Guardian job site cuts

Today, we got official public confirmation from Guardian Jobs that it intends to cease its service of allowing organisations to post volunteering opportunities on Guardian Jobs from 1st July 2014.

Back at the end of March, there were reports that people were being told a decision had been taken. When challenged at the beginning of April, Guardian Jobs said the decision was still under review:

At the end of last week, Third Sector published an article and managed to get an informal briefing from a member of the Guardian’s press office who said:

some job-seekers looking for paid work were complaining that there were too many volunteering roles compared with paid positions, “which was affecting their experience in looking for paid work on the site”.

Guardian Jobs twitter feed was still silent on this today, and in ‘good cop’ ‘bad cop’ style left it to sister stream Guardian Voluntary to deliver the bad news:

This confirmed the line that the change is “in response to significant jobseeker feedback” that flagged up dissatisfaction with the mix of volunteering opportunities alongside paid jobs. They went further:

recent feedback from jobseekers searching for paid work has indicated that they were seeing too many volunteering roles compared to paid positions. We tried to address this with a filter to enable users to exclude ‘volunteering’ positions, but the feedback remained the same and users stated that it was affecting their experience in looking for paid work on Guardian Jobs.

The technicalities of this issue don’t really seem to fully explain the move. In terms of a filter – there already is a filter.

When a user searches you can restrict the search to paid jobs only simply by clicking “Job Vacancy” in Listing Type.

The solution, therefore, would be to switch this on by default and demand the user explicitly opts in to viewing volunteering opportunities. Incidently, the Guardian also posts internships which are expenses only, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do about these.

But I suspect this decision has not been made purely on the technicalities. This is about the issue of perception and how the Guardian Jobs service is perceived by users.

The thinking may have gone something like the following: a job site to compete and be effective needs to look and feel like a job site. Too many volunteering roles (and describing them as volunteering jobs probably didn’t help) popping up in a user’s searches runs contrary to expectations of what a job site is and should be.

And this is where it gets interesting.

Are job sites and volunteering opportunities incompatible?

Charity Job has listings for both paid and voluntary work. So it’s not like it’s unheard of – but Charity Job have clearly worked harder to distinguish between paid and voluntary roles. LinkedIn certainly sees potential to run the two together with its launch of the Volunteer Marketplace.

Moreover, don’t hibrid sites complement volunteering opportunity-only sites like Do-it, vInspired or Reach? To go to a volunteering only site – the user is already actively searching for volunteering. Whereas job sites with volunteering opportunities, like Guardian Jobs, are uniquely placed to engage jobseekers who may never have considered volunteering.

It provides that precious opportunity to reach people when they are jobseeking, at a time when they are both particularly responsive to volunteering and potentially have so much to gain from volunteering. Whether they are out of work or considering a career change, there’s a synergy between jobseeking and volunteer opportunity seeking. It feels like a huge shame that the needs of one segment of the jobseekers trump the needs of another segment of jobseekers.

And it’s not for lack of evidence – the Guardian will know better than anyone in the sector how many organisations have used their service to post volunteering opportunities, how many volunteering opportunities it has posted and how much interest each volunteering opportunity generates. You’d suspect with volunteering opportunities currently representing roughly 10% of the jobs on Guardian Jobs and volunteer recruiters reporting such a high level of satisfaction, that the figures would be in rude health. According to what the Guardian themselves say: “Volunteer roles advertised on guardianjobs.co.uk receive on average 564 page views and 37 applications.”

It’s hard to ignore the obvious difference: that one segment is much easier to monetize than the other. And so charities are reminded, if one was needed, that services offered for free cannot be sustained indefinitely (read the small print), when commercial imperatives sooner or later can no longer be held in check.

All in all, the significance for those in volunteer management of the Guardian’s decision is that it signals the withdrawal from the UK’s volunteer recruiter’s ecosystem of a platform with unparalleled mainstream profile. In the UK, those in volunteer management are fortunate to have such a vibrant volunteering opportunity infrastructure, particularly with ivo.org announcing a revamp for Do-it later this year.

However, with the Guardian’s profile and positioning, it’s not surprising many organisations have reported Guardian Jobs as a particularly important way of reaching a different type of volunteer.

According to Quantcast, the Guardian is their UK number one site with over 12 million people visiting a month (over 1 million visiting Jobs Guardian monthly in the UK). In other measures the Guardian is in the top 15 sites in the UK (only after the tech multinationals and the Daily Mail).

According to Guardian itself: 109,000 monthly unique users of Guardian Jobs, work in the charity or voluntary sector and Guardian Jobs carries more charity roles than any other publication or job board.

