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A volunteers view: Supporting groups in the West of England

  • I was lucky enough to volunteer for two weeks at Localgiving, more specifically on the West of England Development Programme. I am interested in NGOs and the voluntary sector; particularly how to tackle the challenges of increasing demand for services and a more competitive fundraising environment.

    One of the main insights that I gained was how much Localgiving does to help local charities and community groups with their online fundraising.Localgiving provides the support and mentoring needed by groups to find their feet in this area - this was a very positive thing to witness. It really is a charity that invests directly in the sector.

    I spent the first week in Frome and the second in Bath and Bristol. My main responsibility was researching potential community groups and charities, in the Somerset and Bristol areas, who I thought might benefit from Localgiving support.I collated groups through visiting the library, a leisure centre and of course, the Internet. I was also able to sit-in on training sessions and meetings with charities and groups who were already members of Localgiving. I found these meetings particularly interesting, as I was able to gain an insight into how passionate they were about their causes. I also learnt about practical online fundraising and how much it can raise for a charity or community group. This was a subject I knew very little about, besides occasionally donating online myself.

    My volunteering showed me how useful online campaigning and fundraising for small charities can be. The statistic: ‘an online donation is worth double the amount of an offline donation’, emphasises this.

    Through Localgiving I came to understand the sheer number of charities and groups working within each local area. This opened my eyes to how great local communities can be - everyone should get involved in some way.

    There are huge numbers of people dedicating their skill and time to volunteering - to help others. This was a wonderful insight into the charity sector and reassuring in such challenging times.

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