This course is designed to make it easier to understand the basics of how the SVA Foundation works and set you up for success.
I want to start with a personal thanks for joining the SVA. From the very first day (and the Facebook page I started after the Christchurch earthquakes) to today, my mantra is to 'make it easier for people to help others as volunteers.' Thank you for joining our team and bringing your skills, energy and passion to our organisation and the people we support.
I'm really excited to work with you and learn from you.
I'm so glad you’ve joined us, thank you. You may be reading this in the middle of a crisis response when we need to surge in team members or you may be a new staff member or volunteer starting with SVA. Either way, in this course, you’ll gain all the tools you need to get started with us. Haere mai!
SVA is as much of an approach as it is a process which is a core principle to keep in mind. We approach problems in a particular way and solve them as fast as we can with the tools we have. What we mean is often there is no textbook approach and its okay to feel a little lost at the start. Be sure to ask questions as you go.
This on-boarding course will cover the following highlights:
A brief history of our SVA, what we stand for, and what you can expect from our community.
Next, you’ll discover more about our programmes and the messaging we typically use when we talk about them.
The third section covers first-day business and the tools we use (our SVA app) and support tech stack (technology used)
In the “People” section, you’ll understand our approach to health and safety and understand the benefits we offer to our volunteers and staff.
Section five covers our disaster response approach and the SVA Grocery Service.
Last but not least, you’ll find a general agreement about being a member of the SVA team.
Started after the Christchurch earthquakes, the Student Volunteer Army has grown over the past 10 years to become a leading education charity in Aotearoa focused on providing meaningful volunteer engagement and opportunities for students.
2010 : SVA Founded
SVA was born from a Facebook page started by Sam Johnson, a then University of Canterbury student, in response to the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake. A couple of days after the natural disaster, Sam invited 200 of his friends an event he started called the "Student Base for Earthquake Clean up" which was designed to help locals with non-lifesaving tasks such as soil liquefaction clean up.
This event grew to have over 2500 volunteers who chipped in for the clean up of Christchurch over the following weeks. To keep the momentum going after the success of their event, Sam and other key organisers teamed up with the University of Canterbury Students Association to form the Student Volunteer Army as we know it today - a club on campus to make helping others easy.
2011 : Response to the 2011 Earthquake
The February earthquake was much more devastating and the SVA once again rallied to help their community who were hit by widespread liquefaction. There were 70 core organisers who with support from business, residents Civil Defence worked to clean up the streets of Christchurch. SVA saw the mass deployment of volunteers to the worst affected areas, had volunteers responding to requests from individuals that came through the call centre or website and aided with management of volunteers for other organisations.
At its peak, this emergency response saw up to 13,000 students volunteering each week. This lay the foundations for SVA's future for not only emergency response but for a culture of students wanting to make a difference in their communities.
2011 - 2020 : Lending a Hand
Over the years, SVA put their experience to work and assisted with other major events in Aotearoa including the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, the 2017 Port Hills fires, the Christchurch mosque shootings as well as other natural disasters. What we do is mobilise people in a crisis; but there is no magic. It takes hard work, great communications, media help, long hours and many, many phone calls.
The SVA ethos has always been to say yes, respond quickly and put the welfare of our volunteers first.
2020 : Covid-19 Responsee
When the Covid-19 pandemic landed in New Zealand, SVA was well equipped to help out where necessary.
The Grocery Delivery service was built and launched to enable vulnerable people to have safe, fast and affordable delivery of food and our fantastic volunteers always ensure a positive and friendly service. Our volunteers have also been a great support in vaccination clinics helping our health professionals and to help everything run smoothly.
When we're not delivering groceries or helping at vaccination centres during the Covid-19 pandemic, you'll find us in schools and universities across Aotearoa working with students and lending a hand to important initiatives. At SVA, we're all about creating purposeful volunteer opportunities for young people to show them that they can be the change they want to see in their communities. We need all hands on deck and are glad to have you on board!
SVA is focused on creating a pipeline of future volunteers who have the skills and abilities to contribute to the community sector. Over the past year we have been successful in training a new cohort of volunteers who have been able to collaborate with individuals and organisations to assist with worthwhile projects and address the challenges and needs in their local community through being a volunteer at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
SVA Schools (Primary)
A primary school focused teaching resource used to teach project management skills to students.
SVA Schools supported 24,000 primary aged students from 750 classrooms in every region of New Zealand to learn the principles of volunteering and undertake a volunteering project in a local park, waterway or other community location in the past year. Teachers receive a free resource kit and journey their students through the process of finding a project, building a team and a plan, and making that project happen. This process is core to all parts of SVA and was based on how the UC SVA Club operates.
SVA Service Award (Secondary)
A five level badge based system designed to recognise the volunteer efforts of students.
Through the SVA Service Award, our five-level badge based system that records student volunteering and assists students to use their service hours to advance their career, we have recognised students and supported deeper community engagement from their school. 245 secondary schools of every decile level across New Zealand are engaged in the programme which means over one third of all NZ secondary schools are already part of SVA.
Students recorded their volunteering to the UN Sustainable Development goals. The most hours were contributed towards goal #3 Good Health and Wellbeing (36,000 actions) and the second-highest was Quality Education (27,855 actions). Many of our volunteers in crisis times are pulled from our network of secondary students.
We work with School Kit to deliver this programme. Emma (Wellington) and Kylie (Hamilton) own and operate an incredible company called School Kit. SVA wouldn't be where it was without these two. We contract School Kit to talk to teachers on our behalf. Their teammate, Cat (Hamilton), is who we often deal with. We chat with School Kit via Basecamp.
Tertiary based clubs where student execs create and operate volunteer projects for their peers.
We have expanded from having one SVA club at the University of Canterbury to having six clubs operating around New Zealand at Otago, Lincoln, Ara, Victoria, and Auckland.
Clubs operate with their own independent exec team of students who lead their club. Clubs use the SVA app and infrastructure to operate their projects. Each of the clubs, depending on their size, run 2-4 ‘Big’ events and fortnightly/ monthly smaller ‘Platoon’ projects.
Over the years SVA now also provides opportunities for adults to volunteer. Everything from response projects to ways to get involved with other charity organisations, there is plenty to get involved in.
We also work with a range of organisations to help them get volunteers We talk them through listing on our app, managing their projects and more. An example of this is the Red Cross with the Meals on Wheels programme.
SVA's model is low touch, high scale. We design and deliver programmes that get young people volunteering in their local context.
admin.sva.org.nz is the backend to the volunteer portals.
Once you have made a volunteer profile, message your manager to get admin access
Once you have access, login at admin.sva.org.nz with the same details as for the volunteer side and explore.
SLACK is our main communication tool for messaging our teams and clubs. We try to use this as much as possible instead of email.
Download it now. You want to download it both on your computer and on your phone.
Ask your manager for an invite.
While the above tools are important, we are almost religious about Ontraport. It's our CRM, website page builder and automated email marketing tool all in one. Please watch the below video to get a basic understanding.
Create your account and log in. Remember to download your emergency kit and save it
Download the computer app, the browser extension and the phone app
Login to all of them
Check in with your manager to get a @sva.org.nz email set up
We use Google for everything else. Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Forms. Please familiarise yourself with these if you aren’t already.
All information should be stored on the foundation drive : Linked Here
Other Things (access given as needed)
Amazon Connect: Amazon Connect is our phone centre. Call centre operators can access our phones via here remotely. Quicksight: Quicksight is our system with all our data in it. Canva: Canva is a design tool to make things look pretty. Robbie is our lead designer but feel free to have a crack yourself first and ask Robbie to improve it.