Media Trust brings volunteer “speedmatching” to Birmingham

Media Trust brings volunteer “speedmatching” to Birmingham

The Media Trust has been matching charities with volunteers in the media industry for years. They promote their “media matching” service online, and at relevant events around the country; and now the Trust is upping their game with a host of “speedmatching” events in the next few months.

The Media Trust did speedmatching event back in February of this year but it was strictly BBC staff giving advice to charities only. Now things are opening up to all volunteers, which conveniently coincides with David Cameron’s “Big Society” strategy.

This practical new play on the old speed-dating activity brings charities together with new potential volunteers, with a new introduction every 5 minutes throughout the duration of the speedmatching event.

So if you know a charity in Birmingham (UK) needing media help from expert volunteers, be it new media or old media, anything from web design to public relations, invite the charity to come down to one of the Media Trust’s new speedmatching events reaching Birmingham in September & October (2010).

And if you’re a media industry professional, the speedmatching events can be just as useful for you. Volunteering with a bit of charity work can be an easy way to enhance your CV, to develop your professional experience and improve your career prospects. Not too demanding either; just be thoughtful & clear about how much time you’re able to give from the start.

Here’s an excerpt from some guidance document issued to volunteers upon booking on a speedmatching event…

  • BEFORE YOU ARRIVE: have a read through the profiles we send you – if you’re from a charity, think of some specific questions you might want to ask each adviser (e.g. rather than just ‘we want to raise our profile’ think ‘we’d like to raise the profile of this specific part of our project amongst 18-25 year olds in South London’).  If you’re attending as an adviser, read through the profiles of the organisations so you know the background on them before you arrive – this saves time on the night!
  • Please arrive in plenty of time before 6pm. Once you have signed in there will be time to grab a drink, something to nibble on and do some mingling.
  • We’ll explain how it all works, then the charities will be given a seat for the night and the advisers then asked to join a charity for the first round of ‘matching’. You’ll get to meet 10 different charities so it doesn’t matter who you start with.
  • You’ll be given a ‘Match Card’, which you’ll need to fill in as you go along. This is to let us know whether you would be interested in meeting further with any of your potential matches. * Please note, we will collect these at the end of the night so if you wish to make any notes for yourself then please use the spare paper in your delegate pack.
  • When the bell rings you will have five minutes to talk to your first potential match. You should use this time to find out about each other and what help you need/have to offer and then note down on your Match Card if they are someone you may be interested in working further with in future.  Remember, we will never match you with anyone you haven’t said yes to, we only make a match when both sides have said yes.
  • When the bell sounds again the advisers will move to the next table, whilst charities remain seated.
  • You then have five minutes with the second potential match. This will be repeated until you have met all your potential matches.
  • At the end of the evening one of the Media Trust staff will collect your Match Card and your evaluation form. We do sometimes take photos at these events and in these cases we will also need you to fill in a release form saying whether or not you are happy for your photo to be taken.
  • We will finish the evening with time for more drinks and a chance to chat further with the other attendees.
  • The Media Matching team will contact you by email a few days after the event to let you know about any positive matches you have made.  It will then be up to you to contact your matches to arrange to discuss further by phone or in person.
  • The Media Matching team will be in touch in about a month to find out how things are going with your match, but feel free to get in touch with us anytime.  We like to hear all your feedback, positive or negative.

Visit the Media Trust website for further information about speedmatching and the general Media Matching programme.

And there are a few other national volunteering schemes, similar to those of the Media Trust, including iT4Communities (owned of AbilityNet) and Do-it (part of the YouthNet charity).

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