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Tickbox rolling out museum volunteer engagement programme nationally

hanfdsBuilding on an extensive digital museum training programme in the South West and a pilot volunteer engagement programme, we are looking to roll-out a national Volunteer Makers Engagement Training and Support Programme.

Tickbox will be building on the Volunteer Makers training and development pilot programme we ran from Jan-April 2016.  This proved demand for our volunteer engagement development model and follows a successful 3-year digital engagement project run for the SW Museum Development Programme where we worked with over 40 museums across the South West to help them create a digital engagement strategy.

It also builds on extensive experience working with Luton Culture to create the technology behind the Museum Makers initiative, which helped build a substantial and transformational volunteer community for Wardown Park Museum.

Tickbox is now looking to roll out the programme to museums nationally from October 2016.

Museums in the the volunteer engagement programme benefit from:

  • Increased collaboration with communities and business
  • Increased diversity and skill-sets in the volunteer base
  • Increased sustainability from volunteering
  • Increased organisation-wide understanding of targeted digital engagement strategy, supported by appropriate tools
  • Sharing best practice in latest volunteer engagement thinking<

Volunteer Makers – a development model for engaging volunteers – is a model for bringing volunteers together in teams and communities to support a museum in a way that suits the volunteer as well as the museum.

It is taking into account changing demographics, affecting how and why people volunteer – along with reduced funding in the sector. The model also looks to widen and diversify the volunteer base for museums, as well as increasing the impact and effectiveness of volunteering and the ability for museums to measure this impact.

Tickbox’s national volunteer engagement programme supports demand in the sector evidenced in their pilot programme, which is summarised below:

  • Museums need support in growing the volunteer offer from purely operational or ad-hoc event-driven activities into a model that offers support, interaction and sustainability across the whole range of museum activities
  • There is a need to develop strategies and models to target specific volunteer profiles and demographics
  • Museums faced challenge to effectively strategise relationship building with their volunteer
  • All organisations felt they had lower than optimum numbers of volunteers
  • Volunteer engagement strategies were not embedded organisation-wide, and tended to be centralised and carried out ad-hoc
  • Museums found it difficult to  measure the value of volunteering to their organisation
  • Museums found it challenging to match volunteer skills with specific strategic needs in order to get the most out of and improve the experience of existing volunteers and increase opportunities and appeal to a more diverse range of potential volunteers.

Volunteer Programme Director, Claire Sully said,

“Already we have had 3 major museum networks interested in working with us.  We hope our work will put museums at the forefront of innovative volunteer engagement, which could work also for other sectors, such as arts and charities.”

For further information, http://volunteermakers.org/.

Community driven websites just launched for Yarlington and Croscombe

yarlingtonEDITHere are two recently released community websites we have done.

We find these kind of sites particularly rewarding as they involve much more than creating a website, it is bringing a community together to think through a place brand and vision.

Yarlington village for branding, website and training/support: http://www.yarlington-somerset.co.uk/

Croscombe Village Hall for website:


“Claire has been a dream to work with and if anyone is looking for a recommendation or reference for Tickbox and Claire I would hand both out like confetti. The village all agree it has been a huge pleasure working with her.”

Lady Amanda Ellingworth


Hitting the right notes for St Peter’s Hospice

Tickbox is delighted to be supporting our clients St Peter’s Hospice at their fundraising concert of classical music at Bristol’s Colston Hall.

The event, which features pieces from Dvorak and Shostakovich played by the Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra, is raising money for Bristol’s only adult hospice.

A specially-written piece will also be performed by the St Peter’s Hospice Choir – led by their music therapist, Jane Lings – on Saturday 15th November.

Tickbox have paid for a notice to appear in the concert programme, reminding audience members that they can donate to and support St Peter’s directly through their website.

We have worked with the Bristol-based charity since 2012, and we developed and maintain their website.

The site, built on our charity-sector platform Hummingbird, has helped St Peters to substantially raise their income through applications such as the interactive tribute page and other online-giving streams.

Conal Dougan, Digital Marketing Co-ordinator for St Peters’, said: “The website is very well regarded, and we often receive enquiries from other charities about it.

“In the first year of the website, page views went up 42% and visit duration went up 41%. Mobile usage almost doubled, and our income increased substantially.

“Tickbox provide ongoing support, allowing us to develop the website further.”

Tickets for the fundraising concert can be bought from the Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra’s website.


Fundraising Concert for St Peter’s Hospice. Saturday, 15th November 2014


Venue: Colston Hall
William Goodchild, David Ogden<
Lorna James (Soprano)Leigh Melrose (Bass)Alun Rhys-Jenkins (Tenor)

Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”
Orff – Carmina Burana
Shostakovich – Festive Overture

St Peter’s Hospice launches on Hummingbird

Our latest Hummingbird CMS website has just launched for St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol.

St Peter’s is Bristol’s only adult hospice, and one of the most high-profile charitable organisations in the city.

Working closely with the team at St Peter’s, we’ve designed and developed a website to help them more effectively engage with and grow their important online community, as well as support patients and families affected by life-limiting conditions.

Within the first couple of days of launch, St Peter’s were already reporting noticeable efficiencies in the way they collect online donations, and how they can improve engagement with online donors.

