Imagine seeing a social media post that shows a secluded, quiet beach.
The water is pristine turquoise, and the sky a brilliant blue. Then you go to the beach to experience this opportunity for peace only to find overwhelming crowds of people. As humans, we build up expectations about what we will experience from the people around us. These expectations provide a pre-experience picture that can either be supported, built on or let down.
When looking for new volunteers have you heard, ‘I’m worried I will be roped into more than I can do?’, ‘I’m not sure what I can contribute’ or ‘I don’t have much time.’ Finding new volunteers and then retaining them requires managing and meeting expectations. Having clear expectations of what you are wanting, helps alleviate any concerns volunteers, or funders may have about getting involved.
- Listen to Bo Goliber discuss practical ways to tap into corporate volunteering through managing expectations on Volunteer Plain Talk.
So how can you meet expectations and manage the experience of your volunteers? How about looking at the spaces your volunteers occupy in your organisation. Are they welcoming? Are they clear?
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The ‘green room’ is the name given to the space for performers before they go on stage. This room is painted green and is done, it is said, to promote calm and focus. The spaces we occupy inform and support us to carry out our necessary activities. We have benches in kitchens, so we can move as we mix and create, we have couches in lounge rooms where we wind down and in board rooms, one big table with chairs lining it to create focused and structured conversation.
What sort of spaces do you provide for your volunteers?
Do volunteers involved in your program / group / organisation have a space where they can meet? Is it open, does it maximise interaction, and can it vary? How can the space you are in, support innovation?
Below are some helpful resources to start looking at the volunteering experience: