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This shift is so needed. Thanks for sharing the ways that you are building connection and ongoing engagement!
Thanks for the comment, Susan. I know a lot of us have been in the same boat. It's a frustrating experience.
Here are a couple ideas for those who might be exploring options to reduce this behavior:
When I first started at a volunteer center, we had a number of groups drop out after our staff had done a lot of work setting up the project with a partner agency. To help, we started requiring an initial deposit for any projects that we facilitated before we invested significant time in it and explained that it helped support the staff time needed to create successful projects. We also asked a lot more questions upfront about their goals to see if we/our partners were a good fit. Our no-shows and ghosting experiences dropped dramatically. I know not everyone charges a fee for these experiences, but you could instead ask for a deposit that is returned at the end of the project. Or perhaps create an agreement outlining expectations for the volunteer group and the host organization that needs to be signed before work begins. Not only does this help align everyone, but it helps educate volunteer groups about how much work it takes to create meaningful and successful service experiences.
Yes, yes, yes! May I have permission to publish this on our blog - Service Matters? www.volunteerhouston.org/servicematters
Hi Brooke, yes, you are welcome to publish it. I appreciate you asking and sharing it. If you'd like a copy in Word, feel free to email me: suecarterkahl at gmail.com.
Sue: Wonderfully article. You've given me lots to think about and some good questions to engage my colleagues in conversation about why we engage the community in our work and mission. Thank you!
I'm glad it resonated and that you'll be able to put it to use, Maggie. We'd love to hear how the conversations go.