2015-04-02

By Robert Chung and edited by Kylie Pratt, AmeriCorps members serving on the Foundation To Be Named Later Boston Civic Engagement team

In all areas of creating the volunteer experience, from the strategy, preparation, and execution, the Foundation To Be Named Later Boston Civic Engagement team seeks to continuously improve the experience for its volunteers at each service event. The Civic Engagement experience is an on-going process, committed to improvement, rather than a static framework that serves all events and projects.

As such, the Civic Engagement team and the fellow External Affairs Department at City Year Boston came together in March to more accurately articulate the goals and processes expected for volunteers during a service event. During this session, the group highlighted six goals in particular:

  1. Volunteers are to be empowered to continue service in the future

  2. Volunteers are to understand their role in the context of the event, understanding both the big picture of the changes they are making for the service site, as well as the finer details.

  3. Volunteers peak their curiosity about City Year through the Civic Engagement Team’s ability to inform and engage the volunteers.

  4. Volunteers enjoy their time and engage with one another, in particular, they will be provided a team building experience that can support their work as peers following the event.

  5. Volunteers feel that they have made a difference and positive, sustainable impact to the service site beneficiaries.

  6. Volunteers feel connected to their city and the community that they are benefiting.

Additionally, the department brainstormed various possibilities to address these goals, which included optimization of the following areas:

  • Giving volunteers a grander scope of the impact made during the day through tours or summaries of the finished product made at the service site.

  • Providing multimedia options regarding the event’s community and service site, as well as the impact made at the community’s schools that City Year is partnered with.

  • Giving volunteers take-away items to remember their day of service and impact

  • Maximizing the trainings and experiences of our additional project coordinators, which include Service Reserves and first-year AmeriCorps Members.

These goals and processes are still progressing, and in redefining and achieving our goals, our department is committed to a design-thinking approach, an iteration cycle that treats each volunteer’s experience as a unique one and our attempts to provide the best experience possible for such experience through continual re-defining of our mission and process. The diagram below illustrates this iteration cycle:


(Source: Createdu.org)

Just as City Year seeks to create positive change to its communities, we seek to create positive change internally as well, so that our work is powerful, lasting, and lean as possible, enhancing the impact experience of not only the beneficiaries but our generous volunteers as well.

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