2016: Survey of Volunteer Programs Nationwide

Conducted By

Laura Need

Shelburne Museum

The following is a survey completed in 2016 of 36 institutions across the United States which utilize volunteers. The institutions surveyed are all open to the public and have at their core a mission to educate the public in some fashion.The goal of the survey was to see how other non-profit public institutions recruited, trained and retained volunteers.

Name of Organization: Crystal Bridges

Contact Info: Jennifer Dunham, Volunteer Services Manager

Jennifer.Dunham@crystalbridges.org

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Do you have volunteer docents?

We don’t call them docents here, but we have a variety of Guides who function as docents would (just a different style of tour) for the Galleries, Trails and the architecture

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Word of mouth is BY FAR our best recruiting tool. Our volunteers are very vocal about their experiences at the Museum.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

All volunteers are required to go through a basic orientation. Once they have been through that there are certain volunteer opportunities they can jump right into, and others require varying levels of training. These trainings range from an hour to months, so they drive the decision as to what they want to do and how much time they want to/can spend with us.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No. The only exception to this is our Guides. If they commit to our training program, we require they provide a certain number of tours in a year period, and this is renewed each year.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

I assume you are speaking about tangibles. They always receive a 10% discount on membership, in our Museum Store and in our restaurant, with access to occasional “double discount” days and access to staff sales. We also have an annual appreciation event where they are each given a gift. We hold quarterly “mingles” with light refreshments that provides an opportunity to casually interact with staff and other volunteers (purely social). We also have a volunteer lounge (that doubles as the volunteer services office) open as long as the Museum is open that has coffee and snacks as well as computer access, phone, lockers, a foot massager and access to us.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

I answered a lot of this above, but we also include them in a variety of formats like town hall meetings, focus groups, behind the scenes tours. We often seek their opinion and input and we are always open to concerns that develop. We have a strong leadership team at our Museum that has built volunteerism into our strategic plan and holds us to a pretty high standard of involvement.

Name of Organization: Everson Museum of Art

Contact Info: Qiana Williams

education.everson@gmail.com

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Do you have volunteer docents?

Our Docent organization was established in the late 1800s when George Fisk Comfort founded the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, which eventually became the Everson Museum.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

We currently have 45 active volunteer docents. We are open year round for our visitors. We recruit through word of mouth, our website, and when we are receiving blockbuster exhibitions we put ads in our local papers and on line.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

We train our volunteers 10 months out of the year, 2 Mondays per month and field trips. We also require our candidate docents to attend a 3-day intensive training where we cover the history of the museum, Visual Thinking Strategies, tour program, how to conduct tours and tour methods. We also require our candidates to select a piece from the collection and conduct research and present on the selected artwork. We do not require a length of service. However some of our docents have been with us for more than 30 years.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

We do require that every active docent commit one hour each week to conducting tours.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Our volunteers receive many benefits such as: invitations to exhibitions, opening receptions and lectures, they are given use of our museum library to conduct independent research; they are able to attend lectures and artist talks exclusively for docents, opportunities to develop educational materials, discount in the gift shop and arts-related field trips throughout CNY. In addition, we honor them with an annual luncheon and gift. They also develop many great friendships.

Name of Organization: Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art

Contact Info: Mary Cline, Volunteer Coordinator

MEKLINE@salisbury.edu

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Do you have volunteer docents?

It’s hard to say exactly how many volunteers we have as some only volunteer for one event, the World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition we hold in April… that event had 198 volunteers this year. Our regular docent crew is 6, and others are called for mailings or for events at the museum… ( a pool of about 30)…

We are open year round.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Yes — our docents take a training then shadow other docents. To graduate they have to give a tour for a current docent or for a staff member and get approved.

No commitment length…They get 10% off in the gift store.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

We used to run field trips for them but haven’t for a while. We have a volunteer picnic with a 100 plus hour volunteer recognition at the event and we have a volunteer tea near the holidays (mostly potluck)

One thing — we do have a carving club that the location is sponsored by the Museum and the volunteers/carvers who come do have to be members of the organization. We offer classes occasionally also (wood carving).

Name of Organization: Annapolis Maritime Museum

Contact Info: Donna Adams

volunteercaptain@amaritime.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

200

Are you open year round?

yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

We advertise locally in free publications, use our Facebook page, recruit at events, have a link on our website

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Docents are given extensive training. Please contact Caitlin Swaim, Museum Manager copied above. She has developed a wonderful training program.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No but Docent’s typically make a commitment once they’ve gone through the training, same with our education program volunteers

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

minor benefits…drink or meal tickets if they work an event, holiday party, Volunteer of the Year Program, recognition of volunteers who donate more than 100 hours, not certain if there is a gift shop discount? Caitlin could answer that question and provide more information about the Docent Program

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We don’t have much issue with this. We have a small but great administrative staff and offer a positive, appreciative environment for the volunteers. Our biggest issue is with recruiting Docents as the Museum is open Thursday-Sunday from 11 am-pm…It’s sometimes difficult to fill openings on the weekends.

One thing that we do is have Team Captains for each area of volunteerism. Caitlin Swaim is a staff member, and in addition to her Museum Management duties, she Captains the Docents and Archives crews.The Education Program is captained by another museum staff member.Volunteers are Captains of:

Volunteers

Gardening

Maintenance/Grounds

Activities/Special Events (with staff support)

Name of Organization: State Museum of Pennsylvania

Contact Info: Amy Jukus -ajukus@pa.gov

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How many volunteers do you have?

We have over 50 volunteers that help in different sections of The State Museum.The State Museum is open year round. The State Museum does have volunteers who can be trained as docent to give tours in our exhibits.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Most successful avenue to recruit volunteers is via web.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Museum staff does run training sessions for volunteers who want to become docents in the exhibits. If it’s a public event, and they are volunteering in hospitality or crowd control, they don’t have to go through extensive training.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Length of volunteer service is still in the thought process, we don’t have a set rule as of yet.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

We offer field trips, free admission to The State Museum, recognition parties for our volunteers, behind the scenes tours through our exhibits for them. We try to offer as many volunteer opportunities and different volunteer projects to keep them coming in to help the staff.

