Warwick Volunteers: the effect of a pandemic and a solution to manual admin processes

Warwick University Volunteers logo showing a smiling sun and text in black

Warwick University Volunteers web page banner promoting student opportunities

This is the second in a short series of blog posts following Warwick Volunteers as it digitally transforms its offering for students and staff. The final part of the series is now live, check it out here! If you've not already, check out the first blog post here.


Warwick Volunteers




Volunteering and Employability


By term 2 of the 2021-2022 academic year, the effect of the pandemic on student participation in activities was huge. Accompanied by the expected decline in student volunteering, there were fewer partners accepting volunteers due to the nature of many face-to-face volunteering opportunities. Whilst the recovery has been difficult, exacerbated by many student leaders having graduated, WV is now at 75% of pre-pandemic registered volunteer numbers.

Paul explained:


Students usually join in for one of three reasons: Community – Friends – Skills. The University’s focus is Student – Community – University. Students prioritise friends and community from volunteering whereas the University has a focus on skills. The team at WV brings these all together. This is why 50% of international students volunteer, which is the best participation rate of any University of Warwick extracurricular activity.- Paul Barlow & WV Manager


WV expects numbers to only improve from this point onwards as the team and all the volunteers benefit from their new digital resources and dedicated online presence.


Tackling lengthy admin processes


Saving staff time by reducing manual admin tasks was an important factor in moving to a digital solution. Volunteers no longer need to submit their hours to staff; instead, they can log their own hours through their own profile and allocate those hours to skills and activity types.  This alone saves approximately 6 weeks of staff time in the academic year and gets rid of the problem of deciphering students’ handwriting!  


 The functionality in MSL Volunteering & Employability is exceptional; it has streamlined so many of our previously manual processes and provides a great user experience for both staff and students - Paul Barlow, WV Manager


The ability for students to log their own volunteering hours has had a huge impact on staff workloads. And when students achieve the awards criteria, they can download their own certificates rather than wait for staff to do that for them. These time savings mean that staff can offer more of their expert support to students rather than just providing an admin service.

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