Monday, 2 September 2013

A new beginning for Do-It

Last week saw the announcement of the new home for Do-It, the English national volunteering database.

For over a decade Do-It has been the go to online resource for people to find out about volunteering opportunities in England. Every 45 seconds someone finds a volunteering opportunity through Do-It and 30% of them have never volunteered before. All this has been possible through the hard work of a dedicated team at YouthNet, the owners of Do-It, and their partners (mainly local Volunteer Centres).

However, in March 2013 YouthNet announced plans to find a new owner for Do-It and last week this was announced as a partnership led by the team behind, the network for social change connecting people, companies and organisations that want to change their world.

I think this is an excellent piece of news for the sector.

For starters,'s CEO, Jamie Ward-Smith, has a strong track record in this arena. Not only was Jamie instrumental in the establishment of Do-It back in 2001 but he has a strong track record in working with the local volunteering infrastructure, initially as CEO at Volunteer Centre Kensington ad Chelsea but also as a senior civil servant in the Blair Labour government when the Russell Commission was conducting it's work.

These strong links should not be underestimated in their importance. Put simply, without the information supplied by local Volunteer Centre's Do-It would not have the volume or quality of  volunteering opportunities that it does. Key to Do-It's continued survival and essential to it's future development is the relationship it has with Volunteer Centres and Jamie is well placed to drive this forward.

The there is the track record Jamie and the team have in driving social innovation in our sector. In just a few short years has become a key resources for volunteers and leaders & managers of volunteer programmes. That has built on the work of the Red Foundation, an initiative Jamie ran prior to and that I had the pleasure of working with on the Modernising Volunteering National Support Service whilst I was at Volunteering England.

Just as the link between Volunteer Centres and Do-It is important for the future, so it the creativity of the new partnership to innovate, especially around the development and integration of social media and microvolunteering. This is something I think and their partners are uniquely placed to deliver.

So this is good news for all of us, whether volunteer or manager of volunteers. Good news doesn't come along very often these days. Let's take the opportunity to celebrate with the new team behind Do-It as we wish them all success for the future.

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