Post date: 
Tuesday, 4 February 2020

RNIB’s Board of Trustees recently approved our Contribution and Participation Strategy.

Jo Keller, Volunteering and Resourcing Manager, shares how we co-produced our strategy working alongside volunteers, customers and colleagues.

Why a Contribution and Participation Strategy?

I wanted to develop a strategy that recognises, values and enables us to better support the many different ways people contribute their time, skills, energy and experience. It also needed to reflect where we want to be as an organisation and help us achieve RNIB’s strategic plan.

Many people volunteer their time to many different areas of our work, so I wanted a strategy that acknowledged this and gave us the opportunity to collaborate, join things up and simplify our approach, systems and processes as much as possible. Our strategy needed to support all forms of contribution and participation activities, including, but not limited to, customer involvement and Connect Voices, fundraising, social change/campaigning and volunteering activity.

Ken Reid, Connect Voices Network member and a member of the working group that supported the strategy development reflects that “having filled many volunteer roles for RNIB, I was keen to see the work fully recognised and integrated into RNIB’s way of working”. Having a strategy in this area is important so that people can be involved in the way that they want to be in future with RNIB and ultimately, enable us to better deliver our services.

Our overall aims are to:

  • make it easier to be involved in the way you want to be
  • connect you with more opportunities to get involved, if you wish, by making it easier to hear about what’s on offer
  • help you see the difference you make.

Why co-producing the strategy was important

It was vital to me that our strategy was relevant, well informed and we understood what was working well as well as identifying areas where we could improve and develop. I felt that the only way we could successfully do this was to collaborate and co-produce our strategy and bring in a range of perspectives. Our working group made up of volunteers, some of whom are blind or partially sighted and a mix of staff from across RNIB, were essential in enabling us to do this. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with the group both at a couple of face to face workshops and online meetings and enjoyed hearing different perspectives, ideas and insight. This alongside research about other organisations approaches, feedback via our volunteering survey and other colleagues as well as reviewing external research gave detailed findings and suggestions to shape our strategy.

I was delighted to receive positive comments about this approach.

“Aside from it being an enjoyable experience, I was impressed at the time that was spent canvasing and listening to volunteers and contributors’ opinions.” Ed Crowther, Volunteer Council Chair, Roaming Technology Support and Facebook and Workplace Moderator.

“This was a truly co-produced piece of work from the outset and having the perspective of volunteers and involved customers in the design and development of the strategy kept us focused on what is achievable and realistic.” Sue Worthington, National Involvement Manager.

It was great to receive this feedback! We’re now focused on working in partnership with more volunteers and customers to implement this new strategy.

How you can get involved

We want to continue collaborating so we can coproduce as much of our implementation of the strategy as possible. There are a range of activities you can get involved with. You can help us shape the future of contribution and participation by expressing your interest to Jo Keller.

“It’s been really wonderful working with such a lovely and helpful bunch of people, and I’ve been so glad to be involved. I’ve really enjoyed working on this project.” Amanda Foster, Connect Community Lead, Volunteer Council Member and Quality Check Volunteer.

A special thank you…

Finally, a special thanks to the working group involved in the development of this strategy - Amanda Foster, Becca McRow, Campbell Chalmers, Cass Kamara, Catherine Callens, Gary Brunskill, Jaqueline Bascombe, Ed Crowther, Ken Reid, Kudirat Adeniyi, Ros Parker and Sue Worthington. If you have any questions, please contact our Volunteering team.