Help from Home

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CHANGE THE WORLD IN JUST YOUR PYJAMAS!

Help From Home’s Response to UK Government’s Giving White Paper

June 2011

Introduction

Giving White PaperThe UK Government issued it’s Giving White Paper on May 23rd, 2011 that supported and outlined it’s plans for the Big Society with aims to encourage higher levels of giving and volunteering throughout the country.

Help From Home is a grass roots initiative that promotes and encourages people to participate in easy, no commitment microvolunteering actions that take no more than 30 minutes to complete and can be conducted on the go, on demand and on your own terms.

In this context, this response will be focussing on areas within the White Paper where microvolunteering and the projects that Help From Home is currently delivering, can and are addressing the issues raised in the Paper.

Responses

Page 6; Executive Summary: Making it easier to give

Helping giving fit into everyday life

• Encouraging new ways to give money – through ATM giving and ‘Round Pound’ schemes to give small amounts when paying by card; and support for pilots of flexible, self-managed volunteering platforms.

Help From Home has drawn up a proposed project called ‘Volunteer Anywhere’, which is designed to take microvolunteering into many sectors of society. It can be used on an individual basis or as part of a team, that is administered by an overall team co-ordinator. Part of it’s core function will be to provide volunteering opportunities of a very flexible nature, with the addition of a facility for the team co-ordinator in the team mode to approve and then add an appropriate cause aligned microvolunteering action to the team’s database. In essence then, it is a self managed volunteering platform where individuals and teams can choose which volunteering actions to participate in and from there, encourage others within the same environment to participate in more activities.

Help From Home’s ‘Do Good’ card scheme virally encourages people to describe their volunteering actions within in a chain of actions that can be tracked around the world. It’s self managed as people are contributing their own volunteering acts of their own volition.

Page 9; Introduction: The role for government

We also need to recognise that the barriers that people and organisations face – and the motivations they have for giving – do not apply equally across the board. So we need to use different approaches for different

people or sectors. This is why, for example, we are supporting ideas that focus on major philanthropists (for whom lack of money is a less significant barrier than for many) alongside initiatives designed to encourage and facilitate everyday giving of small amounts; we have encouraged and want to encourage in future those ideas that are designed to engage people at different life-stages – from primary school children to pensioners.

Currently, Help From Home provides projects that target microvolunteering actions to people at different life stages.

‘Help From School’ encourages teachers to promote responsible citizenship within the parameters of the National Curriculum to students aged between 7 – 16 years old, by engaging students in microvolunteering activities within the actual class lesson. There can’t be many schemes out there that achieve this!

‘Help from Home’ encourages homeowners from 18 years of age upwards to form Home Volunteering Groups, where people can microvolunteer with other people in a convivial friendly environment.

‘Help From Work’ project provides 3 different packages to encourage people to microvolunteer in their workplace, including one where workers can volunteer during their lunch break.

‘Help From Seniors’ project takes microvolunteering into the senior citizen environment and compliments microvolunteering activities with the ‘beneficial stimuli’ that a senior citizen could gain from participating in such an action.

Page 9; Introduction: The role for government

This fresh approach also needs to reflect important trends that are already impacting on the way in which people give and that look likely to have bigger impacts in future. For example, the number of cash transactions is declining, and the importance and relevance of social media and the internet continues to increase.

Help From Home’s proposed ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project includes as it’s main web interface a social media action feed, where people’s actions and activity on the site are recorded and commented on, in much the same way as the Facebook format does. Photos, ‘likes’ and web links can be added to comments as well, thus increasing the social interactivity between participants and so induce an environment of greater interest in volunteering.

Page 10; Introduction: The need for public investment

A Social Action Fund, which will provide funding to:

a. schemes that will expand giving in priority areas and groups (such as the baby-boomer generation who are retired, or approaching retirement, and young people who have completed National Citizen Service). We

want to hear your ideas for programmes, and would particularly welcome proposals from organisations that have a matched funding commitment

Help From Home’s ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project is designed to take volunteering into so many different sectors including the baby boomer generation or young people who have completed National Citizen Service. Indeed we received an enquiry from Bolton Lads and Girls Club, one of the pilot projects testing out the NCS this Summer, to include microvolunteering in to their programme. Help From Home is interested in receiving expressions of interest in collaborating on it’s ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project in an effort to combine resources and experience, to submit a proposal for the Social Action Fund. In connection with this, Help From Home has already drawn up a wireframe template, completed a Business Plan and compiled a 3 year financial projection for the project – all available on request.

