Have you ever wanted to use your IT expertise to help your local community? Have you been turned off considering volunteering because you did not know how? Well now is the time to start thinking again.
The IT4 Communities scheme, launched two years ago this month with the support of Computer Weekly, has brought some much needed structure to the process of volunteering. So, if you would like to help the less well off in your local community, why not register with IT4Communities?
To date it has 2,250 registered IT professional volunteers on its books, 770 charities and nearly 1,000 projects of all descriptions looking for help. Volunteers have already contributed time worth almost £500,000 to charities.
The projects vary widely. Examples of recent projects include a youth charity in Nottinghamshire which wants a web designer to help train young people to design and develop their website, to a hearing impairment support charity in Worcestershire seeking help to make its online booking system more interactive. At the other end of the scale, a learning support charity wants an experienced strategic expert to help plan its long-term national IT strategy.
IT4Communities is supported by the British Computer Society, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, Business in the Community, the IT suppliers' organisation Intellect, and Citizens Online organisations, as well as Computer Weekly.
IT4Communities helps introduce you to the charities you might want to work for and will brief you about the different IT projects.
IT4Communities national director Simon Davey said volunteers should discuss the work required by the charity to ensure you can complete it in your time available as a volunteer. You should also ensure you have insurance and are covered for liability issues. Davey and his team are available to give practical advice to all volunteers.
For further information contact Simon Davey or see the website:
IT4Communities' charity guidelines
- Don't over-promise
- Keep it simple at first
- Make sure all parties have agreed on the project definition
- Check that the charity's management/trustees are committed to the project
- For complex projects, the project management role is best located within the charity
- Make sure the project is sustainable without you
- Cover potential risks and liabilities
- Define from the start when the project will end, along with a review
- Spread the good news
- Do it again.