Name of Organization: Brandywine

Contact Info: Donna Gormel

Donna@brandywine.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

423

Are you open year round?

yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Word of mouth through the volunteers.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

10 weeks for volunteer docents and ongoing training throughout the year as exhibitions change.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

no

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Comp admission for their guests, discounts to special events and restaurant and museum shop purchases, recognition lunches and holiday party, trips

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Treating them always with respect, have work planned and organized when they come in, thanking them for all of their efforts

Name of Organization: Grounds for Sculpture

Contact Info: Nancy Schomburg

nschomburg@groundsforsculpture.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

At this moment, 142 active volunteers

Are you open year round?

Yes, but like you, I imagine, people see us as a “nice weather venue” so it gets pretty quiet when the forecast is less than lovely.

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers? I really need to do very little active recruitment. This is my second “museum” location and in both, I find I receive ample applications from guests who have visited and fallen in love with us. When I was with a hospice, recruitment was my greatest challenge. Although I enjoyed attending volunteer “fairs” and recruitment events, I did not find they were productive. Again, our best volunteers came from family and friends of former patients….those who already appreciated and loved us.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

New volunteer orientation takes place over two days for a total of about 10 hours of training. Between the two sessions, they have “homework” where they need to visit on their own, learn about the exhibits in at least one of our indoor galleries or learn the grounds (we have 42 acres of gardens and sculpture) so we can finish the second session by checking them out to be Gallery Guides or Park Guides, two of our most needed volunteer positions. We provide a significant amount of ongoing training — at least once a month — by offering local trips, presentations by artists, training's by our Education or Curatorial staffs or simply volunteer gatherings where volunteers share their stories or areas of specific, but relevant knowledge. Often when a museum offered program doesn’t sell out, the staff member in charge will offer free admission for the volunteers. They love that!

New Docent Training is offered once or twice a year and is 30+ hours of in-class training as well as a significant amount of homework. We have found that 10, 3 hours sessions works best because of the quantity of material being presented.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

We require at least 50 hours in a calendar year, prorated if they come on mid-year to 4 hours/month. Our docents are required to offer 20 tours + 10 hours of service in another capacity. I am seriously considering adding an ongoing training requirement in 2017. Although we have great attendance at the training's, it tends to be the same people, which is fine, but it is also the same ones that never attend. We are a growing, changing institution and they have to put energy into staying current!

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Our volunteers are given a “Volunteer/Individual Membership”. This has a bar code and can be deactivated if they become inactive during the year. With this membership, they receive all of the benefits of our “Individual Membership” which includes a discount in the shop, cafe, and free individual admission. We consider the nice array of ongoing training's a benefit, they receive an invitation to our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner which includes a gift, we have an amazing Volunteer Office which includes a Volunteer Library, training space and a place for them to eat lunch or gather to talk. I also make myself available to them 24/… for the most part and try to make sure they all feel appreciated and special…….all the time.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Our ongoing training's do that quite well. Through them, friendships have formed. Some training are more structured, but others involve contests with prizes, coffee and cookies, hands on workshops with artists. The trips are all arranged with carpooling and a lunch stop — both encourage socialization. If I feel someone is having a little trouble “fitting in” I will pair them with a compatible volunteer to help them acclimate. I also opened up an “at large” seat on our Volunteer Program Advisory Group this year, in response to the members starting to act like they were “more special”. This open seat allows any volunteer to attend up to 2 meetings a year. I am hoping that this will also encourage more volunteers to offer to join the group when we are seeking new members.

Here is our Volunteer page on the GFS website: http://www.groundsforsculpture.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer

The green box at the top for “GFS Volunteer Login” takes current volunteers to our on-line scheduling program and resource materials.

Name of Organization: Wheaton Arts

Contact Info: Kristen Qualls

kqualls@wheatonarts.org

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We are similar to you in that we have 55 acres and 18 buildings, although we have a focus on glass, pottery, and the traditional arts brought by immigrants to our state. Thus we have three main programs within Wheaton — the Museum of American Glass, the Wheaton Arts Glass Studio and Pottery, and the Down Jersey Folk life Center. As Director of Exhibitions and Collections, my focus is the Museum and will answer your questions through that lens.

How many volunteers do you have?

The Museum has 3 regular volunteer docents who supplement our staff of 3 paid docents as well as 1 regular design volunteer. Other volunteers work with us on a project by project basis. We also have a committee which includes 6 board members who are technically volunteers as well.

Are you open year round?

No. We are open 10–5, Tues — Sun, April 1-Dec 31.

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

The Museum has found our best volunteers through our networking — glass clubs, retired teachers, friends and associates of staff members.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

At present I am working on revising our docent training program. In the past the training was essentially a college level course in American glass followed by a test. I am looking to provide less a detailed account of the glass timeline and more of a scaffolding in which they can understand and explain our collection and exhibits. I am also adding training on interacting with our diverse public and inquiry based learning. I hope to encourage peer and self-evaluation instead of score that reflects memorization and test taking rather than people skills. For changing exhibits, we offer a curators tour to address the new content.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

We require 4 hours of service per month for volunteer docents.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Volunteers receive free admission, store discounts, and invitations to exclusive events. After completing 100 hours of volunteer time, they receive a free Make Your Own — a hand-on program in which you can make your own glass piece with the help of one of our staff artists.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

The museum docents, in addition to giving the daily highlight tour of the museum, sit the front desk to welcome visitors and answer questions about our exhibits and collections. Many report enjoying the regular interaction with our audience. In addition, we change 6,000 sq ft of exhibit yearly, which gives them something new to learn every season in addition to their continuing research into our permanent collection.

Name of Organization: The Frick Pittsburg

Contact Info: Sarah Hall

shall@TheFrickPittsburgh.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

4

Are you open year round?

Yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

The four volunteers we have are art museum docents who give tours of temporary exhibitions and the permanent collection at the art museum. They were selected from a larger corps of docents who work at another local museum. That museum has the resources to provide comprehensive training in art history, which is harder for us to do. We have a larger number (40+) of docents who give tours of the historic house on our site. These are all paid docents and it is mandatory that they have some sort of education background before they are hired, and we train them extensively on the house, it’s associated collection, and related social history. It’s pretty much a full day of training every Monday for 12 weeks. They are then required to prepare research project and give practice tours before being “cleared” for service. Not everyone makes it through the training and clearing. Although it is very part time work, we have found that it’s best to use paid docents for this because you can maintain the quality of the visitor experience better through actual employees.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

It’s hard — we put out a call for more volunteer docents a few years back and we were going to train them along with our educators, but the response was so light we reverted back to calling our neighboring institution and asking them to recommend some folks who might want to put in some extra volunteer hours. And although the paid positions are very part time and not well-compensated, we get a good response because our historic house has such a strong reputation and many locals have it in the back of their minds that they want to be docents when their life schedule allows.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

See above — docents that we use who are affiliated with our neighboring museum get the equivalent of a semester of art history. We give several hours of training related to each exhibition we have — including providing them with copies of catalogues and readings. They probably get 3–6 hours of in-gallery training for each show.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers? They are allowed admission to all exhibition related programs for free, and receive the same discounts at our shop and café as employees. Additionally, we budget for a nice annual lunch or tea and a pretty splashy holiday gift ($50-$75 per person). It works out to only a few hundred dollars a year for many hours of work.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

See above — the various museum public programs, plus an annual get together which usually includes our director if he can make it.

Name of Organization: Maritime Museum Annapolis

Contact Info: Caitlyn Swaim

museum@amaritime.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

200

Are you open year round?

Yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

We advertise locally in free publications, use our Facebook page, recruit at events, have a link on our website. We also use recruiting sites like Volunteer Match and we partner with local volunteer recruiting organizations/sites like Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center, we use our e-newsletter for recruitment as well.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Docents are given extensive training. Please contact Caitlin Swaim, Museum Manager copied above. She has developed a wonderful training program. Docents are required to attend 8 “in-depth” trainings that cover topics that are discussed in our museum tour. New docents are required to attend the same set of 8 “in-depth” trainings as well as“new docent orientation” training. New docents are also required to shadow a more seasoned docent for 3 sessions before they can lead tours. These trainings have really improved our volunteer retention and engagement. Our archives group has more one-on-one trainings for database use and object handling.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

no but Docent’s typically make a commitment once they’ve gone through the training, same with our education program volunteers I agree with Donna on this, most of our docents make commitments but they are not required to do so.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

minor benefits…drink or meal tickets if they work an event, holiday party, Volunteer of the Year Program, recognition of volunteers who donate more than 100 hours, not certain if there is a gift shop discount? Caitlin could answer that question and provide more information about the Docent Program We offer sails on a Skipjack, field trips to other museums and locations, as well as free apparel and other small gifts.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We don’t have much issue with this. We have a small but great administrative staff and offer a positive, appreciative environment for the volunteers. Our biggest issue is with recruiting Docents as the Museum is open Thursday-Sunday from 11am-3pm…it’s sometimes difficult to fill openings on the weekends. We do offer some volunteer appreciation parties and get-togethers that allow our volunteers to socialize with one-another and with our staff and volunteer captains. They are usually a casual crab feast out on our docks or something similar. We also invite our volunteers who accumulate the most volunteer hours to our member events and programs that we have throughout the year. Otherwise they keep themselves engaged!

Name of Organization: Michner Art Museum

Contact Info: Pam Sergey

Psergey@michenerartmuseum.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

147, max 150

Are you open year round?

yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Word of mouth, enabling interested person to apply through our website.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Michener docents receive extensive training lasting several months. All volunteers receive basic training, additional training is provided by the overseeing staff member as needed

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Free gallery admission, 5% discount in gift shop and cafe, Michener Library privileges, invitation to annual Volunteer Recognition/Award Reception, free admission to Philadelphia area cultural sites during month of April

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Annual Volunteer Recognition/Award Reception, volunteer book discussion group, 1–2 free volunteer exchange tours with nearby cultural institutions per year, annual curator lead tour of museum’s vault, annual docent led gallery tour for new volunteers, Michener Volunteer Voices blog (posting articles pertaining to the permanent collection, current exhibitions, volunteer and staff highlights), birthday cards and personalized notes when applicable (congratulations, get well, sympathy).

Name of Organization: Montshire Museum

Contact Info: Heidi Reynolds

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How many volunteers do you have?

We have about 15–20 active volunteers on a weekly basis as explainers for our exhibits. Our largest fundraiser, the yearly benefit auction, can have as many as 20 volunteers working approximately 8 months, from Sept to May. They meet on a monthly basis, with leadership meeting more often. We have seasonal groups of 10–20 people who help maintain our trails and outdoor spaces. Occasionally we have volunteers in our exhibit department, but that is rare.

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes. We call our docents “explainers”.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

I am new, so as far as I know, our resource for recruiting volunteers is our web site and printed and email newsletters. We do not hold active volunteer recruiting events because the main group of volunteers is explainers and need to be a certain type of person willing to commit to a long-term schedule and training. They self-select, in other words.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Explainers receive several hours of basic instruction and then may ask, as they are ready, to be given training on further material individually. Explainers facilitate activities in our Science Discovery Lab, so they must be comfortable with a few basic activities before they move on to more complex material. Some do only a few experiments. Others know the full repertoire of activities.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Explainers are asked to commit to a weekly shift for at least one semester, preferably an entire school year. Many of our explainers are retirees who are happy to do so. Others are Dartmouth students who can commit to only one semester. Auction volunteers are asked to commit to 8 months of planning and implementing the auction. Time spent by each auction volunteer varies wildly. Those in charge of acquiring auction items and sponsorships can spend several hours a week. Those involved in decor can spend a few hours a month. Those involved with food can spend a several hours a month.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Most of the explainers tell us they receive the most benefit from getting to interact with our visitors. However, we have a yearly volunteer field trip to another science or similar type museum, a yearly volunteer lunch, a yearly volunteer breakfast, send personal thank you letters, acknowledge volunteers in our annual meeting and often highlight volunteers in our printed and email newsletters.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We hold events where volunteers can meet each other and spend time together: a yearly breakfast and lunch and a yearly field trip.