Page 10; Introduction: The need for public investment

b. schemes that have the potential for delivering a significant uplift in levels of time, money and reciprocity given – we want to help the most promising ideas to scale up, grow and become self-sustaining in the longer term. The fund will invite ideas from a wide range of organisations and will include:

° game-changing innovations – for ideas that have the potential for national impact

Help From Home has been instrumental in redefining what is accepted as volunteering in the UK market, ever since it came online to the public back in December 2008. Microvolunteering is recognized as a game changer when it comes to encouraging people to participate in volunteering activities. Help From Home has been instrumental in encouraging around 50 high street volunteer centres to promote microvolunteering as a one-off or ongoing project (a year ago, none were promoting microvolunteering). It has also been instrumental in encouraging 4 national volunteer networks to create brand new categories for microvolunteering or accept microvolunteering actions on their database ie. vinspired, i-volunteer, Volunteering England, Jewish Volunteer Network (a year ago, none were promoting microvolunteering). Help From Home is considered as a leading provider of microvolunteering opportunities, not only in the UK but also in the English speaking world. Help From Home is already contributing to changing the game on a national level when it comes to the voluntary sector and is looking forward to continuing this trend and take it to a higher level.

Page 11; Introduction: The need for public investment

Separately, the Community First programme will provide £80 million of investment to encourage more social action in neighbourhoods in England with significant deprivation and low social capital; we are continuing to fund a number of initiatives and services – such as educational programmes on giving in schools – that are already providing real benefits.

‘Help From School’ encourages teachers to promote responsible citizenship and giving within the parameters of the National Curriculum to students aged between 7 – 16 years old, by engaging students in microvolunteering activities within the actual class lesson. Help From Home is interested in receiving expressions of interest in collaborating on this project in order to expand it’s reach and tap in to the government’s interest in this sector.

Page 12; Introduction: New opportunities and reasons to participate

The Department of Health’s Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund is also supporting proposals to provide great opportunities for people to participate. It will provide two distinct grant-funding schemes:

° A local grant scheme aimed at supporting volunteering in health and social care.

The Help From Seniors project takes microvolunteering into the senior citizen environment and compliments microvolunteering activities with the ‘beneficial stimuli’ that a senior citizen could gain from participating in such an action. In fact we’ve received enquiries from Shaw Trust and Cardiff Institute for the Blind to incorporate microvolunteering into their programmes. Because microvolunteering is not time or location defined, such activities can be taken into the health and social care sectors and tailored to provide the correct ‘beneficial stimuli’ for the participants. Indeed, tailor made ’cause aligned action lists’ is a service already provided by Help From Home, although none yet have been provided for a specific organisation within the health and social care sector. Help From Home is interested in receiving expressions of interest in collaborating on this project to combine resources and experience so as to provide schemes that fit within the remit the Department of Health’s Health and Social Care Volunteering Fund.

Help From Home is also encouraged to see itself and the topic of microvolunteering being featured in the NHS / Dept of Health Dignity Champions Action Pack as part of the Dignity in Care campaign, meaning to imply that the benefits of microvolunteering actions within a health and social care environment have already been recognised.

Page 12; Introduction: New opportunities and reasons to participate

The Department for Work and Pensions announced in November 2010 that the Government is providing £1 million to help older people keep active and make the most of their later lives. This money is available for local community groups or organisations within 30 selected areas to bid for small grants of £250–£3,000. Each local community group within the selected areas will recruit at least one Active at 60 Community Agent, who will volunteer their time to help motivate, encourage and organise people within their own communities to become more active – physically, socially and mentally.

The Help From Seniors project has identified 40 microvolunteering actions that can be included within a meaningful activities programme that could add a whole new purpose and meaning to someone’s day. Help From Home is interested in receiving expressions of interest in collaborating on this project to combine resources and experience so as to provide schemes that fit within the remit of the Active at 60 programme.

Page 12; Introduction: New opportunities and reasons to participate

Age UK and the Department for Work and Pensions have been in discussion about a new approach to later life. This puts an emphasis on promoting active later life and taking forward the Big Society aims of social action and community empowerment.

Please refer to previous point made about the Help From Seniors project.

