The Prince’s Trust has created a community web site with SmartGroups.com, the online groups service. It aims to increase involvement between the trust and its thousands of donors, volunteers, staff and young beneficiaries.
The first group to be set up is ptfriends, to improve links between the trust and donors who have become ‘friends’. From September, they will be able to find out how their money is being spent to give new opportunities to disadvantaged young people. They will also be able to join in discussions and post their own messages.
Young people who have worked their way through the trust’s ‘Volunteers’ personal development programme, will be able to stay in touch online.
Also under consideration is a group for young people starting up in business with help from the trust, through which they could develop ideas, chat with their Prince’s Trust business mentor, and organise meetings.
“The group service offers an alternative, innovative and interactive way of keeping in touch with donors, whilst saving money at the same time,” said Richard Anderson, commercial director at The Prince’s Trust. “We will be able to provide information about events such as Party in the Park and exclusive special offers. We know that new media has the power to engage young people and hope that this will offer another way of helping those who need us most.”
“It’s great to see charities such as The Prince’s Trust using the latest technology,” said Richard Prout, managing director at SmartGroups. “This is an ideal way of using our community service, as donors can be involved in a two-way communication process.”
SmartGroups is aimed at anyone who needs to organise, or communicate with, a group of people, from sports or fan club leaders to anyone arranging a one-off social event. By setting up their own online group, leaders can send email bulletins, hold online votes, circulate central information and centrally update and store calendars, diaries, notice boards or club archive documents.
SmartGroups.com is owned by Freeserve, the UK portal with UK-focused content, e-commerce and services and free internet access. Freeserve has two million active accounts.
The Prince’s Trust was set up by the Prince of Wales in 1976, reaching out to those who need help most. Since then, the trust has helped over 400,000 people. It has supported:
• 44,000 young people on its personal development programme
• 43,000 people in starting their own business
• more than 43,000 people in starting their own business
• 15,000 people through confidence-building courses and projects
• 130,000 people through Study Support’, a school learning programme now taken up by government
• 180,000 people through grants to individuals, young people’s organisations and community projects.