Name of Organization: The Tank Museum

Contact Info: Natassha Gasser

tankmuseum@gamewood.net

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How many volunteers do you have?

- All told about 3 more full time, and maybe another 3–4 that come once or twice a year from out of state

Are you open year round?

- We are open April-December Friday & Saturday and January-March Saturdays only

Do you have volunteer docents?

- No, our tours are self-guided

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

- We have not actively went looking for volunteers

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

- Not sure that we do, but we do teach them how to be safe while here

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

- No, not anymore

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

- They get the perks of hands on with the museum’s artifacts and vehicles

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

- N/A

Name of Organization: Hyde Collection

Contact Info: Jenny Hutchinson

jhutchinson@hydecollection.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

19 volunteer docents

Are you open year round?

yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Word of mouth

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Our docent volunteers have monthly meetings with our Curator and lead Museum Educator

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Docents are asked to provide at least 6–8 hours a month of service

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Docents are required to be members, they receive reciprocal museum benefits, invitations to member only events, and the docents also receive some fee waivers for events the museum may be charging an admission for.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

The docents really enjoy our lectures, luncheons, and a special program called Tour Talk Tea that is a tour of part of the museum with refreshments. Many of our docents ae also part of our Directors Circle events which is a preview reception event for a new special exhibition.

Name of Organization: Olana

Contact Info: Daphne Mayer

dmayer@olana.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

Should be a simple question, right? We have about 20 volunteers who help regularly and about 10 more that help sporadically at events.

Are you open year round?

Yes, but with reduced hours in the winter months

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

We have hosted a few volunteer recruitment events on-site (before my time) but my understanding was that they did not generate much response

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

We have a training day in the spring, and then it depends on the volunteer’s role. Tour guides have an extensive training period of about 40 hours where they shadow other guides and give tours under supervision.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No, but volunteer guides are asked to commit to coming in once a week

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Volunteers receive free admission to other regional museums and sites (through a reciprocal arrangement); I am exploring giving volunteers a free membership once they volunteer for a certain minimum of hours.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We usually arrange a trip for volunteers to another historic site of interest and have a year-end/holiday party for them.

Name of Organization: Bacon’s Castle

Contact Info: Melissa Blank

baconscastle@preservationvirginia.org

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How many volunteers do you have?

Right now we are seeking volunteers, but have about 5 that occasionally help out. These are more family of interpreters and staff members, not formal signed up volunteers.

Are you open year round?

No, we close for 2 months during January and February.

Do you have volunteer docents?

no

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Again, I am trying to rebuild a supply of volunteers. I have gone to local community organizations to try and recruit. We have one local high school student who came on a tour who is now signing up to volunteer.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

The same that we would give to a new interpreter.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

I am not sure at this point.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Again, I am not sure.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Working on that one, lol!

Name of Organization: Boone Hall

Contact Info: Michael Hadden

michaelh@boonehallplantation.com

___________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your email and inquiries. I will answer your questions to the best of my abilities, but as a whole Boone Hall Plantation offers little in regards to volunteering. Below you will find the answers you are seeking based on the order you provided them in. Please let me know if you have any additional needs.

How many volunteers do you have?

0 volunteers

Are you open year round?

Yes, we are open year round

Do you have volunteer docents?

No, we do not have volunteer docents

We do not do much in realm of volunteering. Seeking extra assistance does not have to go further than family and friends.

If we have volunteers, they will be doing important but small tasks. Volunteers may be used to guide guest to seats or take tickets during a special event.

Volunteers are needed in very small increments. No commitment is necessary since they are generally one-time events per year.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Volunteer benefits have quite a wide range. The length of times the individual has volunteered, the responsibility of the service and the length of the serve all play into the decision of the benefits provided.

Currently no programs are in place to keep volunteers engaged.

Name of Organization: Atlanta History Museum

Contact Info: Robert Fink

RFink@atlantahistorycenter.com

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That sounds like exactly what I am doing, since I just moved into this position last year. Also, we are about to launch a new brand/digital image, so our volunteer webpage and collateral (forms, manuals, etc.) are all in flux. Normally I would email you some of our materials, but for now I’ll just do my best to answer your questions below. Best of luck!

How many volunteers do you have?

On Volgistics, it shows 290 volunteers. About 180 are active adults, we have 14 Jr. Interpreters (1st person interpretation at our historic houses), 7 new Youth Ambassadors (like a pre- internship for high schools), we had 15 summer interns (who count as volunteers). And then about 6 general volunteers under 18. (I take them on a case by case basis).

Are you open year round?

We are open year round and closed only on major holidays.

Do you have volunteer docents?

We just started back our docent program. We call them Interpretive guides now to correlated with the terminology used for other similar positions. It’s definitely slow going, as most of the returning docents are older and are used to providing very traditional tours. We want to start utilizing discovery carts as part of the “docent” program.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

I’ve found that good relationships with current volunteers, peers in the community, staff, etc. leads to great word of mouth referrals. I’ve had no luck with online recruiting through volunteer match. Our type of opportunities doesn’t lend themselves to 1x volunteers who have little knowledge of our content and goals.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

We don’t have a structured training program per se. although I’d like to see one soon. We over a general orientation, encourage them to visit and ask questions often to really absorb all the content, general info, and to help discover where they’d be a good match.

This is usually more for those helping with public programs, education, special events…..if it’s a more skilled position, i.e. working in archives, gardens, interpretation, administration, then they have a formal training time period with their immediate supervisor in that department (i.e. not me!)

