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On average we have over 300 opportunities available at any time. They range from quick fix tasks which might take only a couple of hours to longer term projects which will be worked on over a period of months.
Some opportunities require a volunteer to work side-by-side with the charity but others can be done "virtually" - volunteer and charity may never meet!
Below are some examples of opportunities that have been offered through iT4C. They are shown organised by skill type but we haven't space to show examples of all skill types.
Web 2.0 Guidance
This is an interesting challenge which would look good on anyone's CV. This well-known charity works to preserve and protect our coastline, countryside, and important buildings. Although they have about 49,000 volunteers, they currently have only a periodic newsletter which goes out to volunteers. They would like to change this so that volunteers become more involved, can provide information and feedback to management, and communicate with other volunteers. They would like you to advise them about the advantages and disadvantages of forums, chat rooms, messageboards, wikis, and similar technologies. You would also need to provide guidance on the best way to implement the chosen solution and how to moderate and support it, and the likely resources and costs involved. They would expect to pilot the solution with a core of about 200 volunteers, however it's important that the solution is scaleable to about 20,000 volunteers. Their premises are accessible.
Implement a CMS and help transfer existing site
This charity is a community trust for the Hoxton area of London. They organise community projects such as a community garden, run training courses and provide a free legal advice service. Currently the charity has to ask for changes to be made to their website but would like to take control themselves. They would like a volunteer to implement a CMS for them and show them how to update and maintain pages themselves. The content of the existing site will need to be transferred but consists of only a few pages. They are happy for the site to be redesigned but would need to keep their yellow and green colour scheme and are happy with a traditional design similar to the one they have. They would also appreciate some advice on taking photographs and processing them for the web as they're aware that their pictures aren't as good as they could be.
New design for young people's website
This charity delivers family, youth, individual, couples and sexual therapy across Essex and East Herts working from 16 venues and over 30 schools. They offer training including anti-bullying training in schools. They have over 50 counsellors and small administration team. One project works with young people offering peer support in schools particularly around issues such as bullying. This project has its own website which is great but has an uninspiring design. They are looking for a web design volunteer who can work with input from the young people to update this website to better reflect the work they do. This would be a short project for a good designer wishing to work with young people and to contribute to this important cause.
Filemaker Pro advice and fixes
This charity is a performing arts organisation aimed at young people from 6 to 26. They operate workshops and classes in dance, drama and music and also do outreach work in local schools and work with young people with learning difficulties. They also hire out their facilities to the public and to other charitable organisations. The charity has two databases using Filemaker Pro 6. They are experiencing problems with both of them and would like a volunteer to give some expert advice. The major problems are with the room booking database - it is allowing rooms to be double-booked resulting in confusion and annoyance. There are also problems associated with moving from week to week. The other database, used by the entire team for contact management, has started losing data for no obvious reason. The charity is well organised and they have put together a specification for the work required including some changes to the reports produced by both databases.
This youth charity serves the needs of 11-18yr olds in Bromley by giving them somewhere to go, someone to talk to, and something to do. They have a number of in-house and outside projects, provide Internet access, and provide training. They have Office 2003 (including Access) installed. They currently record all their grant applications onto an Excel spreadsheet and log whether they have received a grant, and if so the amount. This was adequate for that purpose while the charity was small but they are now growing fast! In order to find past information about a particular grant giving body they have to trawl through the data, both on the spreadsheet and manually on the paper records. They need a Excel spreadsheet which would link the information entered onto another spreadsheet so that they can easily identify whether they have applied to a grant giving body before and all the history associated with that organisation. They were hoping to have just one spreadsheet which will then 'carbon copy' certain parts of the data onto a second 'historical by organisation' spreadsheet. This might be much more easily handled with an Access database, however, as they haven't used Access before, they feel some trepidation about changing from Excel to Access. You'll need to define their requirements in more detail, explore with them whether to create the new application in Excel or Access, build the application, migrate data (if appropriate and possible), train them in its use (more training will be needed if it's Access).
