Social networking for voluntary groups

Today I met attended a workshop with BTCV to try to decide on the future of the Volunteer Passport that I was involved with a few months ago (especially as I’m not going to be here to maintain it).

The Passport hasn’t been used that much yet – but there are several reasons for this, firstly that it’s not been promoted anywhere yet (many people in BTCV don’t know about it), secondly, it’s functionality is slightly confused and thirdly, it still need finishing off.

The original purpose of the Passport was to allow volunteers to record their skills and experience and then use this as evidence to put towards formal qualifications (NVQs etc) and act as an ePortfolio system. However since we decided to use Elgg as the basis for the system, this opened up the possibility of it becoming a social network for BTCV.

Much of our discussion today was about whether or not BTCV should be providing a social networking system for it’s volunteers (why not just use facebook?) and how it could be justified. We eventually came to the conclusion that it probably could be justified if we had some good use cases and evidence of how it would benefit current BTCV activities, but that the system as it stands would needย  work on the interface design (layout, structure and terminology).

If there is anyone out there who is interested in following up this work (especially from a technical/development point of view) then please drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with the BTCV team ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Martin says:


  2. Alex says:

    Hi Martin, Tony mentioned SocialLearn too, and yes, I can see how it would be good to use SocialLearn. However, BTCV doesn’t have loads of technical resources (people or money) they can put on these projects and with SocialLearn being so new (and immature) it may be just too much work/effort for them. Though if someone wants to spend some time looking at how SocialLearn could be used in this way then I’m sure no-one would say no! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Andy says:

    Hi there,

    I was just reading your blog on the Volunteer Passport and I thought I would share my experience of the facility. I’ve just recently joined BTCV a week ago and one of the first things that was mentioned was the passport. I’m currently with BTCV in Glasgow.

    I find it quite handy to have the passport, even if it maybe doesn’t lead to anything solid in the end, it’s still really nice to be able to have my experiences and daily projects logged and kept online.

    I think it has a great potential to be something very productive for BTCV if not volunteering as a whole. As you said, it also has a potential of being a social network, I think it would be really good to be able to share experiences with other volunteers around the UK. Volunteering is surprisingly a difficult thing to find when you don’t know where to look – in my case Project Scotland helped me – and is even the same when you’re doing the voluntary work. Support and further development is something that can be readily and quickly shared among volunteers.

    I hope the MVP is kept running as it has some great ideas and potential to it.


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