As the Gig Buddies project grows bigger and as the demand for our work increases we do not have the capacity to see every volunteer regularly and have to withdraw 6 monthly face to face support after the first year. We tell Volunteers that they can always call us for support and can book in a supervision if needed.
As a consequence, we wanted to find out what keeps volunteers on the project for more then a year without as much support. We hope that through finding out their motivators we would be able to help other volunteers. We did this but sending out surveys to volunteers to find out what keeps them on the project for longer than a year.
Some of the things that we learnt we should keep doing are:
1- We should keep sending out thank you letters to our volunteers to show them our appreciation
2 – We should continue running socials and events where gig buddies can meet other pairs.
3 – Spending time on making sure that gig buddy’s are the right match for each other is important.
We also asked what made volunteering difficult and volunteers reported the most common reason gig buddying became difficult was communication with their buddy. We cover how to communicate with someone with a learning disability in training but this shows we need to also make sure communication with their support network is positive too.
It is important for the gig buddy team to make sure that the volunteer and the buddy have found a way of communicating that works for the both of them and .
When we asked volunteers what they would want from us the majority said they would like more 1:1 and group supervisions. When we asked if they wanted texts message, emails or training half of the volunteers said yes half of the volunteers said no. The Gig Buddies team are getting a new database soon, which will send out automated texts and emails. This hopefully will keep volunteers engaged,
Volunteers also told us that they love the chance to go out to more gigs and that they believe in the stay up late campaign. This helps us because in the future we make voulteeres feel more like they are part of the gig buddies project. We feel great where we hear that our volunteers believe in the stay up late campaign.
We also found out 90 percent do feel appreciated as one of our volunteers. The Gig buddies team would love it to be 100 percent. If we do the things that volunteers suggested in the survey we hopefully can make it 100 percent.
By Victoria Smith
(Gig Buddies Quality Checker)