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Getting ready for SVW: Part 1: Aims and impact

Posted on 14 Dec 2014

This is Part 1 of a series on how to prepare for Student Volunteering Week 2015. We’ll be exploring everything from setting your aims to writing a press release over the next 8 weeks.

Other posts in this series: Part 2

So you want to get involved in Student Volunteering Week?

We’re here to help you get started with your planning…

Step 1: Save the date!

SVW 2015 is Monday 23 February - Sunday 1 March.

Step 2: Decide your aims & identify your audience

What are you trying to achieve by taking part in SVW 2015? Having one or more aims can help you decide what events or activities you could organise.

The national aims of Student Volunteering Week are:

  • raise awareness of the value of volunteering
  • inspire more students to get involved
  • celebrate the impact made by student volunteers in their local communities

Because you know your college, university or volunteering group best, we recommend that you think about which of these aims make the most sense for you. And don’t forget to identify who your audience are - perhaps it’s a specific year group (e.g. freshers or postgrads), perhaps it’s students who’ve never volunteered before, perhaps it’s your University Vice-Chancellor. It might be all of the above.

Understanding your aims and your audience are essential before you start planning any events or activities.

Photos from UWL, Leicester, Southampton

Step 3: How can you achieve those aims?

Once you know what you want to achieve, and who you want to be involved, you can start getting into the details. There are so many different events or activities that you could organise, and here are a few ideas based on SVW 2013 and 2014.

Raising awareness of the value of volunteering:

  • Having an informational stall or a display on campus with information about the various issues that student volunteers can tackle in your local community
  • Asking your local community partners (e.g. charities that your volunteers support) to share their view on the importance of volunteers in a video, blog post or news story
  • Hosting a talk on campus with graduate employers as guest speakers to highlight the employability value of volunteering
  • Writing a guest blog post for the SVW national blog about what volunteering means to you
  • Running a social media campaign to highlight all the different volunteering that students take part in

Photos from Teesside, Warwick, Southampton

Inspiring more students to get involved:

  • Inviting students to attend a ‘taster’ session at an existing volunteering project, so they can try it out and meet other volunteers
  • Hosting a one-off volunteering event with a local charity or community group
  • Having a stall on campus manned by a rota of current volunteers sharing their experiences and explaining how others can get involved
  • Doing some research into which students are already volunteering and asking them to share their stories and advice for students who haven’t volunteered before

Celebrating the impact made by student volunteers:

  • Hosting a party or celebration event for current volunteers
  • Running an internal volunteer award ceremony, with students nominating their peers and winners being chosen by a panel of judges
  • A social media campaign highlighting the range and impact of current volunteering, e.g. featuring a different student-led project everyday and what they’ve achieved so far - and why not add a hashtag?
  • Get your local community partners involved - perhaps they’d be happy to write thank you cards to the students who volunteer with them
  • Shout about the great stuff you’re doing - SVW is a perfect opportunity to submit press releases and start conversations with people who have a lot of influence at your college or university, whether it’s your Vice-Chancellor or the press office
  • Organise additional training sessions for your volunteers to thank them and boost their skills

Photos from Sunderland, Keele, Durham

Step 3: Measuring your impact

Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve, you’ll need a plan so you can figure out if you actually achieve that by the end of SVW.

  • First, identify what you want to achieve (your aims & your activities)
  • Second, figure out what you need to measure to know whether or not you’ve achieved that. Is it qualitative or quantitative?
  • Third, figure out how you can measure it

Here’s our national impact measurement strategy to give you some ideas… we’ll be using reports from local college and universities, website and social media analytics, and feedback forms for students and staff to measure our impact.

It's important to have impact measurement plans decided at the beginning of your SVW planning so you can do any research needed, write feedback forms, and keep your focus on your overall aims.

Stay tuned for other posts in this series on how to prepare for Student Volunteering Week 2015, and don't hesitate to contact us if you've got any questions or suggestions.

The SVW Team

The national team from Student Hubs & NUS coordinate SVW activities for the nationwide campaign. Get into touch at info@studentvolunteeringweek.org.uk

Categories: Advice