Many charities struggle to find enough volunteers to help out over the festive season.

The local volunteering centre in Sutton sought to tackle that issue by launching a Giving Tuesday campaign that highlighted ways people could give back to their community in the run up to Christmas.

The team at Volunteer Centre Sutton (VC Sutton) also decided to use Giving Tuesday as a launching pad for an advent calendar, to reveal a new volunteering role from a different voluntary organisation every day in the run up to Christmas.

Showcasing the range of opportunities

Prospective volunteers could choose from a range of opportunities, from helping out with a Christmas Day Dinner for young people who have recently left care,  to giftwrapping and raising funds for Sutton Shopmobility, a charity providing equipment for hire for people with mobility issues.

Speaking about the campaign, Jo Dawson, marketing and digital media coordinator, said: “I knew that Giving Tuesday was an important event in the sector and it seemed like a great opportunity to promote volunteering as a way of giving time. Both our Giving Tuesday campaign and the advent calendar that followed offered potential volunteers a huge range of opportunities to choose from.”

As a result, the centre saw an amazing engagement rate from existing and new supporters, with one of their Facebook posts being shared multiple times and reaching over 3,000 people.

The team were also able to grow their audience, increasing their newsletter subscribers by 26% through the campaign.

Young carers are treated with gifts

‘Inundated with requests’

Talking about the planning behind their Giving Tuesday campaign, Jo said: “We contacted all our organisations with newsletters as well as putting the call out on social media. We asked them to let us know about any short-term volunteering opportunities over the festive period, as well as any longer term opportunities that they wanted us to include in our advent calendar. It’s the first time we have run this promotion and we were inundated with requests by the end. It was fantastic to be able to highlight the range of voluntary sector organisations and the range of opportunities in Sutton.

“We also used Giving Tuesday to highlight the many local giving schemes that were taking place such as the Christmas shoebox appeal run by Sutton Night Watch.”

Jo added: “I think it was important for us to show the range of opportunities out there. And there are flexible opportunities too, where people don’t have to commit too much of their time. We can talk to potential volunteers, find out what interests them and what skills they want to use, how much time they can commit and find them the ideal role. There’s definitely something for everyone.”

Day to day, the centre works with charities large and small to help them recruit volunteers –they have a relationship with around 400 groups in the area, so were able to use this vast network to capitalise on their advent calendar campaign using Giving Tuesday.

To read more about volunteering opportunities in Sutton, visit https://vcsutton.org.uk/