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Right now we don’t require they commit to any length of service. If it was more human service type of roles, than we would. But it’s REALLY hard to get people to commit. But it’s as if the more freedom I give them, the longer they stay and more active they are.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Right now we offer guest passes after volunteers serve 25 hours, they get 10% discount at the bookstore and our restaurant, and they can usually get the member rate or free admission to our lectures. I don’t spread that around too much, just offer it as a perk to my most dedicated vols.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We are starting to incorporate volunteer socials (4 per year) over the traditional annual appreciation dinner. We are working on meet ups, and I coordinate behind the scenes tours for interested or invested volunteers. I send out birthday cards, and make a point to spend as much time as possible meeting with vols through an open door policy. I send them emails regularly about insider info.

Name of Organization: National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force

Contact Info: Heather Ties

hthies@mightyeighth.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

Approx. 75

Are you open year round?

Yes and 7 days a week. We are only closed 4 days a year.

​Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes. Most of our volunteers are docents

​What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

fellow volunteers recruiting their friends, the American Legions, VFW, neighborhood associations etc.

​What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

There is a manual but a lot of our training in “on the job” and shadowing other volunteers

​Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No. Most only volunteer 8 hours a month. Some do more and some only come in for guided tours

​What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

a museum membership, discounts, luncheons, tie etc.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We have a book club, parties, and luncheon.

Name of Organization: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Contact Info: Mark Osterman

mark.osterman@vizcaya.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

30 active volunteers’ guides and 6 Volunteer Greeter Guides

Are you open year round?

Yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

30 Volunteer Guides

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Word of mouth, the use of the Greeter program (explained below)

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

One day per week for 7 weeks for new guides. 4 continuing education sessions per year required for all guides. 4 informal continuing education session optional offered per year. These programs offer access to staff, collections and archives.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Yes, at least 1 year

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Free admission, priority access to programs and special events, discounts at the shop and café.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Formal and informal continuing education sessions (8 per year). 3 receptions per year that is just for guides. I keep in continuous contact with Guides updating them on projects at the museum that relate to conservation, advancement, collections, curatorial and education.

Vizcaya Volunteer Greeter Guide: Interested and potential Guides are invited by the Learning Division to serve as Greeter Guides. Greeter Guides greet guests to the Main House and Gardens offering overview information concerning the museum and way-finding for visitors. Greeter Guides also conduct regular observations of Main House and Garden Tours to better ascertain if they would like to be trained as Volunteer Guides. Greeter Guides exist in a 3 month probationary period to be evaluated by the Guiding Programs Manager. The Greeter Guide program prepares Greeter Guides to be trained to become Active Vizcaya Volunteer Guides.

· Status and Commitment Requirements

Greeter Guides are required to satisfy Attendance (dictated on letter of commitment), Continuing Education requirements, and pay annual dues to retain Volunteer status and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens privileges.

Vizcaya Volunteer Visitor Greeter: Visitor Greeters greet guests to the Main House and Gardens offering overview information concerning the museum and way-finding for visitors. In addition, Guides who have actively participated in the Vizcaya Volunteer Guides Program for at least one (1) year, are in good standing, and are invited by the Learning Division may serve as Visitor Greeters. They do not conduct tours for any Vizcaya visitors (individuals or groups) unless under special circumstances and approved by Museum staff. Greeters are asked to provide a minimum of two (2) volunteer shifts of three (3) hours each month, or a total of 24 shifts per cycle.

Name of Organization: The Charleston Museum

Contact Info: Stephanie Thomas

sthomas@charlestonmuseum.org

___________________________________________________________________

We currently have about 30 volunteers. Each department had 3 to 4 volunteers. Previously each department (Archives, History, Archaeology, Administration, Historic Houses, Education, Textile, Natural History) has recruited and managed their own volunteers for the duties specific to their department. By next Fall I am to redesign our volunteer program to create more of a unified volunteer program and being using volunteers specifically as docents in galleries.

As far as benefits all volunteers receive discounts on event registration and gift shop purchases. Since Charleston contains some many historic sites and attractions that rely on each other and volunteer work the sites have reciprocity pass. All staff and volunteers receive the pass and it gets the staff/volunteer and 1 guest in free to almost all sites in the areas (about 42 places).

Over the next few months I will be doing similar research to begin working on creating a true volunteer program for our site. So good luck with your project and pass along any useful information.

Name of Organization: The Dali Museum

Contact Info: Bryanna

scheduling@thedali.org

___________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your inquiry! I appreciate you looking to The Dali as a source for learning and inspiration. The Shelburne looks like a unique and exciting campus with lots of opportunities for volunteers to get involved. I hope my answers below are helpful to building your volunteer corps.

How many volunteers do you have?

In our volunteer database management system Volgistics, we have 400 volunteers. However, we have a little over 100 who are strictly docents and the other, roughly, 300 are a mixture of active and inactive, seasonal, student and year round, and some who are only participating on volunteer councils. All in all about 150 volunteers are here regularly. I am currently trying to build our volunteer base because we always have a need.

Are you open year round?

Yes, we are only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes our docents are a part of our larger volunteer corps; however, many do not sign up to volunteer for other positions outside of their docent time.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

My position has newly been made full-time, and I just started 3 months ago, so I am in the process of starting a volunteer campaign. We currently are creating collateral materials and I will be visiting local colleges to try and gain more student presence. We also use volunteer match and have information on our website about our volunteer program. Our current volunteers are also wonderful at spreading the word in our community.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

We have a mandatory volunteer orientation that I lead about 4 times a month. I use that as an opportunity to show volunteers the facility, go over our process and procedures, sign supplemental paperwork, and show them how to sign up in volgistics. I also use that as a time to show them our culture; it really gets them excited to see what we do and how they can be a part of it. During the orientation I also share opportunities for travel that our volunteers put together, and show them the positions we have available.

A colleague and I are currently in the process of creating a new presentation on training for one of our positions called “Audio Guide Host.” We also have a brief presentation that we provide for other positions as well. We really want our volunteers to feel supported and knowledgeable and I really feel it is my responsibility to provide them with as much information as they would like in a manner that is most accessible for them.

