Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Engaging Volunteers

Staff Reporter, Seven Ideas to Improve Volunteering Engagement and Effectiveness, Pb, 30 August 2016

Taking a design-thinking approach to reframe the future of volunteering at a recent Not for Profit and corporate workshop has delivered seven key ideas to help improve volunteering engagement and effectiveness, write Spark Strategy’s Laura Reed and Peopleplan’s Margaret O’Brien.

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DigiVol volunteers at the Australian Museum. Source: Australian Museum

Online learning and communications company Peopleplan and social impact strategists Spark Strategy led a workshop where teams were formed around three personas – youth, corporate and older volunteers.

Participants attended from a range of organisations including the Australian Red Cross, The Smith Family, FoodBank, Surf Lifesaving Australia, Australian Museum, Legacy along with corporates IAG, Commonwealth Bank and host Atlassian.

The group worked through a series of design-thinking activities, including persona mapping and user journeys, identifying and prioritising break points and developing solutions to the break points that would make the most impact if fixed.

Here are the top seven take-outs:

Youth volunteering

Mismatched expectations of youth volunteers are a key reason for disengagement. Young people have an expectation they can “change the world” and then they are put to work handing out food trays or painting a fence.

  1. One idea to change that centred around a school campaign which aimed to make volunteering a part of everyday life for all youth, as well providing a realistic picture of what volunteering looks like and how even small actions can help an organisation achieve its goals.
  1. Another team called for a volunteering “rebrand” – that we need to make it more visible and desirable for youth to participate, even a reality TV style show was suggested. Who has a contact at The Gruen Transfer?

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