Photo sharing in the voluntary sector.

Timebank LogoWho are they?

Where are they?
Based in London, but operating nationally.

What do they do?
Aim to inspire a new generation of people to volunteer in their communities, and help businesses and charities to develop effective volunteer programmes.

How big are they?
Around 40 staff.

What did they receive?
Flickr: five one-year pro accounts

Cisco PIX506E Security Appliance

Microsoft Publisher 2007, Visio Professional 2007, Windows Server 2003, Technet Plus single-user subscription, System Essentials 2007 Server and 30x Office Professional Plus 2007.

The outcome?
Photo file management is  streamlined, with efficiency gains and cost savings as a result.

TimeBank is an Internet-generation charity, having been set up in 2000 by the founders of Comic Relief. “But we ask people to give their time, rather than their money,” says Damien Austin-Walker who, as Head of Technical and Online Systems at the organisation, has seen the charity’s remarkable growth at first hand.

The core idea behind TimeBank is simple – to attract new people to the world of volunteering, matching them with the best opportunities to give back to the community.

“It’s a harder ask, getting people to give their time,” explains Damien. “It is a much bigger commitment for them than donating money.  We can get people to express interest – but converting them to actual volunteering is the next step – and that can be difficult.” Nevertheless, TimeBank has attracted over 250,000 people into volunteering since its inception. Along the way, it has branched out from being a single-issue charity, with one main website and one application form, to taking a wider remit, offering expert services to the commercial sector amongst a wide range of individual projects.

Timebank Image

How has CTX helped with this?

“Firstly, it has freed up money for us,” reports Damien. “Our IT budget has to come from our core grant. So in terms of the standard Microsoft software, for instance – which we’d have needed to have bought anyway – CTX has allowed us to use that spend elsewhere.”

“This has also meant that we haven’t had to contemplate a big move to open-source software,” he adds. “This would have involved an extensive change management programme.”

“We needed security – and Cisco is a better brand than we’d have been able to invest in. But it was the Flickr licenses that made the most difference, in terms of pushing us towards new ways of working.”

Flickr – the photo management and sharing application – offers Pro account upgrades through CTX – just the thing for a charity with a wide community involvement.

“We have over 5000 photos to use on websites, on brochures, for all sorts of marketing – and we needed a central resource. We’d tried lots of packages, we’d played with desktop libraries – but they were a little complex for end users. Flickr was ideal,” says Damien.

“We’ve set up a number of accounts. Now, for example, if we’re using a printer or a designer, or working on a press article, we can very easily give the right person guest access to photography – we don’t need to file transfer. Some photos we make public, and so we’re sharing photos and sharing stories with our community – we can integrate these with social media such as Twitter and Facebook.”

“Also, when we embed photos on our websites, these are now hosted on Flickr rather than our own servers – so this saves us both space and bandwidth,” he adds.

TimeBank’s use of Flickr shows how the CTX programme can provide the impetus for a charity to try something new – with cost savings arriving organically as a result.



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