Building on an extensive digital museum training programme in the South West and a pilot volunteer engagement programme, a museum-specialist digital company are looking to roll-out a national Volunteer Makers Engagement Training and Support Programme.
Tickbox, based in Bristol, will be building on their Volunteer Makers training and development pilot programme they ran from Jan-April 2016. This proved demand for their volunteer engagement development model and follows a successful 3-year digital engagement project run for the SW Museum Development Programme where they worked with over 40 museums across the South West to help them create a digital engagement strategy.
It also builds on extensive experience working with Luton Culture to create the technology behind the Museum Makers initiative, which helped build a substantial and transformational volunteer community for Wardown Park Museum.
Tickbox is now looking to roll out the programme to museums nationally from October 2016.
Museums in the the volunteer engagement programme benefit from:
- Increased collaboration with communities and business
- Increased diversity and skill-sets in the volunteer base
- Increased sustainability from volunteering
- Increased organisation-wide understanding of targeted digital engagement strategy, supported by appropriate tools
- Sharing best practice in latest volunteer engagement thinking<
Volunteer Makers – a development model for engaging volunteers – is a model for bringing volunteers together in teams and communities to support a museum in a way that suits the volunteer as well as the museum.
It is taking into account changing demographics, affecting how and why people volunteer – along with reduced funding in the sector. The model also looks to widen and diversify the volunteer base for museums, as well as increasing the impact and effectiveness of volunteering and the ability for museums to measure this impact.
Tickbox’s national volunteer engagement programme supports demand in the sector evidenced in their pilot programme, which is summarised below:
- Museums need support in growing the volunteer offer from purely operational or ad-hoc event-driven activities into a model that offers support, interaction and sustainability across the whole range of museum activities
- There is a need to develop strategies and models to target specific volunteer profiles and demographics
- Museums faced challenge to effectively strategise relationship building with their volunteer
- All organisations felt they had lower than optimum numbers of volunteers
- Volunteer engagement strategies were not embedded organisation-wide, and tended to be centralised and carried out ad-hoc
- Museums found it difficult to measure the value of volunteering to their organisation
- Museums found it challenging to match volunteer skills with specific strategic needs in order to get the most out of and improve the experience of existing volunteers and increase opportunities and appeal to a more diverse range of potential volunteers.
Volunteer Programme Director, Claire Sully said,
“Already we have had 3 major museum networks interested in working with us. We hope our work will put museums at the forefront of innovative volunteer engagement, which could work also for other sectors, such as arts and charities.”