The renewed Charitylog user groups have attracted real interest and are generating valuable insights and learnings for the network. So why not join one in the New Year? In September, we announced the re-booting of the Charitylog user group and then the establishment of four sub groups to look at how we use the system for volunteer management, reporting, accounting and rostering. We have now had meetings of all the groups in both October and November and more will follow in January 2021.
The sub groups have been sharing with each other their common challenges and the solutions they have found and this has allowed us to have an ongoing dialog with Charitylog about system improvements.
We circulate minutes of the meetings to all attendees. If you would like to receive a copy please let us know at NetworkInfrastructure@ageuk.org.uk
A summary of the key aspects:
- One partner has recently used its own consultants to develop a reporting tool in conjunction with Charitylog using Microsoft Power BI. This is now being tested and the consultants shared their findings with the Reporting sub-group. A few partners have already expressed interest in exploring this and we will now watch how this progresses. This has the potential to materially improve both the speed and the usefulness of reports which would have material benefits for all Charitylog users.
- The Volunteering sub-group shared their experiences and identified the lack of any common operating model. They have agreed to meet together for a longer 2 hour session in January to allow time to share ideas and suggestions for best practice.
- The Invoicing and Accounting sub group discovered that half of them invoice in Charitylog and the other half in their own accounting system but neither way worked as well as we would like. It was agreed that we would explore in more detail the best way to link the Charitylog information to our more commonly used accounting platforms.
- The sub group looking at the Call Round and Telecoms issues are now testing the next version of the system for the mobile app. We identified that in future this group should also look at the rostering module as this is something that some partners have issues with.
- In the full group meeting we had an update from Charitylog on their planned developments including a new ticketing portal to record service issues. This will be released early next year and will allow all of us to, more easily, see the common problems the network is reporting and ensure those issues are being addressed.
Across all of our meetings the common theme was around training and how we share knowledge. In many cases the users admitted that they have been self-taught or had limited handover training. Charitylog have run training, and still offer this but have found the take up limited as every partner operates the system in different ways and therefore group training has been difficult.
We have agreed to set up a new sub group to focus on training. This will seek to establish the training requirements and then we will work with Charitylog to develop a suitable training programme ranging from simple introduction to masterclass on specific aspects. There are clearly a group of “super-users” across the network and we will also look at how we can cross train ourselves as that would be an easy way of everyone improving on the use of the system.
In addition to these bigger issues the groups have shared many of their successes and for example, we have been introduced to a telecoms provider who provided a whole system on short notice to one organisation in the network which may be of help to others.
In October we had over 60 attendees at the group meetings ranging from people who have just joined a partner to those with many years’ experience. We will continue to share forthcoming meetings on the Network Infrastructure Hub so please do join one or more, or volunteer others. Everyone is welcome no matter what level of experience you have.
We have so much to share and learn from each other, so why not make an easy New Years resolution to join one of the groups in 2021? You do not need to travel and it will be an easier resolution to keep than either giving up chocolate or going to the gym!