Learner Records Database for new Not For Profit organisation
This new not for profit community organisation provides employment skills training (including technical training) to disadvantaged individuals in the Redbridge area. They have a small staff team of 2 and a team of volunteer trainers. To keep efficient records of the learners and to produce reports needed to evaluate the work of their service for funders/supporters they require a learner database. They would like a volunteer to work alongside them to produce an Access database that they would be able to use in this way. This would be a suitable project for a volunteer with good Access skills. As a training organisation they would like to be able to offer the person who is able to assist them the opportunity to also receive training from one of their training team if you would like to.
Strategy and application advice
This charity looks after 62 elderly people in 2 care homes and 1 sheltered home. They have a dynamic CEO who sees the potential for IT in his organisation but is conscious of the necessity for thinking things through strategically before committing to implementation. They currently have a network of 3 computers and certainly need to expand this. They need to evaluate specialist packages for their sector - looking at cost effectiveness and long term viability. This is an opportunity for an IT professional who can work with a CEO who is highly committed to the use of IT to produce a plan which can become the basis for improved and expanded services for the elderly people served by his organisation. This could be done face-to-face or by phone and email.
This small charity provides support to stroke survivors of working age, and children. They have 6 networked computers with broadband internet access - possibly one only with wireless access. They need someone to do an IT strategy for them. It needs to review use of anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall protection and how to secure their wireless connection to internet. You may wish to help them implement recommendations on security - continuity is preferred, or leave the implementation to someone else. Their office is accessible.
Strategy for small charity
This charity aims to support and encourage local people and organisations in the south region of Sunderland. They facilitate training and promote better use of ICT to their members many of whom are community and voluntary groups. They can also help with policies, providing funding advice and assisting with community events. The charity would like some help to define an IT strategy. They have a single member of staff who has a PC and laptop. Their office is within a community centre and they have access to the IT suite within the building. They also use IT facilities in other venues when they organise training. This should be a fairly simple project as they're a small organisation with little equipment of their own.
Regular support to PC users in community suite
This charity is a community association in Bradford. They successfully campaigned to prevent an old mill being demolished and the building has now been refurbished. Part of the building has been set aside for a fantastic community space including a cafe and an IT suite. The IT suite is equipped with 12 brand new PCs and the charity would like to make these available for members of the community to use. They would like a volunteer to be available on a regular basis to provide some basic support to users. They imagine that users would like to do basic work processing, some web searching, on-line shopping, etc. They'd like a volunteer who can answer questions on using the PCs and software - how to print a document, how to search the Internet, how to save a file, etc. The volunteer should be approachable and be able to communicate with people with only a basic understanding of how to use a computer. The volunteer is not required to run structured tutorials; simply answer questions as they arise. The charity is flexible about when the sessions should take place but the volunteer must be able to commit to regular attendance. The volunteer will be asked to undergo a CRB check.
Office 2003 Training
This national charity helps other charities that care for people to raise funds. They have recently upgraded to Office 2003 from various Office versions. They would like an experienced IT trainer (rather than a technical person) to provide an overview of what's new in Office 2003, advanced training in Excel 2003, and basic database development training in Access 2003 to 3 trainees together in their office. They have a list of items they want to be covered for Excel 2003. They have existing simple Access databases which they use to enter data, but need you to provide training in relation to those databases. They're envisaging 3 separate half-day sessions on separate days, so that they can use the next half-day to practice what you've trained them on.
Outlook '03 Training and Server Filing/organisation advice
This charitable college educates students from all over the world - selected on personal merit, irrespective of race, religion, politics or the ability to pay - with the explicit aim of fostering peace and international understanding. They need some assistance in their London office with 2 practical matters: 1) managing the filing on their data server, currently they lack a procedure and this leads to duplication and documents being lost/hard to find. 2) the team of 10 would like some small group training in the best practice use of Outlook 2003 and how to manage the filing etc of emails A volunteer to help with both or either of these requirements would be much appreciated.