This is a story about the UK’s self proclaimed number one job board for charities turning its back on listing volunteering opportunities.

So may be we should not ignore how the statement today by Guardian Jobs appeared to leave the door ajar:

We appreciate that volunteering listings are important and we are therefore investigating how we can adopt a different approach for this in the future, and we will keep jobseekers and the sector updated on these plans.

If you haven’t already, write and tell those at the Guardian considering the new approach why the service has been important to your organisation and the volunteers who found your opportunities through them (contact them: jobs.help@theguardian.com).

Discussion

Interesting comment thread on the Third Sector article

A Storify timeline of the wider discussion mainly on Twitter

Background Info

Top reasons to use Guardian Jobs

Guardian Jobs list ads for volunteer roles free of charge: As of November 2010 any volunteer role advertised on guardianjobs.co.uk is completely free (excludes Trustees, Chairs, Honorary Board Members, Internships and Non-Executive Directors)

Volunteer roles highly sought after: Volunteer roles advertised on guardianjobs.co.uk receive on average 564 page views and 37 applications.

A huge reach online: 207,000 voluntary/charity sector professionals use guardianjobs.co.uk a month

A strong reach in print: 89,000 voluntary/charity sector professionals use the Guardian’s print recruitment supplements every week

Quality response: 82% of voluntary/charity or public sector roles advertised with Guardian Jobs result in a Guardian candidate filling the role

Source: The Guardian

Guardian Jobs – no longer to post volunteering opportunities

Below is the statement made by the Guardian on its decision regarding the removal of volunteering opportunities from its jobs website.

Changes to Guardian Jobs volunteering advertisements

The Guardian has always been a great supporter of volunteering and we are committed to writing intelligently about the voluntary sector. However, in response to significant jobseeker feedback, we have decided that we will no longer be including volunteering listings on Guardian Jobs from 1 July 2014.

Whilst this will not affect advertisements for paid positions in the Voluntary sector – for which we will continue to be the number one source of quality candidates – recent feedback from jobseekers searching for paid work has indicated that they were seeing too many volunteering roles compared to paid positions. We tried to address this with a filter to enable users to exclude ‘volunteering’ positions, but the feedback remained the same and users stated that it was affecting their experience in looking for paid work on Guardian Jobs.

We appreciate that volunteering listings are important and we are therefore investigating how we can adopt a different approach for this in the future, and we will keep jobseekers and the sector updated on these plans.

We continue to offer charities a discount on job ads placed with Guardian Jobs.

If you have any questions about these changes please email jobs.help@theguardian.com

For background

Post on ivo.org by Addam Merali-Hosiene

Post on Third Sector by Sam Burne James

Evolve workshop: increasing the value and impact of volunteer management

Evolve_580x120

Save the date, 16 June and book your place at NCVO’s event Evolve 2014.

AVM will be running a workshop at Evolve:

PM1: Increasing the value and impact of volunteer management

The role of volunteer managers is crucial to unlocking the potential of volunteering for your organisation. The session will focus on helping organisations develop strategy and processes to support and develop volunteer management so as to maximise the contribution volunteering makes to achieving the organisation’s mission and strategic aims. This session will examine current approaches to volunteer management with findings from research and exploring how to translate this learning into practise.

AVM Seminar – Tuesday 13th May – Hatton Locks

Tuesday 13th May (10am- 3.30pm) at Hatton Locks, Canal and River Trust

Price: £25 (members) and £42 (non-members)

Location

Canal & River Trust Hatton Locks office (Dundas Meeting Room), Canal Lane, Hatton, Warwick CV35 7JL

Nearest train station is Warwick Parkway which has direct trains from London and Birmingham.

What will the seminar cover?

Session 1: The challenges of working with remote volunteers: what does this mean for our practice as volunteer managers and leaders?

Speakers: Nikki Squelch (Alzheimers Society) and Helen Johnston (RNIB)

As the world of volunteering changes, how comfortable and confident are we to work with volunteers we may not meet face to face? This session will reflect on the current Dementia Friends programme at Alzheimers Society and on the RNIB experience of working with remote technology to support volunteers.

Session 2: Reflections on the transition from public sector to charity: opportunities and challenges in volunteering and volunteer management

Speaker: Ed Moss, National Volunteering Manager at Canal & River Trust (formerly British Waterways)

Developing AVM

This seminar will also be an opportunity to:

  • hear an update on the latest developments at the Association of Volunteer Managers, including plans for the national conference and code of practice for volunteer management
  • discuss peer exchange and support: sharing news, views, ideas and requests for help among members

Register

You can book your place now.

