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Training courses & workshops

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.


Partners sought for volunteering programme

volsWe’re looking for partner organisations to receive free training and support during a pilot programme for a new and innovative model for engaging and growing volunteers for arts, charities and museums.

From January to March 2016 Tickbox are providing free support and training to a limited number of organisations to create or build on their Volunteer engagement.  This is part of our Volunteer Makers pilot project to understand demand for the new Volunteer Makers platform before a national roll-out from July 2016.

Volunteer Makers is an online volunteer engagement platform that helps organisations to harness the creative, social and intellectual capital within a volunteer community – adding economic, social and creative value for any organisation, as well as long-term sustainability.

The platform operates as a challenge database, automatically matching volunteer opportunities with skills and allowing extremely flexible levels of volunteering activity to encourage a wider volunteer community. It actively encourages volunteers to take ownership of their own volunteering activity and to help drive and support volunteering across the organisation.

For more information visit the Volunteer Makers website.

To take part in the programme, or to find out more, contact us here.

Digital Museums project concludes with forum finale

We’ve come to the end of an exciting and rewarding three-year project working with nearly 40 museums across the South West to help them develop digital strategies.

The SW Museum Digital Engagement Project, on behalf of the SW Museum Development Programme with funding from Arts Council England, will conclude with a special forum at Bristol’s M-Shed on 26th March, when we bring together some of the museums involved to share what we all learned.

It’s been a fascinating project, and we’ve learned as much  from the museums as they have from us, and we’ve seen many of the museums really take off with their digital engagement as a result.

We’ve also developed and tested a series of tools and measures for museums to develop, manage and track their digital engagement, which we will be using to support other museums going forward.

The forum will  recognise some of the museums where there’s been a digital transformation, as our “digital champions” pass on their experience.

Our work with the museum sector will continue with new projects and on our dedicated museum digital marketing blog – The Digital Museum.

Grassroots engagement in Ealing

MP Virendra Sharma with Claire Sully (pic by Dinesh Kargathra)

I’ve just spent a sunny Sunday delivering a talk on charity online engagement at an innovative charity fayre organised by Ealing Southall MP Virendra Sharma.

The event brought together a wide group of charities from his constituency – from Age Concern and Friends of the Earth to real grass-roots organisations operating in this culturally diverse area of London.

The fayre is the start of an ongoing initiative to bring together the more than 185 local charities to share knowledge and work together to make real improvements in the area.

Mr Sharma invited me to the event to talk about what we call the “digital gamechanger” – how the use of digital technology has ripped up the rule book for the way charities and community organisations engage with their supporters and each other.

The web – like this event – is all about communities of shared interest, and digital technology is the most effective tool empowering organisations to share.

It was great to see a real grassroots inititive like this taking shape, and we will be following its development closely over the coming months.

Social media and tourism

Tourism and social media seem to be the theme of the week this week, yesterday saw the topic covered at the annual Exmoor Tourism Partnership where I was a keynote speaker. This morning I was talking on the same subject on BBC Radio Somerset, and today it’s the major theme of Somerset’s Annual Tourism Conference.

I was asked the same question on radio as I was when giving my talk – why is social media so important for tourism.

The simple answer is “because it is how a huge proportion of holidaymakers make their decision on where to go”.

A recent survey suggested that nearly 50% of people who did any social media research when considering a holiday (and that’s most people these days), changed their mind about where to go as a result of social media.

That’s quite a stat – nearly half the people thinking of going somewhere then entirely changed their mind because of how people were talking about places online. You need to make sure they are talking about you.

Talk amongst friends

It’s actually not hard to see why that happens. When people simply search online, they find information about a place written by the place itself. Or they may find reviews by people they don’t know.

When they search on social, more often than not they are finding reviews from people they know – or at worst a friend of a friend.

How much more persuasive is a recommendation from a friend than an advert?

The beauty of social media is that you can, in effect, join in a conversation between friends about things that relate to your business.

Unlike and advert, that has to be watched or read, or a website that has to be searched for and found – your social media is there, live, in the conversation, when people are deciding where to go.

You’ve posted pictures of your guests having a great time (with their permission of course!) and tagged them in it. You’ve connected with networks that are interested in things you have – fishing, horses, cycling, rambling, good food etc – and given them useful information that they like to share. You’ve posted videos, you’ve tweeted about the river levels, or the weather, or things to see and do, or events going on in your town.

So when they think about where to take a break, you are there – on their own platform, in their living room or on their phone, at the right time in the right place.

Social media doesn’t require an enormous amount of technical knowledge, what it does require is careful planning, proper strategy, and – most of all – your voice with something interesting to say.