Technical support opportunities
Part-time Technical Support (on-site)
This big national charity provides advocacy, training, fund raising and other services for organisations providing palliative and respite care. Their sole IT person is involved in a big project integrating a number of websites and implementing an intranet. They're looking for a volunteer to work 1 or 2 days per week providing front line support for up to 60 staff at their offices in Kings X to relieve the pressure on their IT person and to allow him to spend more time on project work. The project is expected to last until 21st December 2007 so you would be required only till then. You'll be expected to be able to fix hardware problems, to do systems admin, like adding new users, changing passwords, and providing general support.
Frustrated by Vista! Can you help?
This charity works throughout the Greater Manchester region to provide support services to people with autism and their families. They provide a wide range of services including support groups, newsletters, drop-in sessions and one-to-one support. Through leisure activities they support people in improving their social skills and can also help young adults moving into employment. Since upgrading their PCs to MS Vista the charity are experiencing some problems with their system. For example, they no longer have multi-user access to their database. They are also interested in enabling staff to connect to the network remotely and to have remote access to their e-mail in Outlook. They'd like a volunteer who can look at their system - a wired network of about 7 PCs and a linked group of PCs available for their members to access the internet - and identify any problem areas and advise on any upgrades required.
Back up configuration help
A community charity that provides a mediation service supporting alternative conflict resolutions would like a volunteer to help them find a new backup solution for the centre. Previously they used a DAT tape drive however this is broken and it has been recommended to them that they use external hard drives. The in house technical support person is not confident as to how to configure this and any assistance is much appreciated including any assistance over the telephone.
This volunteer centre currently has 5 PCs and 2 printers in a peer to peer configuration. They want to add a server, so that they can have network file sharing and printer sharing. There is also a scanner which was connected, but isn't now, and they're unsure whether they have the software. They would like you to design the new network, guide them in choosing the appropriate hardware and software, help them purchase it, install the network, and configure the new server, PCs, and printers (and if possible the scanner), advise about backup and implement backup facilities, and re-configure their anti-virus and firewall. They need to arrange for post-implementation support, so they would like you to document the network/server configuration so that someone can provide support. Their premises are accessible.
Advice on managing new server and network
This charity promotes community involvement in the archaeological heritage of Scotland through events and education. Working with people of all ages they aim to make archaeology interesting and fun. The charity has recently moved offices and have had a network and server professionally installed. They've not had a server previously and they want to make sure that they manage it properly. They would like a volunteer who can advise on maintenance and backup procedures. They would also like some advice on efficiently using the server for file storage as they are used to storing files locally. They believe that the server is running MS Sharepoint and have only a small network of about 8 PCs.
Independent Advisor of simple stock control
This charity offers emotional support and practical help to victims of crime, as well as crime prevention advice and measures to those who are vulnerable. The charity would like to buy a stock management scanner and associated software, they require an independent advisor to help them choose the most appropriate solution. They have completed the research but would like someone with a technical background to help them make the purchase decision. No experience of stock control is necessary but a willingness to help understand their requirements and review the products in the light of that.
Open Source Implementation Advice & electronic library thoughts
This women's centre is a hub of activity for 11 organisations/groups with strong international connections (centres in 6 other countries). It has 5 public access PCs providing training, web design, Internet access, emailing etc, and 5 PCs for the staff, all running Windows XP. They are looking for a volunteer to give advice about two specific technical requirements: 1) They have Pagemaker and CorelDRAW files that are old versions, they do not wish to lose this information - can you advise them about their options? 2) They would like to consider moving to Open Source (software and operating systems) they need someone who has experienced an Open Source implementation who can advise them and help them plan. Please note male volunteers are very welcome (there is a man's group also housed in the centre).
We hope this gives you a flavour of the volunteering opportunities we offer. If you're a potential volunteer please register to search for available opportunities similar to this. If you're a charity or not-for-profit organisation with an IT problem we may be able to help. Please register to request a volunteer.