Page 13; Making it easier to give

…..there need to be opportunities for giving that fit with people’s lifestyles and interests – that make giving as easy as possible.

We see three elements to this:

• New opportunities to give as part of everyday life, and in ways that help to overcome some of the biggest barriers to giving such as lack of spare time or money.

Microvolunteering completely fits the bill for breaking down the barriers to people giving their time as they can be completed within 1 – 30 minutes. Quite literally, microvolunteering can be conducted for example on the number 39 bus, doctor’s waiting room or whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, ie. it can be participated on the go, on demand and on a person’s own terms. The type of microvolunteering opportunities that Help From Home promotes, on the whole, involves no skill, no CRB checks, little or no commitment, are more inclusive for disabled or disadvantaged people and needs no or hardly any training to participate. In short, it’s an ideal type of volunteering that will fit in to almost anybody’s lifestyle or interests. To demonstrate it’s flexibility, Help From Home also has a vision of taking microvolunteering into prisons, hospitals and on airline flights – something that traditional volunteering would be hard put to accomplish.

Page 18; Making it easier to give; Giving time flexibly

Efficiently matching people with time or resources to spare with organisations that need them, at a time and place that is right for both, is a challenge and an enormous opportunity. This is particularly true for people

who lead busy or unpredictable lives, and for organisations that have fluctuations in their need for help.

Help From Home is already matching up people with time or resources to spare, with organisations that need them in an environment that is completely flexible for both volunteer and organisation. Microvolunteering can be completed ‘on the go, on demand and on a person’s own terms’ – just the right ingredients for people who lead busy or unpredictable lives. The ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project continues this ethos and provides a more socially interactive environment coupled with the supply of more informative data on the very flexible microvolunteer actions.

Page 18; Making it easier to give; Giving time flexibly

We will use the Social Action Fund to support self-managed volunteering pilots in a number of areas and with a number of partners, to evaluate the market, and assess the potential to scale up different approaches to regional or potentially national levels.

As mentioned previously for the entry on Page 6, the ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project is administered via a self managed website. Because of the very flexible nature of microvolunteering, it has huge potential to take volunteering into so many environments, not normally associated with volunteering and also not being explored by anybody else (as far as we know). A study in to the impact of microvolunteering was conducted in May, 2011 by Help From Home and shows that on the face of it, crowdsourcing thousands of people to perform a very tiny action that in of itself would seem as though it is not contributing anything worthwhile, would appear to be actually creating significant impact. Help From Home is interested in receiving expressions of interest in collaborating on this project to combine resources and experience in order to provide a suitable idea submission for the Social Action Fund.

Page 19; Making it easier to give; Finding opportunities to give time online

We want flexible volunteering platforms to be part of this and have brokered conversations between Do-it and Slivers-of-Time to explore ways of making Do-it opportunities accessible with Slivers. We hope to demonstrate how this link is working at the Giving Summit.

Please refer to the 2 previous entries for Page 18. Basically, Help From Home and the proposed ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project deliver a flexible volunteering platform, where the microvolunteering actions are available 24/7, 365 days a year, on demand, on the go and on a person’s own terms – how much more flexible can you get? Indeed, the actions and Help From Home / ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ platform would appear to be of an even more flexible nature than the Slivers of Time initiative being explored with the government.

Page 32; Making it more compelling to give; New social norms

We want to encourage new, sustainable social norms around giving. Our approach involves:

• supporting programmes to encourage giving among people at different life-stages. For example, in schools and universities, the workplace and among the newly retired

• building a culture of participation among schoolchildren

Help From Home already promotes microvolunteering at different life-stages. For example, it has produced a free downloadable Teachers Resource Pack that encourages responsible citizenship via microvolunteering actions that can actually be participated within the class room and class lesson. Try doing that with traditional volunteering! With regards to the workplace, Help From Home has provided 3 different free volunteering packages that enables employees to volunteer without leaving their office – these three being ‘Luncbreak Volunteering’, ‘One Hour Volunteering’ and ‘Two Hour Volunteering’. Downtimes can now become productive as employees earn CSR ‘brownie points’ for their organisation. All the actions are also suitable for ‘silver surfers’, be them newly retired or in a residential care home. The ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project is equally at home with school children, workplace employees and the newly retired and indeed will expand on the website that Help From Home has developed by providing a more socially interactive environment which will inspire more volunteering, friendly competition between participants via leaderboards and social impact reporting tools.

