Digital Housing Hub - #digihousing

where social housing providers meet to help their residents embrace the web

Do you connect with your digital support volunteers?

I know some of you will be using a team of volunteers, to help get your clients online, or to improve what bits of existing knowledge they have. They may be a team of staff, or a team of experienced residence, or mixture of both.  Whatever your set up, are you able to keep connected with your team?

It's important that your volunteers feel that they are part of your project, of improving people's online skills.  That their contribution is being acknowledged.  For some it maybe recognition by receiving some kind of physical reward.  For others it may be something posted on the organisations website they are volunteering for.  But many just like to hear some words of thanks from their project leader.

How often should I be in touch with the volunteers?  That's a good question.  People who fill the role of project leader or administrator also vary, for some it's a dedicated role for others it's just part of their duties.  

You can use online facilities and e-mail to circulate information. But in terms of looking after your team, there is nothing like voice contact, or a regular meet up for a day of activities.  A meet up not only for the purpose of volunteers to look at budding up with each other. But putting on workshop and holding a one to one surgery opportunity.

Many of you may be thinking of the time constraints, with organising a meet up, or even just keeping touch with people by phone once a month.  But not engaging in these types of action, can result in a large turnover of your volunteering team. Which in turn means that your clients are not having a regular person help them out with their digital skills.

I know there are some circumstances where this cannot be avoided. But in this field I have found that if you are looking to provide digital skills to older people or people with learning issues, their learning and confidence improves with less disruption.  Not just with teaching methods or equipment. This also applies to changing the person who is providing them with the help.

If some time isn't spent in keeping connected with volunteers,how also do you think, this may affect the quality of support being given to your clients.

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