Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

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Week 7: Working in teams and partnerships


A team is a group of people working together to achieve a common goal. The idea of ‘belonging to a team’ can be very appealing – it conjures up images of everyone working together well, knowing their role within the team and working towards a shared purpose. Teams do not just ‘gel’ overnight, however – team building takes time and there is usually someone in the role of team manager or leader facilitating the process. Sometimes teams do not function well and experience conflict. People are all different, and some may resist working in teams or have had negative experiences of teams.

Teams occur in most organisations, irrespective of sector. What is unique about the voluntary sector is that teams often involve both paid staff and volunteers, as well as teams made up entirely of volunteers. In the voluntary and public sectors, there is considerable cross-organisational working to achieve common goals, for example on a regeneration project or a social care initiative. These are usually described as partnerships.

Working in a team brings together many of the issues you have already covered on the course so far: for example, how to communicate well, how to work with volunteers and how to participate in meetings. These are all key elements of working in a team or a partnership. You were also introduced to the idea of teams in Week 5, where Anna and Patrina talked about the importance of team work and learning from each other while fundraising.

Start by watching this video in which Julie Charlesworth introduces you to Week 7.

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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • recognise the differences between groups and teams and understand the importance of teams
  • outline what the roles are in teams
  • outline the different stages of team development
  • explain the importance of partnership working and its role in the voluntary sector
  • describe your own experiences of teams and partnerships.

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