Page 34; Education and young people; What are we doing to support it?

Many of our consultation respondees stressed the importance of learning about giving at a young age if we are to create a social norm to give. We want to show our commitment to that by providing match funding for schools-based giving programmes, via the Social Action Fund.

As mentioned in the previous point, Help From Home via it’s ‘Help From School’ project already encourages school children, be it via a class lesson or after school clubs, to engage in giving their time at an early age. The ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project extends this by enabling school children to use social media formats (which they should be already familiar with) to comment on and inspire others to volunteer. When they see how easy it is to benefit worthy causes, it will not only develop a deeper understanding of moral behaviour, but also potentially inspire them to look further into the volunteering arena. Help From Home is interested in receiving expressions of interest in collaborating on this project to combine resources and experience in order to provide a suitable idea submission for the Social Action Fund.

Page 40; Giving in the workplace: What are we doing to support it?

We want to celebrate and recognise businesses and other employers that already do so much to enable employees to give. We also want to encourage those who could do more to do so.

In Every Business Commits we set out how businesses can support the communities they operate in, including steps to:

• encourage volunteering and philanthropy, and make your company’s time, skills and resources available to neighbourhood groups, local arts

• help employees learn how to get involved in social action

Please refer to previous points on the Help From Home’s ‘Employee Volunteering’ and ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ projects. It basically encourages people in the workplace to get involved in social action and volunteering actions, when and where otherwise they wouldn’t be able to do it, eg. actually in the workplace itself during their lunch break.

Page 43; Better support for providers of opportunities to give: Impact reporting

We know that impact reporting can seem daunting and expensive for many organisations. We are also aware that organisations want to articulate the benefits of their activities in a clear, comparable, numerically robust way. Over the summer, we will work with our strategic partners, charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises, trusts and foundations, the private sector, investors and public service commissioners to identify what would help make impact reporting simpler, easier and cheaper for organisations, and more accessible to philanthropists, donors, investors and commissioners.

The ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project is specifically designed to deliver exportable impact reports for CSR documents in an automated real time environment, either for individuals or as a team. It will provide stats on, for example:

- time spent microvolunteering

- what the motivation factors are behind microvolunteering actions

- which worthy causes were supported

- how many worthy causes supported

- an indication of the actual impact achieved

- etc, etc

It will also provide user feedback on each action as well as the facility to document activity via photos and video.

Page 45; Better support for providers of opportunities to give: Supporting innovation and entrepreneurship

Regalo.

The Big Society Network has announced that it will establish a new centre for promoting innovation in giving. Technology offers new opportunities to give and is being harnessed in new and exciting ways. However, this growing market does not have a focal point for research and development to help it grow.

Information from the Big Society website suggests that it is expected that the Centre will develop insight, invention and application across four key areas:

- Giving through technology – (microvolunteering already delivers this through websites and smartphones)

- Motivations and barriers to giving – (microvolunteering strips away the barriers to giving)

- Showcasing and advocacy

- Demonstrating the value of giving – (the Volunteer Anywhere’ project will provide social impact reporting)

Page 49; What happens now?

In particular, we want to continue to hear ideas for increasing the giving of time and money, and we encourage those people with ideas to apply to the Social Action Fund or to make suggestions for, and submit entries to, the Challenge Prizes once these funds open for applications.

Help From Home is interested in receiving expressions of interest in collaborating on any of it’s projects to combine resources and experience in order to provide a suitable idea submission for the Social Action Fund.

Page 52; Annex – Consultation Summary: Question 2 ‘Cost free’ giving

We asked for ideas for ‘cost-free’ giving. Respondents were excited about the potential of ‘cost-free’ giving technologies to generate extra funds and asked government to continue to promote these platforms.

One of the criterias for the type of action that Help From Home promotes is that it must involve little or no cost to participate in, whilst at the same time benefiting worthy causes. Help From Home is encouraged to see that the government is likely to continue promoting platforms that provide ‘cost free’ giving, of which Help From Home is one of them.

Page 54; Annex – Consultation Summary: Question 5 Giving time in non-traditional ways

We wanted to hear how internet volunteering platforms, like www.slivers.com, can help people to give time in non-traditional ways.

