Open evening hosts, build volunteers, participation in general


(Tom Newsom) #16

We have plenty of members who rarely if ever actually attend the space, so it will be hard to know where to draw the line in terms of making sure “everyone” does their bit.

Also, just using myself as a data point, my work/family life means it’s impossible for me to host an open evening for at least the next couple of years. We have to be careful not to exclude anyone.


(Dermot Jones) #17

Yes, but you get immersed in many other ways!


(Tom Newsom) #18

Obviously, but we have to make sure that options are available to all :slight_smile:


(unknowndomain) #19

A lot of the folks like myself that you were saying don’t want to get involved in open evenings get involved in other ways, by the time you hand out hall passes to all the folks who do stuff in other ways we’re back to a very small group of people again.


(JK) #20

So, if it’s a rota, does anyone know where it is? Put me down for next week …


(Tom Newsom) #21

Search “open evening rota” and ye shall find :slight_smile:


(unknowndomain) #22

Open Evening is an event like any other, and over and over it has been clear that members do not want to host it as it is currently structured, and yet a very small minority of the membership wholeheartedly refused to accept this fact and instead keep thrashing this dead horse that is Open Evenings.

From my perspective we are look at this completely wrong, creating rules and trying to enforce volunteering will not work, we have 153 members, less than 1/3 of those are active in the space in any regular way, and a third don’t even have a key fob.

People don’t volunteer because they don’t have time, don’t want to or aren’t using the space, sending out an automatic email with your schedule for them will fail and we’ll watch watch as week after week people fail to turn up, or send emails to the directors cancelling. You can’t treat people like employees and expect them to turn up, they will ignore you, or leave.

Incentives might work, but they need to be a bonus on top of membership, not a stumbling block to full use of the space, you could look at how Building Bloqs uses an internal currency.


(Simon Thompson) #23

As a new member, I’m keen to help out but I think there is a certain amount of knowledge/experience you have to accumalate before you can be of any use. I’m happy to do open evenings (feel like it’s probably one of the few ways I can contribute) but at the moment could probably only answer a quarter of the questions people might have. However, if you want me to come down tonight then let me know.

As for helping out in other ways - I feel like you need to have been down a few times and kind of settled in before you work out how things ‘work’. An agreed time when there will be ‘work parties’ doing set jobs would be good (this might exist in which case point me in its direction).


(Tom Newsom) #24

I agree entirely. If we think that open evening in its current form is worth saving, we can only use the carrot, not the stick.


(Dermot Jones) #25

Open evening is a successful and enjoyable event, at least that’s my experience of it. A time when the curious can drop in and be sure there’s someone on hand to give them a good welcome.


(unknowndomain) #26

Said an extrovert…


(JK) #27

Dermot is the MC! How many was it that signed up after yours last week :smile:


(unknowndomain) #28

On a separate point:

If someone proposed an event like Open Evening today, we would expect those people to put in the work to make it happen, whilst the @roles support it logistically, and if that event is to have longevity we would expect it to keep receiving support from the membership.

This is an event like the rest but the members don’t want to support it in large enough numbers for it to happen as often as the proposers are asking, so therefore we should modify the parameters of the event.

Myself and others have previously suggested that we run the event less often and at different times and in different formats, to improve inclusivity, the answer to this has always been:

  • People will still turn up on Wednesday evenings… They have in the past when it was cancelled.
    Sure they might if you cancel it effective immediately, but after a couple weeks that will change. If we make the point of removing it from the calendar about a month ahead of starting the new schedule, people will learn.
    To be fair people turn up on all days and times of the week to see what we’re about and we try and accommodate them, but that doesn’t mean we cannot ever possibly change the schedule because it was decided 3 years ago.

  • Having two a month on a weekend and week night would be hard to remember
    We have a public calendar and website, and can follow form of the members meeting and social evening by having it on the _n_th week of the month, first Wednesday, and 3rd Saturday?

  • Open Evening is an important way to get new members
    Do we actually need vast numbers of new members? There are so many people after wood work at this point that I doubt even if we removed all the tools you could fit them all in that room, and really we have the money to close the books tomorrow and keep going just fine. I’m not suggesting we do, but experiments that result in us loosing momentum isn’t a big deal?


(Tom Newsom) #29

I’ve always enjoyed hosting open evening. I think it’s great, and is one of the reasons why people say we have a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. But we are struggling to fill the rota, even more so than we used to, and if there’s no solution to that, then the event itself has to change.


(Stefano Romano) #30

No, you misunderstood, I mean that without clear guidelines is easy for people willing to do the work, to get scared of doing it wrong and end up not doing it at all…


(conomara) #31

well, I think the easiest way to get around that is to be cool with people trying and screwing up. Give people freedom to make mistakes. Let someone else step in if I find my “help/advice” is just causing friction…


(Dermot Jones) #32

The master to-do list is a great thing. It isn’t an instruction manual though, and need to have people foremanning or briefing people. I know how to do a fair number of the tasks, but there’s a hell of a lot of detailing that I know people have given thought to, so don’t want to second guess.

Perhaps a named task owner for some of the bigger tasks would give. a good point of contact?


(unknowndomain) #33

I’ve just quickly charted up how many times people volunteered over the last 18 months since we started using Discourse. Obviously not everyone put their name down when they volunteered, I’ve done at least 5 over that period and never put my name down, so this isn’t to be seen as highly accurate…

  1. @sarahbarber = 10
  2. @dermot = 9
  3. @SarahJ = 6
  4. @tobyspark = 5
  5. @peter_hellyer = 5
  6. @AussieFred = 5
  7. @Stuart = 4
  8. @jan_evetts = 4
  9. @JackieO = 3
  10. @Courty = 3
  11. @frasco = 3
  12. @Rory_Yeung = 3
  13. @tomnewsom = 3
  14. @RichM = 3
  15. @laurent_muchacho = 3
  16. @dsikar = 2
  17. @boldaslove = 2
  18. @Glenn = 2
  19. @gordonendersby = 1
  20. @richard_aw = 1
  21. Shakur = 1
  22. @matt = 1
  23. @timahrensbach = 1
  24. @david = 1
  25. @pip = 1
  26. @PMacaulay = 1
  27. @Barnaby_Coote = 1
  28. @cjjharries = 1
  29. @thisislawatts = 1
  30. @jackiekeane = 1
  31. @StudioNelle = 1

(Dermot Jones) #34

One more and I’m joint top of the league table!!!


(conomara) #35

@tomnewsom Regarding drawing lines and asking people to volunteer.
In my experience with this space and other places, asking people does work, I got a few people down the last couple weeks, we had things ready for them to do, and the stuff got done.
Regarding being careful about drawing lines, well, what would adverse consequences of trying the wrong thing look like? in a worst case scenario? People start quitting membership and complain about onerous expectations?
Great, this is easy to measure, we have the great graphs about membership and even projected membership, right.

I think not having very usable space (please dont moderate me) is a far greater danger to paying members then asking people to volunteer… so lets try some concrete things