We offer them opportunities to be a part of education training's, which could be curator led talks about an exhibition, and we also try to be preemptive in training when our processes change. We do not script and of our volunteers; we really trust them to discern how they provide information to our guests (we do provide talking point guidelines).

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No we don’t. Although, I do try and screen applications to figure out a person’s commitment level. We really don’t want to turn people away if they have a genuine interest in our organization, but maybe they have a limited seasonal schedule. We pride ourselves on being flexible and we find our volunteers value that. I have had issues with student volunteers who only want to complete school credit then never come back, but that is really a case by case basis.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

While we don’t have a length of service requirement, our benefits are tiered by their time commitment. At 10 hours they receive a personalized name badge and a complimentary individual membership. This is not to “pay” them for their time, but to reassure them that we want there to be no barriers between the museum and the time that they can spend here. They no longer have to worry about parking, certain event pricing, and always have an invitation to special events.

We also have an appreciation dinner we hold in November each year. It is a coveted event here and our volunteers have loved it! On this night staff act as volunteers and the volunteers are our special guests. It is a great big party and really our way of saying thank you. We give certificates of appreciation and theme it as well.

One of the biggest benefits is our culture in general. We offer a unique volunteer experience as far as our flexibility, but all the culture of friendship we have here. We do like to personally get to know our volunteers and make them feel like they are coming to visit friends, as well as help guests to experience Salvador Dali’s life and art. We have received feedback from them that this is something our volunteers value.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Aside from the education opportunities that they can be a part of, we also have many traveling opportunities. We have a volunteer travel committee that is in charge of scheduling 4 travel options a year. These can accommodate 30 people and vary in location and place (we are doing a local mural tour, they have also traveled to Lakeland and Tampa, we are going to The Ringling in November). These are great ways to keep the volunteers engaged. Since they are members there are always other events for them to participate in as well, and many of them do. We have found that many of them are also friends with one another and they will come in to see each other. We have a very active mature adult aged 50+ group and who really love to participate in these events. Also, most of them are avid Dali fans and love to share what they know with our visitors. The environment here can feel pretty magical and I think that lends to a lot of why volunteers keep coming back as well.

Name of Organization: Alexandria Museum of Art

Contact Info: Stephen Farnsly

steve@themuseum.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

23 throughout the year; about 50 more for our major annual fundraising event. Total = 73

Are you open year round?

Yes, closed on holidays and closed for about 1 ½ weeks at winter holidays.

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes, a few.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Our web site (www.themuseum.org); affiliated local university.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Annual orientation for volunteers, especially new volunteers

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Free admission to exhibitions, events, fundraisers they work

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We have an annual volunteers appreciation lunch in which humorous awards are given. When a volunteer completes 100 hours, they get an individual name tag with their name on it.

Name of Organization: Highland, Home of President James Monroe

Contact Info: Nancy Stetz

education@highland.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

23

Are you open year round?

yes, but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years

Do you have volunteer docents?

no — I feel strongly that delivering content should be a paid position

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Contacting acquaintances in your social network, reaching out to donors, reaching out to groups with community service requirements or similar interests

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

on site

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

An annual volunteer appreciation night

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

At this point nothing additional

Name of Organization: The Historic New Orleans Collection

Contact Info: Molly St.Paul

DocVol@hnoc.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

I am happy to give you information which I hope will be helpful. I started our volunteer program 11 years ago and we now have 76 volunteers and still growing.

Are you open year round?

The Collection is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday year round. Volunteers can choose to be docents for our Residence, Architecture and Counting House tours but it is not mandatory. We also have a gallery of changing exhibits where volunteers greet visitors and share information about each exhibit. Our Louisiana history galleries are comprised of 13 rooms with original maps, documents, paintings and artifact covering 300 years of La. History.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Volunteers are trained by our volunteer and staff docent trainer. Volunteers follow the same format with all of the same information and training that paid staff docents have.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Volunteers typically commit to a 4 hour shift one day a week but some stay all day and others come more than one day. When I started this program I began by staffing a volunteer sign up desk at one of our symposiums assuming that if they were interested in what we offer they may want to give some time as a volunteer.

We have a quarterly publication and I added information about volunteering as well as adding a place to check interest in volunteering on our membership form. I asked people who volunteer in other capacities in the French Quarter if they might add a day with THNOC since their interest is in history.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Other than that a good way of adding volunteers is through current volunteers who are having fun and enjoying being here. Talking it up everywhere I go brings results as well. We are very good to those kind enough to give us their time.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

The staffs always stop to say hello which makes volunteers feel appreciated and we have a yearly volunteer awards luncheon along with a yearly day trip to a place related to what we do here. Most of the original group is still with us ten years later. As we grow in the next 2 years more volunteers will be added.

Name of Organization: Orlando Science Center

Contact Info: Zach Lynn

ZLynn@osc.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

Volunteer numbers fluctuate throughout the year, with school-year having lower attendance than summer.

School year average:

Adult Volunteers- 30 volunteers per week

Youth Volunteers- 20 volunteers per week

Interns- 5 interns per week

Summer average:

Adult Volunteers- 20 volunteers per week

Youth Volunteers- 300 volunteers per week

Interns- 5 inters per week

Are you open year round?

Yes, open year round. During summer, every day of the week. During school year, closed on Wednesdays.

Do you have volunteer docents?

Our volunteers are considered “Visitor Experience” volunteers. They are responsible for engaging guests, assisting with science demonstrations, and helping them utilize our exhibits. We do not necessarily consider them docents because traditionally that’s a little less hands-on, whereas we are a very hands-on facility.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Word of mouth is our top recruiting strategy. This year we’ll be looking at other avenues as our numbers have been a bit smaller.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Adult Volunteers receive a 3 hour orientation and then individual training in the exhibits halls of their choice.

Youth Volunteers receive 8 hours of training and a 1 hour parent meeting.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Adult Volunteers commit to 8 hours minimum per month for a minimum of 6 months.

