I hope you are enjoying your week. Todays next story is from someone we know very well - Sam from Breakthrough UK. Not only does Sam work with and help volunteers in her working life but Sam also finds the time to volunteer herself which is amazing. Find out more about Sam below and what her most memorable Volunteer memory is!
Volunteer name: Sam
Volunteer age: 30
Where are you from: Huddersfield
What's your volunteer role and what do you do in that role:
As a Women's Equality (Greater) Manchester Branch volunteer I’ve helped to organise conferences, meetings and events, for example sourcing venues, contributors (singers and speakers), donations, raffle prizes, resources etc, canvassing as well as acting as branch Elections Returning Officer. I stood as a local election candidate twice and also helped find an election candidate. I linked up with a young women’s project which we both spoke at.
I have volunteered on social media since 2017, being elected as Communications Branch lead. Volunteers collaborate via trello, meetings, webinars and emails etc to plan, strategize and arrange practicalities such as create agendas, newsletters, posters, leaflets and press releases.
As Communications Officer I am responsible for the Branch communications strategy, coordinating volunteers to assist with communications and liaising with branch officers and Central Office to agree strategy and sign-off for external communications. I try to train the branch in social media, media relations and communications tools. I use my knowledge of communications channels, design and printing protocols and GDPR data protection laws.
Time commitments vary from week to week. In non-election time I spend about 2 hours a week, mainly managing social media and guiding others and engaging with media requests and external local events, responding swiftly and appropriately to requests and enquiries. It can be a challenging role sometimes, especially in election periods. It can take 3 hours a day to coordinate messages and volunteers. I get to learn the policies and spokespeople are for different areas.
I feel supported by volunteers of the branch team and from the party’s team at central office.
Communications across different media platforms is essential to the growth and development of local branches. I coordinate and lead all areas of branch communications. responsibilities include:
- Developing the branch communications strategy.
- Steering the volunteer communication team.
- Sharing news from The Women’s Equality Party central office through branch forums.
- Staying up to date with WE-related media appearances and campaigns both centrally and locally.
- Identifying and sharing content that is likely to be of interest to branch members.
- Identifying and sharing content that is related to the core objectives of the Women’s Equality Party.
- Developing links with local print and online media.
- I signed the WE Code of Conduct agreeing to expectations around confidentiality, data protection I enjoy working as part of a team.
- I think creatively about using communications to raise the profile of the Women’s Equality Party.
- I attend regular branch meetings and events.
- I am passionate about the goals and values of the Women’s Equality Party and agree to abide by the WE code set out in the constitution.
I also attend some events and mention Women’s Equality Party. I made the Manchester evening news twice this year. I post on social media most days. Our twitter account now has 1990 followers, I followed many accounts tweet regularly and liked many tweets and created ten Lists. I create and share events on facebook, like statuses and pages and post updates. We now have 922 Facebook follows.
Other volunteers have commented ‘it's great we have whizzes like you.’ ‘you are on it’ ‘You did really well campaigning and speaking up- THANK YOU so much for your fight on this’ ‘You are a mine of contacts!’ ‘Sam has created some great promotional materials That looks awesome.’ ‘Many thanks for your very helpful (and moving) notes. it was good of you to take the trouble to talk and write so comprehensively They will really help me frame the talk. I am so pleased you can attend and speak at the event. You made some very insightful observations about the process and the personal impact.’ ‘Thank you Sam for thinking of me. Amazing to see the work being done’ ‘congratulations on your result! Thank you so much for all your hard work.’
How long have you been volunteering for:
I have volunteered for the Women’s Equality Party Manchester branch since 2016.
How did you get involved with volunteering:
As a founding member
Why did you get involved in volunteering:
I wanted to have a tangible impact in a specific channel making a direct difference, a new form of activism.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering:
I really enjoy collaborating, welcoming new faces and working with familiar team members, towards shared objectives. I love sharing and developing my skills knowlege and experiences and using my contacts and networks to promote and raise awareness of the objectives, events and campaigns, from period poverty to criminalised women, to the sex industry. We have a laugh whilst addressing varied and serious issues... I like seeing others grow and celebrating successes.
What difference has volunteering made to your life:
I have stood as an election candidate and made a lot of personal changes in my life since being a member. It's changed my attitude towards things... made me more proactive. Volunteering has developed my confidence further and I have made some great friends who have got to know me as I am and have been referees for job applications.
How does volunteering make you feel:
I feel empowered, comfortable. I feel I belong, as I can be myself around people. I feel recognised and it feels like a steady presence, there's always something new to get involved with.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering:
Volunteer in a high support high challenge environment if you want to grow. Try to set boundaries on your time, get creative and share ideas and do what you want! You have something to offer and bring to the table. Keep going!
What’s your favourite volunteering memory:
Voting for myself!