Volntr-Crunch-art - 10/19/14
"The Volunteer Crunch: Adapting to Social Media" by Duchess Willow de Wisp, OP.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: willowdewisp at juno.com
To: logiosophia at yahoo.com, Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc. <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: [Ansteorra] voluntee Crunch
The Volunteer Crunch:
Adapting to Social Media
by Duchess Willow de Wisp, OP
In mainstream culture the problem of getting volunteers is of major concern and volumes of literature have been written about the M generation and their reluctance to join groups and volunteer their time. Generation M is all the people born since 1971 and ending with people who are about 17. The new generation hasn't been named yet.
There are many articles breaking down who volunteers and how much. It is strange fact that while the Generation M is more likely to volunteer there are in total less volunteer hours being volunteered. The lack of volunteer hours can be traced to the need of women to work in a paying job. With most families needing two or more paychecks to maintain there is just less time to spend on volunteer hours.
There appears to be a lot of young adults who would like to volunteer and who understand that their groups need volunteers but just do not have the free time to volunteer. The most common human response to this impasse is to withdrawn from the situation. If you don't hear about a need to volunteer then you cannot feel guilty about not volunteering.
In today's world the question of "How much time is this going to take" is the unasked question that new recruits will ask. The most common question asked is "How much money will this take". In essence this is the same thing because thing like costumes and other stuff can be bought therefore saving time. In most people minds there is a relationship to time=money.
Being involved in a group, any group, takes time and money. Volunteer groups usually take more money because the groups do not have any money for supplies and volunteers often have to supply the funds for activities. Going out means gas, and food and drink expenses that add up. I was in one SCA group where I worked out that to go to the meetings would cost me about 7 dollars per meeting. I just could not afford to go to the meetings. If I went to the meetings then I couldn't afford the events. Because of the red tape of this group I couldn't do a simple activity without getting "approved" by the populace and because of problems with the event I had to go to 3 populace meetings to get it approved. Doing the activity cost me 21 dollars just to be allowed to do the activity.
What I am trying to say is the cost of volunteering has gone up. The way we are handling our events and activities are more complex than 35 years ago. People who would like to add to our events and activities are willing to pay the upfront cost but the hidden costs they are not sure of. The M Generation does not want to take on a project and fail or do poorly. They are very likely to take a step back and watch and learn before they volunteer.
I believe that we need to adapt to this problem. Maybe a better use of social media would help.
• Use the autocrat system more efficiently. The nice thing about our set up is you can avoid social politics to get to do things. If you have an idea you just need to take it to the autocrats and they can check it out and tell you yes or no. No popularity contests, no paper work, no going to meetings just a few people and yes and no. After you get a yes there will be meetings and paperwork, but to get started, one question and one instant answer, give or take the autocrat checking with everyone. This system also keeps people from having to be rejected by the group. The autocrat can give the person feedback as to why the idea will not work at this time and give information to the person as to what they can do to get their idea done. When the experience becomes a learning activity, there are less hurt feelings. The autocrat can, in a "one on one" social experience, suggest other activities being done at the events that the person could take part in and enjoy working on. Limited time is wasted.
• Autocrats could run a blog that people can read and see how the event is developing and find the contact information for the people doing the individual activities. For example, I would like to do something but I have no extra time or money to commit. I read about the event and its general theme. I see that Mary Jane is the Chief Cook and in the section on the feast, Mary Jane is looking for period Mongolian recipes and ask people to send ideas. I look it up online and find one that looks good and I send it to Mary Jane. Mary Jane writes in her account, about one of the recipe that was sent in and it's yours. You had input and you are excited. You read that at this café or at the local meeting or at Mary Jane's home a meeting will be held to decide the menu. You are interested and when you look at the time + money = personal creativity + social interaction and you decide it is worth it. If Mary Jane handles the individuals properly, she should get them invested in the creative side of the activity and be able to get people to follow through with the project.
• We need to use phones to follow through on projects. People in the modern world are often lonely and join groups to experience human interaction. If people just cannot take the hour to drive to a meeting and the $$ for the gas and the irritation of small group personal power politics then a call and a human voice is very much appreciated. I sent a note to Mary Jane and she asked for my phone number and I gave it to her. She calls me and gives me some information about the meeting and tells me that my suggestion was acted / not acted upon and she thanks me for my input. I tell her my idea for serving the feast and she acts interested. She tells me she doesn't have anyone in charge of the serving ("hint", "hint") and I tell her I cannot take charge but would be willing help. I am now engaged with the event. It has moved from the abstract to the concrete. All of this is done at a minimum of expense to me and to Mary Jane.
• As the event planning unfolds and the Autocrat adds people in charge of parts of the event, those people chat about what is going on, and the event becomes an extension of the community and the lurker, and there are lurkers, can learn about the people in the group and they become part of the community. If everyone is always open about needing more people and the autocrat matches volunteers with sub chiefs this helps people get over the new person nerves and newer members find their niches. One of the chief factors in retention is that a person finds their niche.
• Many people will wait until the event to volunteer, so pictures of the key people are important. Facial recognition is the first step to knowing someone as a person. When we used to be able to get together then these introductions could be done in person. If we are going to use social media to its fullest then we need to duplicate the stages of human interaction online.
• Online information about the important people of the group and practicing the use of courtesies would be useful. Again people would have learned this through human interaction in the old days but now we need to give them this data online so they can acquire the information at their convenience. Flash cards with people and regalia and titles and courtesies might be nice.
• Information on costumes showing the simplest and some more advanced ones would be useful. Costuming is a major stumbling block for people. The social mores as to dress need to be explored. What does the well-dressed SCAer look like? Generation M wants to look good so make sure you give them the information that would allow them to look like the generic member and above. Videos and video chat rooms are useful and contact information with people who are willing to give one to one help. Photos of all contacts. Remember we are replacing meetings and personal interaction so anything that will help an individual make human contact is important.
• General information as to camping, proper behavior and who to ask if you have a problem. Names and photos would help.
• We need to report the event like a news article. People who couldn't go to the event need to know what happened. Cohesive groups develop a special language built around the activities they share by informing your members about the things that stood out at the event. They then are "in the know" and feel more of a part of the community. Again in the past this action took place at revels and meetings but now we need to fill in with social media.
• Official reports and word fame need to go out. The Baron & Baroness as the social leaders of the group need to give word fame to the people who added to the event. The work that was done at home through social media also needs to be referred to.
I am sure that all of you have good ideas on how Social media can be used to bring people together. I will be looking for some suggestion.
Willow de Wisp
Willow Ann Lanphier Taylor