Youth Volunteer hour requirements vary per program — generally netting 50–100 hours per program.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

We have a number of benefits for our volunteers, including board game nights, sneak-previews of exhibits (when possible), and earning free memberships to the Science Center. I still think we have a lot to learn in this aspect, though.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We’ve found the best way to keep our volunteers engaged on a daily basis is a morning meeting for our Youth Volunteers and “3 Points of Contact” for Adult Volunteers, where we see and talk with them when they first arrive, while they are doing their service, and when they leave. We’ve had trouble getting the majority of our volunteers to special engagements, parties, dinners, etc.

Name of Organization: Newport Art Museum

Contact Info: Cristen Searles

csearles@newportartmuseum.org

___________________________________________________________________

Do you have volunteer docents?

YES, 6.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Word of mouth with current volunteers, listings in local newspapers, mention in weekly email blasts.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

I try to meet with volunteers prior to assigning them tasks to see what their strengths are. Then the training tends to be day of for the particular task. I would like to formalize the program a bit more and am currently working on a Volunteer Guide.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No. Their hours are usually project related rather than regular weekly hours. We do encourage them to be members, though not all of them are.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

After 60 hours of volunteer work they earn free tuition (up to $150) at the Coleman Center for Creative Studies, the Newport Art Museum school.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

A Volunteer Appreciation Tea in the spring, and a lot of warm praise and gratitude throughout the year via monthly Volunteer email blasts with personal notes etc. There are a lot of places they could volunteer in Newport. Their experience at the Museum is primarily about being part of the Museum community.

Name of Organization: ECHO

Contact Info: Amanda Van Vranken

avanvranken@echovermont.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

We work in semesters since we work with so many college students. Each semester we have about 150 volunteers, interns, and teens from 14–87 year of age involved in our education, animal care, resource room/library who work directly with guests to share our mission and support staff and the programs we run daily/seasonally. In addition we have interns 1–3 interns in the following departments: customer service/events, development/community outreach, marketing/social media, IT, education and up to 10 or more interns getting academic credit in our animal care department. Our education department has our most long term volunteers or “docents” but we don’t use that term. We use “new volunteer”(1st three months) “interpreter” (3+monts) and “Demonstrator” (over a year)

Are you open year round?

Yes (closed only three days a year)

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Recruiting list serves, direct recruiting through advisers and professors, recruiting events at colleges, word of mouth.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Mandatory orientation (2 hrs. ) and department training which is ongoing for the first three months with certain assessments throughout.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Yes- (3 months and 1 4hr. shift a week)

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Uniform at the start- after certain amount of time- gifts such as clothing, mugs, day passes, water bottles, annual memberships. We also do 2 recognition events a year. One in the summer and one in the winter.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

They are invited to any of our public offerings, internal trainings; appreciate events bi-annually and day passes to bring friends and family to ECHO.

Name of Organization: Augusta Museum of Art

Contact Info: Nancy Glaser

amh@augustamuseum.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

19 regulars and 21 Board members​

Are you open year round?

Yes​

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes​

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

word of mouth; web site; public programs​

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

all volunteers receive unique training for the area they are interested in — collections (processing/cataloging and is closely supervised by registrar), education (docents and programs) -managed by head of education, administration (records management), exhibits (assists only in construction)

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No — most give two to 6 months (mostly students/interns) and some who have been with the Museum for decades​

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

We have a special recognition day with refreshments and hand out appreciation certificate​s

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?​

each area is unique — docents meet monthly to discuss schedules and issues of concern; collection volunteers often are doing it for college credit or museum experience​

Name of Organization: The Tuscaloosa Museum of Art
 Contact Info: William Hawkins
 WHAWKINS@westervelt.com

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

We have 15 active docents

Are you open year round?

yes, Monday-Saturday 10–6 and Sunday 1–6

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

My docents recruiting other docents

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

To docent you must complete a 1 semester course that meets once a week

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

No, they are volunteers and the life blood of the museum, I thank them profusely for their time

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Special Education segments just for them and a party once or twice a year with wine (always wine)

Name of organization: Huntsville Museum of Art

Contact Info: Laura E. Smith

lsmith@hsvmuseum.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

Over 200 (includes Docents, Guild, Committees, Youth (age 14 or older), and Museum Store Volunteers.

Are you open year round?

Yes, closed on Mondays and major holidays. Staff is working on Mondays.

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes, we have about 20 and a new class of about 5 each year.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Usually docents know of people in the community that would be prospective docents. We also have presented at Newcomers Club and other group meetings in the community to gain interest in one volunteering at our Museum. I have also provided information to area colleges and universities. During the summer, we have a very active youth volunteer program. I send out details about the program to middle and high school principals and art teachers in the area school systems.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

We require all volunteers to complete an application and at least two personal/professional references. Visit our website at http://hsvmuseum.org/museumacademy/volunteer/ to see examples. We have a Docent Handbook as well as general volunteer guidelines for adults and youth.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

We do not indicate a certain general volunteer commitment. With the Docent Program, we do ask that they commit for at least one year and available for up to four to six hours a month for tours.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Our Executive Director is hosting a Docent Appreciation Dinner Party soon to recognize the hard work of the docents. Other groups like the Guild and Committees organize their own events during the year. Staff are apart of the event to recognize their efforts as well.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

The docents have a holiday party and end of the year luncheon. We also include in the training sessions artist demonstrations, field trips to area artist studios as well as other nearby art museums and galleries. I do schedule guest speakers for some the docent meetings related to the exhibition topics — art professors, etc.

Organizations Name: Antique Powerland Museum Association

Contact Info: Pamela A. Vorachek, Executive Director

pam.vorachek@antiquepowerland.com

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

We have a core group of a couple of dozen that show up most Wednesdays during nice weather. For our signature event , the Great Oregon Steam-Up, 800 volunteers are involved. People volunteer at other times in other capacities. The board is comprised of an additional 11 members who volunteer.
Are you open year round?

