phenomenal, driving volunteer numbers up from 50 to over 1000 for one museum in Luton. 50 businesses also became Volunteer Makers providing valuable support to this museum. It has transformed the museum into a Peoples Museum and provided sustainability.

We are currently developing a cloud-based version to allow wider accessibility to the VM system for all organisations. Along with the technology, we are rolling-out bespoke support and training, which we are using during our pilot programme.

Volunteer Makers is making organisations think about their own needs and then consider the potential of volunteers from specific demographic profiles. Two examples of important volunteer profiles are Young People and Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are a significant demographic for arts, heritage and charities and need to be understood, here is why:

• Over 50s hold 80% of the nation’s wealth
• Increased giving by Boomers forecast to eventually double annual charitable bequests
• Boomers and Matures are the single largest consumer group and spend more than £5bn a year online (US)
• Nearly 33% do voluntary work (and its growing)
• Potential monetary value of over 50s’ voluntary work in UK is more than £5bn
Volunteer Makers is particularly useful for engaging Babyboomers as it is designed to let them take control and ownership of their volunteering while supporting the organisations overall strategy.

This rethinking of working with volunteers does present exciting opportunities. The Volunteer Makers vision is to galvanize communities of volunteers to make a real difference by getting them involved with organisations in ways that helps long-term sustainability of organisations, but maximise a volunteers’ potential.

Our work with our partners during the pilot Volunteer Makers programme will include:

- Analysis of the organisation’s current volunteer engagement
- A telephone interview with key staff
- A workshop with teams involved in volunteer engagement
- Provide a volunteer digital engagement annotated template
- Review Volunteer Digital Engagement Plan – after 6 to 9 months of implementation
Volunteer Makers enables organisations to maximise the potential of existing volunteer community and build on that. It does this by empowering volunteers to help drive an organisation’s vision. It increases the scope of what volunteers can do, whilst engaging them in a way that suits them. This increases the diversity and range of your supporter-base through greater access to volunteer opportunities, while widening the opportunity for participation – allowing you to target specific skillsets and demographics.

For further information please visit VolunteerMakers.org.