There has always been informal volunteering at Keele, as far back as when the University first started taking students in 1962. Over 13 years ago the Volunteer Department was set up to formalise student volunteering. We aim to support students to find volunteering opportunities that they will enjoy. From this, students start to develop new skills and enhance existing ones by getting involved and making a difference.
Students use the database that we share with our partners Support Staffordshire and our own smaller database with Keele student specific opportunities. Charities and community groups can register on this database and advertise their volunteering opportunities directly to students.
Last academic year (2018/2019), the department supported over 700 students!
These are awards that are designed to recognise the fantastic work that students carry out. They are based on the number of hours that they complete, the completion of reflections of their volunteering and identifying skills gained and for the higher awards, a presentation on their experience as a volunteer. Last year, Keele students recorded 30,986 hours!
Keele Makes A Difference Days
We organise regular volunteering events in partnership with local organisations. These are short, no strings attached events where students can ‘give volunteering a go’. They can be anything from painting and decorating, gardening, or marshalling a fundraising event.
Partnership with the University
We work closely with the University and have been involved with engaging local community groups and charities with specific departments.
What Can You Get From Student Volunteers?
Keele students have so much to offer the local community. There were 30,986 volunteering hours logged last year by over 700 individuals! They have lots of skills to offer and they have a real passion for volunteering. Keele volunteers want to help out in the local community while they are here, they can bring huge benefits to your projects. You would also be helping the students by giving them the opportunity to develop and learn outside of the lecture hall on campus, enhancing their student experience.
The KeeleSU Volunteering Department conducts research on the impact that student volunteering has had on the community and on the students.
We ask students why they volunteer and what they gained from their experiences. The responses that students gave about why they wanted to volunteer were:
- Gain experience/ improve their CV
- Do something positive with their time
- Help other people
- Build their confidence
- Learn new things
We got in touch with local charities in the community to see what impact they think that
Keele students have had this year. 100% of the organisations/charities said that having Keele students was beneficial to them; the benefits that they thought the students brought to their organisation/charity were:
- New ideas and creativity
- Increased interaction with service
- More efficient service
- Gave a new enthusiasm and drive
- Larger capacity to see people
They organisations and charities were also asked to give details about specific skills that students had brought to their projects. They top responses were:
- Fresh ideas from other countries/cultures
- They can be a source of new ideas, particularly if their course is related to the project
- It was also stated that the volunteers brought “new energy and fun to our activities, engaging with children in a positive way” and “just general awareness and learning on both sides”.
- In a recent report 70% of the respondents said that the students had an impact on their organisation/charity. As a direct result of having Keele student volunteers, 20% said that they had since changed some of their practices.
How to Advertise Your Opportunities to Keele Student Volunteers
Utilising the skills of Keele students is a fantastic way for you to enrich your projects. They are keen, enthusiastic and want to make a difference. We have found that sometimes students don’t get involved because of lengthy applications or training, or a long term commitment might be needed. Students timetables might not fit with your traditional training schedules.
We want you to think about students a little differently…..They have so many skills and experiences that they can bring to your projects. Maybe you need someone who has IT skills to help with your social media, or perhaps you need someone for a specific role or event that you are hosting where you need marshals/ support staff? So really, this is all about what do you need? What does your organisation want beyond traditional volunteering roles?
KeeleSU Volunteering has a volunteering module on the main KeeleSU website. This module allows you to advertise your opportunities to students directly.
You can create a profile on the module with your organisations’ details, then you can add your volunteering opportunities for students to apply to through our database. You will receive email notifications when somebody applies for your opportunity. When new volunteering opportunities are added, if a student has ticked that they would like to volunteer with a project like yours, the student will get an automated email letting them know. They will also be able to see your opportunity listed on our database.
To see these pages for yourself, go to:
Students also have their own profiles on the website. They have the option of recording their volunteering hours that they spend volunteering towards a KeeleSU Volunteering Award. We believe that recognising Keele student volunteers is really important.
These Awards will also go on to their Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR). The HEAR is designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach to recording student achievement, which acknowledges fully the range of opportunities that higher education institutions in the UK offer to their students. The HEAR was launched in 2008 following recommendations that universities needed to be able to provide a more comprehensive record of student achievement.
Tips For Recruiting Student Volunteers
Tip 1: Create the right opportunities
- Some opportunities students will love…..some they will hate
- Try and utilise the unique skills students have
- Volunteer and fundraising challenges
Tip 2: Write good role descriptions
- Make the title short & snappy!
- Use words like ‘need, spare time fun, flexible and make a difference’
- Give a time estimate – is it a big commitment or not?
- Where/when will it be?
- What’s the difference they will be making?
Tip 3: Have a Keele Makes A Difference Day
- Arrange to have Keele students volunteering for you for just one day
- This is a no strings attached volunteering session, maybe a gardening project or some painting and decorating? If you need plants or paint for your project, the department could help to fund this
- This event can then be used to get the students involved on a more regular basis with the opportunities you have
Tip 4: How to recruit
- Talk to a member of the KeeleSU Volunteering Team
- Register each role you have on the KeeleSU Volunteering website
- Let us know which academic schools you think the role is good for so we can advertise to them
- Have a good marketing strategy to attract students using social media
- Have a stall in the Students’ Union to advertise face to face
Tip 5: Invest in your volunteers
- Induction and training
- Build up a relationship – regular meetings and feedback
- Include them in team meetings….make them a part of your organisation!
Keele University and Courses
Keele has around 11,000 students who study here each year. This number includes undergraduates, masters students and PhD students.
The Keele population is hugely diverse with students from all over the world coming to study here. There are 3 main faculties and over 30 different disciplines within these. Students have the option of studying dual honours at Keele, this means that there are potentially hundreds of different course variations available.
The three faculties and the breakdown of the subjects included within them:
Faculty of Health
- Health and Rehabilitation
- Nursing and Midwifery
Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
- Accounting, Finance and Economics
- Languages (electives)
- American Studies
- Marketing, Media and Communications
- English Literature and Creative Writing
- Music and Music
- Film Studies Technology
- Health Policy
- Politics and International Relations
- Human Resource Management
- Social Work
Faculty of Natural Sciences
- Biology, Biochemistry and Biomedical Science
- Computing and Mathematics
- Forensic Science
- Geography, Geology and Environmental Science
- Physics and Astrophysics
- Psychology and Counselling
With this huge diversity of course combinations and mixture of students from all over the UK and the world for that matter, Keele students can definitely offer your projects something extra.
If you have a specific project that you would like to aim at a specific subject or faculty, we can forward on to the relevant person once it is registered on our database.