No- weekends in March and October and Wed- Sun, April- September
 Do you have volunteer docents?

one
 What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

This organization has not really tried to recruit volunteers but personal asks work best.
 What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

on the job training

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

no

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

camaraderie, lunch is provided on Wednesdays May- August or so
 Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

none

Organization Name: The Filed Museum, Chicago

Contact Info: Megan Bradley

mbradley@fieldmuseum.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

642 active volunteers

Are you open year round?

Yes, we only close on Christmas Day

Do you have volunteer docents?

Yes

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Volunteermatch.com, and posting fliers with local universities and attending their service learning fairs. Also just word of mouth from other volunteers/staff seems to help bring in new volunteers.

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Each division has a training program. Our docents and learning center volunteers usually will have a one day group trainings at different points of the year. Our behind the scenes volunteers in our collections and research centers work one on one for training with their staff supervisors. And then I try and provide enrichment opportunities throughout the year for all volunteers.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Yes, we ask for a six month commitment. Week day volunteers are asked to come in for a minimum of a half day (3.5 hours) once a week. Weekend volunteers are required to come for two half days a month.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

After three months of volunteering they become members of the Museum. They can get tickets for their immediate family to any areas of the Museum and receive the member magazine. We also provide free parking to those who need it. And then just like staff they get 25% off at our two cafes and Museum stores.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

We offer enrichment sessions for docents to come and learn about our new exhibits. We also do an annual meeting in the summer where they can come and have a Q&A with the Museum’s president. We have a nice recognition event every April for National Volunteer Month and volunteers are invited to our staff summer/holiday party. We try and make sure our volunteers are weaved in to the culture of the museum. One thing I started this last year was providing “Behind the Scenes” tours of our different collection spaces for volunteers. It is once a quarter and they have to sign up. They have become pretty popular and are led by a collection staff member or curator.

Name of Organization: The Baltimore Museum of Art

Contact Info: Rachel Sanchez

RSanchez@artbma.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

We utilize special event/one day volunteers as well as long term volunteers so our numbers can fluctuate. We have about or a little over 100 volunteers at any given time. Our Program is still very new. We only restructured and revamped it 3 years ago (starting with just a couple of volunteers) so we are growing!

Are you open year round?

Yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

We do but the way we are structured is Volunteer & Internship Programs are under me in the HR Department and the Education Department manages the Docent Program (they have not recruited in 4 or 5 years, I believe so it’s not an actively growing Program).

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

We are REALLY fortunate to be on the edge of Johns Hopkins University (undergraduate campus) and a quick walk to MICA which is one of the top art schools in the country. We utilize students pretty heavily as well as do more targeted campus recruitment (such as Museum Clubs and Greek Life). Baltimore City is very community oriented so going out and about and talking with members of the community is always effective. I attend about a dozen or so college fairs and speaking engagements in the area throughout the year to recruit volunteers and interns. Idealist is also a great start when you’re trying to grow your base or just need a large group of volunteers! We also partner with local organizations that work with high schoolers and adults with developmental disabilities. These partnerships have been a great way to connect with our community and has brought more volunteers into the Museum. For special events, we also recruit Corporate Volunteers through our various connections (T. Rowe Price, Booz Allen Hamilton, etc.) — if you have sponsors, they would be a great group to tap into!

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Our Volunteers and Interns are trained for their specific job. We utilize them in every capacity of the Museum from Curatorial to Landscape so we offer all of the necessary training whether it’s a database they will be using or information they will be sharing with visitors. They all receive the same Orientation to go over our volunteer program guidelines, Museum policies, etc.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

Some volunteer positions require a commitment. For example, our Exhibition Ambassadors are required for the length of the particular special Exhibition (3 months, 8 hours per month). Other positions are more seasonal (landscape). Most of our positions are for as long as the volunteer can commit to or until their project is completed so it varies drastically from department to department. Our Interns typically commit to a semester or summer-long internship unless they will be handling art, in which case they are required to commit to 6 months. Our Internship lengths can also vary if there is a stipend attached that has specific parameters.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Our volunteers receive a discount to both our Gift Shop and our onsite restaurant (Gertrude’s). They also receive unlimited access to our ticketed exhibitions as well as 2 comp tickets. We reach out into the community (local galleries, theatres, etc) for discounted or free tickets to their events. We also host a Volunteer Appreciation that happens in early Spring. There is also a local deli that offers BMA Colleagues a small discount. Some events have small incentives like specially made items for a particular exhibition given out to volunteers who serve at the event.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Our benefits like access to parties, events, exhibitions, etc. really help keep volunteers interested in what’s going on here while also having the opportunity to socialize. We also hold Quarterly Volunteer Meetings to update everyone on Museum happenings but it also serves as a fun social event for volunteers in different departments to mingle together. We put together a “Summer Colleague Talk” series for our Summer Interns to offer them more insight into specific departments and projects happening around the Museum — it’s a great way for them to mingle since there is typically just one intern per department! We are definitely working on this portion of our Program though…I would love to have the budget to host more volunteer targeted events!

Organization Name: Portland Children’s Museum

Contact Info: Whitney

volunteer@portlandcm.org

___________________________________________________________________

How many volunteers do you have?

Active recurring volunteers about 80. Special events /one-timers about 350.

Are you open year round?

Yes

Do you have volunteer docents?

No, because we’re a children’s museum so we have volunteer play guides (similar to our floor staff facilitators) that support play experiences our exhibits.

What avenues have you found most successful for recruiting volunteers?

Partnering with schools and universities, posting on local/national volunteer websites such as VolunteerMatch and HandsOn Portland

What type of training do you offer your volunteers?

Group orientation. How to speak with children. How to support children with disabilities/from different backgrounds. Safety training in an emergency.

Do you require your volunteers to commit to any length of service?

We ask for 6 months.

What benefits do you offer your volunteers?

Museum swag (lanyard, mug, t-shirt) and 2 person membership depending on the number of hours they serve.

Given that volunteering is as much a social outlet as it is altruistic for volunteers, what programs do you offer to keep your volunteers engaged?

Celebrating their hours commitments, volunteer parties for Volunteer Appreciation day/week, further training, pathway to become hired as a staff member