The Hospice is the latest charity to adopt Tickbox’s specialist Content Management System, Hummingbird.

Hummingbird CMS is a powerful, flexible system designed and developed on open source platforms over the last six years. The CMS is the result of our long-term collaboration with major charities, museums and arts organisations to directly support their digital engagement work.

It supports online giving, events and membership management, e-commerce and integration with a huge suite of specialist charity and fundraising platforms – all seamless integrated with social media.

The latest version of Hummingbird also delivers fully responsive design to ensure our website work seamlessly across all platforms, including mobile. It is a trusted, scalable, customisable and integrates with other open standard platforms.

We’re delighted to have helped deliver this new site for St Peter’s and are looking forward to working with them to help support the fantastic engagement work they do across the Bristol region.

Immaculate community theatre and popular TV culture history lesson served with dinner in Bristol’s alternative “West End”

By Claire Sully, community engagement expert and festival organiser

I had an unexpected treat last night.  My friend Annie took me to see:  Fanny and Jonnie Cradock Cook the Great American Songbook at the Hen and Chicken, Southville.

Annie’s friend is theatre producer Sheila Hannon.  I met Sheila at the entrance of the venue – she was unassuming as she sat there checking people in.  Although she had no idea who I was when she met me (and I had no idea who she was at that point) but she took my hand in both of hers, stood up, and gave me the warmest greeting, saying how pleased she was to meet me.  

In a fleeting moment, as she held my hand for what seemed like a long time and looked me full on in the eyes with the warmest and most welcoming smile, I felt as if I had come along as the show’s special guest.

This reminded me of stories I’ve heard about famously charming people, like Bill Clinton, whose charisma and exuberance was irresistible to those he met – often people would say “he made me feel like the important one!”

At that point all I knew was that Sheila was the person on the door, ticking off names, but somehow I knew in an instant I had met an interesting person who I would like to meet again.

This production, starring local actress and jazz singer Kate McNab and John Telfer (who  plays Alan Franks in The Archers) as Fanny and Johnnie Cradock, is a musical show that has comedy, skewed cookery demonstrations, popular cultural history and great music while the audience are served dinner  - a two-course Abigail party- esque delight featuring Prawn Cocktail and Chicken a la Falklands (vegetarian option available to Fanny’s digust!).

So here we were having dinner in a pub whilst watching theatre at its very best.   What heartened me was that the audience were not the usual types that I’m used to seeing in theatres or classical concerts. Refreshingly just ordinary Bristol folk, who fill the streets, shops, pubs and football matches in the local area.  

This resonated with me as  I was still feeling bruised from attending a recent Nigel Kennedy concert at the Colston Hall where all hell was let loose because I dared to breath and utter five hushed words  to my companion while Nigel was improvising  a lively piece of music with his fellow musicians.

What I experienced at the Nigel Kennedy concert was verbal aggression from fellow concert goers (two people) who were outraged at me expressing a reaction not ordained by the concert-goer rule book that no one tells you about until you put a foot wrong.

My spoken words, while Nigel played, were expressing enthusiasm for the music, but that wasn’t of any consequence to anyone as I ended up having to move my seat and feeling miserable and oppressed.

The irony was that I was actually watching a “rule-breaking” musician “of the people” who has tried to popularise classical music and open it out to a wider audience other than those who felt the need to enforce stifling and restrictive audience rules via an all-exclusive etiquette.

Incidentally, Nigel Kennedy’s concert was deemed at such a level that even the front of house staff felt the need to be subversive with flyers promoting a forthcoming Julian Clary show.  

One Colston Hall employee told me and my companion on our way out that they weren’t allowed to put Julian’s flyers with Nigel Kennedy’s programme (orders from above),  but if we wanted a flyer he would get one for us – all spoken in hushed tone to us alone.  

I guess myself and my companion must have been singled out as  people who could be told that Julian Clary was soon to be performing there.

But that was not a problem in the Hen and Chicken, and for this show I felt I was experiencing community spirit, being among extended family from different generations enjoying a show and a meal together and a bit of a sing song.  

The actors – who were top class, both great musicians/singers and actors – interacted with the audience, got us laughing, singing and enjoying a fine hearty meal.

So I was intrigued by this production that had returned following a sell-out run and even an appearance on the BBC’s The Hairy Bikers.  

The writing was clever, weaving in comedy, social history and biographical details of these eccentric characters.   The actors gave us a snapshot into the lives of these contradictory people, who said so much in a glance or lines littered with double meaning and innuendo.  

But the backdrop to the performance included a wonderful tapestry of American musical song that ingeniously helped to build the picture of these TV icons from the past, while being a brilliant comedy device – Kate McNab aka Fanny singing “I’ve got you under my skin” in all serious and emotional intensity – whilst her hands up a chicken’s backside was side-splittingly funny and not to be forgotten.

So who wrote this extraordinary piece – that elicited the very best performances from such accomplished actors?  It was Sheila and no mention of her name anywhere!  You can read more here about this production and Sheila’s theatre company. More dates are planned, thank goodness.

I’ll leave you with the words of a very famous continuity error – voiced in this show by “Johnny”: “… and I hope all your donuts look like Fanny’s”.