I am back helping with the very same youth club that inspired Groop – 10 years after I started it from scratch armed with nothing more than enthusiasm and a bit of knowledge of youth clubs. The club needs a bit of support through the transition of leaders and of course, more sustainable funding.
One thing really noticeable is the difference social media makes now – from nothing 10 years ago. Recently I heard someone literally rant in a meeting about the ‘terrible and destructive social media’ and it struck me that here was someone who clearly loved to rant (he had earlier commented that when he was unhappy with something his team had done he, quote, ‘pounded the corridors, screaming for an answer’ – an interesting leadership idea) and I wondered if anyone had ever demonstrated the positive side of social media to him. The press love to pick up on the bad stuff but I think there is a lot of positive to counter it too.
Take this youth club; within minutes of my posting on a local village Facebook page I had pulled in several willing new volunteers – on two occasions. Most I didn’t know and a couple I did. When you combine that with word of mouth that’s a very powerful tool for recruiting volunteers. I did the same via twitter recently for another project – instant and free, recruitment drive. Add to that the ease of conversing amongst the volunteers via forums and suddenly the concept of volunteering without actually attending the youth sessions or umpteen meetings becomes instantly possible.
So with care, parameters etc, social media can certainly be a powerful tool for voluntary bodies.