Now that I'm getting back into volunteering there is one persistent issue that nearly every organization seems to have a problem with - getting people involved. I dealt with many of the same issues at Brock University as a student leader during the inception of Facebook and while learning from past leaders that had to constantly compete with the home media revolution. This is a battle with two fronts. The first and most pressing issue is the communications divide between older groups that didn't embrace technology or stunted their own community online by delivering only to the existing member base. The other is what I call apathy, this runs the spectrum from those that don't care to those that cannot find the time due to one-sided recreational commitments.
Getting Welland Online - Agency
There are hundreds of web developers and would-be internet heroes in Welland, there is no lack of skill. In Welland there are issues regarding agency and value in web development. Very few older groups are willing to allow the young and technologically proficient members take the lead on a web based project due to the risk associated with publishing materials online. Among the groups that have allowed semi-proficient older members to take the lead there have been issues regarding privacy, urgency, and accountability.
The solution is usually for admins to get over themselves. There are always new outreach channels and none of them are inferior to the last. Allow younger members to take the lead on a project and sign on as an executive in the organization. Many groups have their secretary publish a newsletter - create an additional position that covers taking the publications of the secretary to a group website, facebook page, or any other web platform that your group could find new members in. If it exists on paper then it needs to exist online.
By making them an agent of the organization there will be a legal liability to their actions and a drive to complete projects rather than being the person that always recommends then never delivers.
Television and Apathy in Welland
Apathy is a spectrum disorder in the volunteer community and among all of the remaining clubs. In terms of time commitments the vast major of members are still spending more time in front of the television, tablet, or monitor than they are in any non-screen based recreational activities.
The solution is involvement and fostering a local-first mentality. Welland lacks 24-hour meeting spaces and other elements found in developed communities that need to drive up membership. These public commons allow the television and ipod-social masses to take the first step while remaining connected. Cut the cable, establish shut-down times, and plan your media consumption ahead of time. After going cold turkey on television you may find that you prefer to get your news through SMS-pushed twitter feeds or through a small radio. Breaking the television habit is viable for all skill levels.
Get a Calendar - Then Add These
Welland needs people, this includes the people that are already involved to come out to our signature events.
Visit the weekly Farmers Market, you are a short walk away from the Welland Historical Museum. Go there.
The Welland Museum is a short walk away from the Community Wellness Complex. The Community Wellness Complex will be host to the Welland Culture Day on September 28th, 2013. Go there.
The Welland Rose Festival will start on June 1st, 2013 with the opening ceremonies being held at Memorial Park all day long. The Rose Fest will end on June 23rd, 2013 with the Welland Rose Parade going from the Welland Farmers Market to Memorial Park in Welland. Go there.