A very useful broad perspective, Mark, since all of us are all-volunteer
organizations (I assume). I wonder if you have any specific things you do
to "cultivate" your volunteers and encourage them to keep coming and take
increasing amounts of responsibility?
On Sun, Feb 12, 2017 at 10:32 PM, Mark Jones <markjones(a)busybusy.org> wrote:
I believe a profoundly useful point of view for any
organizer-producer, is that each and every volunteer, over time, may
have the potential to succeed you (or, as the case may be, relieve
And...that some (few) volunteers may be sufficiently equipped or
motivated to grow into, besides running the dance, to participate on
your organization's board, or perhaps, be so vigorous in interest as
to help establish a new dance series.
This is the long-run future of having a variety of well-cultivated
volunteers and friends-in-aid: recent, long-time, younger and older.
It is not a slight task to welcome them, treat them well, and invite
them to appreciate the responsibility of aiding their own community
Treating your volunteers well is a broader topic than free admission to
the dance (and free admission may not be meaningful to some people.)
With the organizer, and with future organizers as represented by
present and future volunteers, there is a future dance and a future
dance community, and the leadership to sustain it.
Every musician knows that it is the organizer-producers that are
crucial for their gig opportunities, and for creating dances.
I relatedly view it as an essential part of growing the community of
dance to be alert to (the hard work and dedication that make)
opportunities for making it possible for young musicians to earn their
musical chops by playing regularly (another kind of volunteer).
Then there is the project of thoughtfully exposing and welcoming a
variety of new people who have never danced, whether younger or older
to your community. One might call them volunteers.
On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 5:46 PM, David Chandler via Organizers
I'm interested in how other groups handle
in-dance organizational tasks -
collecting admissions, putting out refreshments, sound and perhaps
shoes at the door. Do you use volunteers? Pay
people? If volunteers, do
have a structured corps of volunteers you rely on
or just ask for
as needed? It would be very helpful if you
mentioned how frequently you
dances, and roughly how many attend your dances.
We (Country Dance New York) have a pretty formal system, and put on
80 dances a year (weekly Tuesday and Saturday 9.5
months a year), getting
roughly 40-50 for English and 60 plus for contra. Some people volunteer
only one or a few dances, but a lot of the work
is done by "full-time
volunteers," who do at least 8 tasks during the fall and/or spring. In
exchange for this they get in free to every event. The tasks are also
structured - only members can work the door in
order to increase
funds, and attendance is kept on an iPad using
Square so there is some
training involved; refreshments involve buying food, refilling water
pitchers and putting out a number of different things to eat at the
then washing dishes and cleaning up. Volunteer
coordinators line up
for each task in advance. In general this works
very well - tasks get
and volunteers who are short on cash can get in
free. The downside, in my
view, relates to our feeling dependent on the system and thus reluctant
consider other options for fear we would lose our
some have suggested that it would be more fair to
lower our admission
for those most likely to be in need (students in
particular), or to go
"pay what you can" system of some sort.
The reports I've read suggest
"pay what you can" usually works out
well, with perhaps increased
and no loss of income. However, we can't do
that because if people could
in by paying what they can the incentive to be a
volunteer would vanish
we are afraid we would not be able to get things
done (or a very small
would have to do them, and burn out since we have
so many dances).
I have heard rumors that other dances don't
have such a structured
system and still manage to get these in-dance
tasks done. I would love to
hear how you manage getting tasks done with volunteers, especially if you
have a "pay what you can" or very reduced rate for those in need.
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