How Our Charity is Growing During Lockdown

(Top Tips for Everyone)

There’s plenty of bad news at the moment regarding challenges faced by charities and other organisations.  At Buckinghamshire Disability Service (BuDS) we are thankful to be adapting well, and are actually expanding as we try to meet the growing demand for support. 

Here are some top tips....

Growing During Lockdown

Focus On People’s Skills, Not Fixed Job Roles.  

We are now all having to adapt our job roles as we are forced to find new ways of working. At BuDS we have been adapting jobs to suit individual circumstance since the charity began. BuDS is a charity run primarily by disabled people which has led us to craft roles only after meeting individuals. Every person brings a unique set of skills and experience to our organisation. We have worked hard to remove the barriers which prevent people from deploying their talent.  Try to focus on what you could do, not what you can’t. 

Flexible Task Management 

Central to our flexible working environment is the way we assign and manage tasks. We have no fixed job roles. Some of our projects take this to extreme, adopting an Agile approach. Here, we hold regular team planning meetings where tasks are assigned. Although guided by overall project objectives, we do not produce detailed plans longer than a few weeks. This ensures we are always adapting to the needs of volunteers and service users.  

With no fixed job roles our COVID-19 team was established in a single day, and has now reached 40,000 people with help and advice. 

Planning Board Screen Shot
A Screen Shot During One of BuDS Task Planning Meetings

Ensure Important Information Is Available 

We encourage volunteers to help each other, but this does require a basic understanding of other team members’ tasks and knowledge of wider project objectives. 

Our internal wiki provides project information which allows people to suggest ideas to overcome current project challenges.  The use of digital task boards, described above, ensures everyone within the team is aware of each other’s work.  

Hold Regular Update Meetings

When everyone is working from home, communication can be difficult. Each team at BuDS now has short regular meetings where every member says:  

  1. What they have done 
  2. What they intend to do
  3. Any barriers to moving forward or support required from others.

Each team has a shared task board – which is updated. The meeting should last 15 min maximum. This style of meeting is taken from Agile and is traditionally called a “stand-up”.  

Offer Work Experience and Training

We were recently asked, “How on earth are you still onboarding?” In fact, since the lockdown we’ve inducted triple the volunteers we would normally, and recently employed one of our volunteers.  New volunteers have been crucial in expanding our support, which is largely unfunded.  While other charities sought funding first, we were able to instantly offer new forms of help as needed. 

Volunteer roles at BuDS are very flexible, so people only need training for the tasks assigned not an entire job role at once. We can train people using screen sharing, but we also have lots of information online, either within task cards, or on each team wiki. Some volunteers complete tasks on their first day. 

For those who may be interested, please find out more about our work experience and training programme at www.reach4work.org.uk 

Overall, 

We would like to promote the message that rigid working practices are not just unhelpful to disabled people, but bad for us all. Taking a flexible approach to work can be the difference between organisational survival and expansion. 

Recent Posts

Finding A New Routine

By Michael Broadley | April 10, 2020

We are now finding a new routine as we continue during lockdown. It’s been an outstanding achievement that Reach4Work has survived.

Read More

COVID-19

By Michael Broadley | March 28, 2020
COVID-19 Conference

The Covid-19 Team are responding to the needs of a rapidly changing situation. Help to research, analyse and provide information through social media. Create online surveys to identify the needs and issues effecting disabled people. Identify new ways to support people in self-isolation and publish guidance online.

Read More

BucksWorkability

By Michael Broadley | March 28, 2020
Reach4Work is now Online Only

A co-creation project to support disabled job-seekers. Buckinghamshire has a dense, overlapping and opaque network of services supporting disabled people into work. We need a new website to find the most appropriate employability support

Read More

LockDown

By Michael Broadley | March 19, 2020

Lock-down Programme Diary Posted 19th March. Lock-down We are now online only as a full lockdown has begun. At BuDS we are really pleased that volunteers wish to continue at this difficult time.  We are hearing that many other organisations are struggling to function which makes the achievements of Reach4Work volunteers all the more impressive.…

Read More

Planning Website Content

By Michael Broadley | March 12, 2020
BuDS Design Board

Together we conceptualised there are 6 core categories, which will inform the information architecture of our website.

Read More
BuDS Affiliations

If you are a jobseeker looking for work experience, free training and advice, please get in touch below.

All other volunteers should email
volunteering@buds.org.uk

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