@tschumilas posted this to slack but I think this is something we all struggle with at times and it would be fantastic to share what has and hasn’t worked around the world.
Some of Theresa’s points:
"What strategies can I use to recruit some additional OFN volunteers before that? I need someone to do promo/marketing and platform support functions as a minimum. Suggestions? How can I recruit some people?
I have extensive networks - and lots of people ask me how they can help - but as soon as I say what I really need is for someone to start onboarding and supporitng users, they run away. Where can I find these volunteers?"
At a recent Open Food Network Australia get together we talked about how we came to our current roles, both what made us care about food systems or networks, etc and how that then led us to committing time to Open Food Network. I think (there was wine involved and it was late) that we observed that our two main avenues in were personal networks, and getting inspired by hearing Open Food Network presented at events such as a food hubs conference.
I think we were quite split between coming onboard with open-ended volunteering, and coming onboard to help with one thing - e.g. an event, a report, a particular project onboarding people.
I think we’ve had similar experiences of investing time into meeting with potential volunteers who seem keen and willing and then disappear without a trace - I don’t think we have an especially high conversion rate at times! @serenity would have a better sense of it having done more of this work over the years.
My observation would be that we have higher retention of slightly older people with another paid job who only want to work part-time and also volunteer or do a mix of paid and unpaid work for OFN, rather than interns or uni students who then want to go on to a full-time job elsewhere, although our interns have been incredibly useful when it comes to a short burst project. I think people have perhaps stuck around more when they don’t have too much crossover with another role, i.e. they have an area/project that is theirs to shape and drive.
In Australia we feel like we’re currently transitioning somewhat to sharing more of the leadership load, but I think it’s very much an ongoing process - it’s challenging to implement even when we’re actively trying to do so! @Kirsten or @danielle do you have any other thoughts on what has led to current transition that would be useful to others?
I think something we’re currently struggling with is how to incorporate new volunteers when we’re geographically distant and co-working less often - being part of a group has been a drawcard previously.
I know many of these ideas are things you’re most likely already doing or would like to do but can’t due to time constraints, but I would love to hear more from others around the world about how they have recruited team members, got people involved, found volunteers when needed, and just generally found others to share the load.