Please refer to the answer for the points made for Page 19 of the Giving White Paper.

Page 54; Annex – Consultation Summary: Question 5 Giving time in non-traditional ways

“Volunteering via the internet can be a great way to donate time, especially for those who find it difficult to leave their home to volunteer or live in remote areas. Many roles are suitable to virtual volunteering, including website design, campaigning or even teaching in India’s poorest slums via Skype. There is also the potential to showcase different types of volunteering via the internet that are more flexible and fit into people’s lifestyles, for example residential, micro and remote volunteering, as well as offering taster experiences for those new to volunteering.” YouthNet

Help From Home welcomes the inclusion of the term microvolunteering in the White Paper, something that it has been arguably instrumental in putting on the voluntary sector radar over the past 3 years. According to the description immediately above, microvolunteering satisfies every single one of the criteria mentioned.

Help From Home is also pleased to see the NCVO’s and The Guardian Newspaper’s analysis of the White Paper welcome the inclusion of microvolunteering as part of the Governments Big Society vision.

Page 54; Annex – Consultation Summary: Question 6 Ensuring that giving is inclusive

We also wanted to hear how we could ensure that giving is inclusive to all. All the responses wanted to ensure that opportunities to give were inclusive, but some responses highlighted particular barriers to achieving this. For example:

• while new technologies enabled some groups to get involved, there were some groups who were unable to benefit, such as the digitally excluded

Microvolunteering is basically inclusive to all, as the myriad of actions featured on the Help From Home website demonstrate, as they include some that can be participated online or offline. Help From Home has visions of microvolunteering being taken into sectors of society which would not normally be associated with volunteering, eg. prisons, hospitals, the housebound, blind people. It is currently promoting people to volunteer within settings that are also not traditionally associated with volunteering, eg. employee lunch breaks, residential care homes, school class lessons. The bottom line is that Help From Home appears to be already delivering volunteering opportunities to those people that are traditionally excluded from participating in such actions.

Help From Home is pleased to see in the ‘Time Well Spent’ May, 2011 document from The Prison Reform Trust that it encourages active citizenship in prisons that could play an important part in achieving the government’s aims for a “rehabilitation revolution” and developing the wider concept of the Big Society. Traditional volunteering is normally associated with somebody attending an event at a certain time and place. Microvolunteering does the exact reverse, where the volunteering opportunities can be taken to the person. It is for this reason that Help From Home envisages the microvolunteering concept to be taken into prisons.

Page 55; Annex – Consultation Summary: Question 8 Social media

We wanted to hear ideas about harnessing the power of social media to enable giving. There was excitement about the potential of social media, and a feeling that it is not currently being used to its fullest potential in the charitable sector. Those in favour saw it as a channel that fits in with people’s lifestyles.

The ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project specifically revolves around a social media type platform, similar to Facebook. It enables people to participate in actions which are fed through to a social media ‘Action Feed’ interface, where all the functionalities normally associated with this type of format would be available, eg comments, ‘Like’ button etc. This environment will encourage interaction between participants and potentially inspire a greater involvement in microvolunteering activities.

Page 59; Annex – Consultation Summary: Question 16 How government can support an increase in giving

(i) Under-represented groups

While recognising that those with spare time and financial means will tend to remain the groups that give most time and money, many responses also stressed the potential to boost volunteering and philanthropy by connecting with and empowering groups that are currently under-represented. Various respondents pointed to the potential to better engage with:

- Schoolchildren

- Older people

- People with disabilities

- University and students

- Faith communities

As mentioned in previous points, Help From Home is already targeting schoolchildren and older people with it’s ‘Help From School’ and ‘Help From Seniors’ projects. However, microvolunteering can equally be taken into the other remaining groups with ease via the current Help From Home website or it’s ‘Volunteer Anywhere’ project. Help From Home therefore feels that it can empower these under represented groups and so deliver on this particular aim of the White Paper.

Conclusion

It would appear from the cherry picked contents of the White Paper, that Help From Home with it’s various current and proposed microvolunteering projects seems to be in a prime position to deliver on quite a few aspects that the Government aims to achieve with it’s Big Society vision.

In order to do this, it needs to combine resources and experience with interested parties. It is on this basis that Help From Home is looking for expressions of interest to collaborate on expanding it’s projects and provide a new dimension of volunteering to the public and organisations.

Thanks for reading this report.