Volunteer Managers Networking Evening

  • 18:30 – 21:00 Tuesday Feb. 25th 2014
  • The Euston Flyer, 83-87 Euston Road, London NW1 2RA

Calling all Volunteer Managers! After two successful events, we have decided a third networking evening is long overdue. It would be great to see familiar faces from the previous events but we would love to see new faces too. So, if you’re new to the group, the very simple idea is to have an opportunity to network with like-minded volunteering professionals in an informal setting.

We will be meeting at the Euston Flyer, which is located between Euston and King’s Cross, and we have a space booked from 6:30pm under my name.

If you’re interested in attending, please register so we have an idea of numbers and if you have any questions, let me know. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you there!

Lucy Goodwill

Originally posted on ivo

Networking Poll

This poll is open to members and non-members of AVM.

Every little helps

Back in November, NCVO research told us that micro-volunteering is on the increase. The Institute of Volunteer Research published a report: “The value of giving a little time: Understanding the potential of micro-volunteering“.

Their report defined micro-volunteering as “bite-size volunteering with no commitment to repeat and with minimum formality, involving short and specific actions that are quick to start and complete.”

“This research found that micro-volunteering is not new in itself, but is changing. People have less time to give and are volunteering in new ways and, often facilitated by developments in technology that enable people to participate immediately and independently of time and place…

The research found that micro-volunteering will not suit everyone nor every organisation. It highlighted that organisations need to think carefully about whether and how micro-volunteering fits in with their strategic direction, and whether the term ‘micro-volunteering’ is the best way for them to brand these small actions. When it is appropriate, and if the challenges identified in our research can be overcome, the benefits for the individual volunteer and the organisation of micro-volunteering can be significant.”

Today, NCVO published guidance for those in volunteer management interested in offering micro-volunteering opportunities. Kristen Stephenson, NCVO’s Volunteer Management and Good Practice Manager blogged:

What we say in our guidance released today is that in order to maximise the potential of micro-volunteering we need to steer clear of management becoming disproportionate. If organisations micromanage their micro-volunteering they run the risk that the role becomes something the volunteer didn’t want or expect and they leave.

Kristen identified the following as quick tips:

  • Adopt a more flexible approach
  • Ask people whether they want to stay in touch
  • Take a joined up approach
  • Consider shadowing
  • Plan ahead
  • Use online tools and technology
  • Think about risk but be sensible

More information and the full guidance on Kristen Stephenson’s blog post.

Northern network of volunteer managers

  • 5:00pm – 6:30pm – Thursday 13th February 2014
  • Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HN

On the 8th Jan, 4 of us met for the first time as part of the revived northern network of volunteer managers. It was great to connect with each other and to hear about how the group has been very useful in the past. Broadly we agreed that the objectives of the group are:

  • To provide professional peer support to one another – a safe space to ask advice, share difficulties and successes, as well as occasionally say “arggghhh!!”
  • To share learning and allow a space for creative thinking
  • To consider how we support the wider development of volunteering and volunteer management through the networks we are involved in and encourage each other in our own professional development too.

We agreed that members of the group would take it turns to chair it – perhaps by bringing a theme to look at or an issue they would benefit from discussing.

If you work in volunteer management and would find a group like this useful, we warmly welcome you to join us.

Hope to see you there

Emma Makarova

National Volunteering Manager – Refugee Action

Originally posted here: ivo.org

Third Sector Strategic People Conference 2014

agendaconsultinglogoAgenda Consulting’s Third Sector Strategic People Conference is on Thursday 20th March 2014 and will be held at The Hallam Conference Centre, in central London.

The conference brochure is available on the Agenda Consulting website:

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers will be Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, National Center for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), and Michael Jenkins, Chief Executive, Roffey Park Institute.

At the conference there will be workshops on the following issues:

  • HR making a real difference –the journey we are on. Toni Dumolo, Human Resources Director, Sense
  • Enabling smarter working through the creation of an inspiring workspace. Karen Gravestock, Head of HR, WWF
  • HR and Volunteering: perfect partners or the enemy within? Helen Timbrell, Volunteering & Community Involvement Director, National Trust
  • Building a strategic talent pipeline. Rachel Whale, Programme Director, Charity works
  • Ulrich still works – if you do it your way. Angela Buxton, HR Director, Mencap
  • Building leadership capability throughout RSPB – how we delivered a successful transformation programme. Ann Kiceluk, Director, Human Resources, RSPB
  • Undertaking a successful employee survey. Christopher Duff, Workforce Director, MacIntyre

Discount for AVM members

Members of AVM are entitled to a discount on the cost per delegate.