VSVA’s – what works for you?Rory PortVisitor Services Officer, Lanhydrock
Lanhydrock 2009X 274 volunteersX 158 room guidesX 210,000+ visitorsX 36.7% volunteer recommendation1 x VSO to manage all things front of house.= one very stressed VSO!= volunteers feeling unloved= inconsistency in service standards – VSO could only be inone place at a time= no time for long-term thinking or strategic planning
Background – 2 key drivers!2 key reasons for re-thinking the structure of our volunteermanagement4. Improving volunteer survey results – just 20% ‘strongly agreed’ that they were being well organised and managed5. Reduce the operational demands on VSO in day to day running of the HouseAfter consideration, I felt the obvious solution was to installa version of VVM.
What we were already doing that was working?Book Shop volunteer co-ordinatorEducation volunteer co-ordinatorBuggy Driver volunteer co-ordinatorsLiving History volunteer co-ordinator
The key, why ‘VSVA’ and not VVM?VVM wouldn’t have worked at Lanhydrockbecause.Our volunteers didn’t want to be ‘managed’ byother volunteers.What are my top tips for success?9.Tailor a solution that will be accepted and supported10.Recruit the right people!
How did we go about introducing the conceptWe had the full support of our GMConsulted and obtained ‘buy in’ from our RoomGuide RepresentativesRecruited - internally and externallyRolled out to all our volunteers during our 2011pre-season briefing days
New structure, what would it look like?X6 ‘Visitor Services Volunteer Assistants’These volunteers (VSVA’s) would act as assistants to theVSO VSO Liaison VSVA’s Representatives Room Guides
VSVA’s areas of responsibilityEach VSVA was assigned a specialist field based on their skills from:– X2 Communications (inc. newsletter)– X2 Admin– Social Calendar– Training (inc. mentoring)In addition, general duties included:– Pager cover/first response (inc. disabled access)– Radio cover– Rotas– PMV’s and wheelchairs– Rota relief– Opening set up
What have the benefits been?1. Better organised and managed volunteers2. Better communication between staff and volunteers3. Volunteers feeling and getting more involved4. Volunteers more supported5. Allow the VSO to provide more strategic support across the property6. To provide challenging volunteering opportunities7. Improve visitor experience
What are our volunteers saying now?2011 volunteer survey results confirmed that39% of our volunteers now ‘strongly agree’ thatthey are being well organised and managed,almost double that of 2009 (20%) - VSVA’s beingintroduced must have played a part.
Top Tips for success!1. Think about what works for your property and introduce something that will suit your existing team2. Involve the volunteers right from the start – have a volunteer representative involved in making the decisions3. Get your key volunteers on side – representatives etc – and use them to pass on the key reasons/messages.4. Pick the right people! If you are recruiting a person for each day, make sure their approach matches the attitude of the day
I would like to pay tribute to myteam of VSVA’s.