Lay Some Patio Stones
This picture is from my local pharmacy and believe it or not when I saw it, I immediately thought of volunteer engagement. This is going to be a roundabout tale, hold on! This spot is in an odd place, there is not a clear way to get there if you are walking. The parking lot is often jammed and so people park across the street and walk over. It is a confusing intersection not far up from a stoplight and the people travelling left actually have the right of way, plus there is a grocery store, daycare and a church. Mad times in urban planning! My takeaway from this image is that someone made a choice, acknowledged how people moved through this space and went with it, in fact made it easier for everyone to get where they wanted to go. They did not hold onto the idea that there is a sidewalk close by, they did not plant bigger shrubbery or something with thorns to try and deter people. So now you know the lay the of the land, what could this possibly have to do with volunteer engagement? It is about acknowledging the truth.
Sometimes we hear from people that they are having trouble recruiting volunteers, that they have had these roles for the past 15-20 years and they can’t seem to find any person interested in them now. That is a tough situation to be in for sure, but there is a choice. As an organization you can continue to struggle and suffer, you can try to force people through the thorny, tall shrubbery as it were, or you can lay out some patio stones! There is space for reimaging everything, nothing needs to look like it did before. It is hard work for sure and work that takes time but worth doing if you want to continue to engage volunteers in the work that you are doing. If this post is resonating with you and you want to talk it through just give us an email we would love to catch up.