Introducing volunteers into cultural organizations has immense benefit to their growth, which will bring greater visibility, promotion of the venue’s programs/outputs as well as diversity skills into the organizations.
The recent and still ongoing pandemic of COVID -19, has shown that, even more than before, volunteering work is absolute prerequisite for the cultural organization’s growth and functioning. Engaging volunteers in everyday operations/activities of a venue means that it is a noble cost saving action that does good for both sides, which in the case of the pandemics, was a true trait to be taken into account. Being a volunteer, means sharing what you’ve achieved/realized for the work taken, especially into your peer-to-peer communication. This provides a greater visibility to the organization, and not rarely, the most effective one. Especially today, with the sharing content of the younger generations on their social media accounts. Sharing with them, the importance of what cultural actions/venues/ are undertaking to create a better community and increase awareness, can inspire volunteers to turn into promoters of these positive actions. Engaging young people that are inspired or motivated by their sole purpose of just participating, brings diversity into the organization as well. This means that managers can easily access diverse skills, renew their ways of action and doing business, learn something new from the population that the organization is actually trying to address to.
MKC Skopje is a building that was part of a project after the devastating earthquake in 1963, a result of the world’s solidarity. The funding for the building was donated by the government of Russia and Algiers at that time, and build by volunteers/engineers as part of the solidarity project.
Since then, and due to the scope of MKC’s programs, the implementation of our activities rests heavily on volunteering work. This has helped us build a better volunteering infrastructure (better entering conditions, better value for the work perks and good usage of the volunteering skills (interviews of who has know how’s for what before becoming part).
Throughout the years, many of our long-term volunteers have become part of the organizational managerial program team, since they have learned the production business by being active in their helping in implementation processes.
Thanks to the “family” conditions we impose, and valuing their work and efforts, volunteers often become very attached to MKC’s program and activities and become motivated to share their results. This means that we do have a positive trend in sharing our achievements, through the best possible channels: content advocates.
Volunteers in MKC Skopje are engaged on a public call through their channels (social media). But in recent times – only positive word of mouth keeps our volunteering base going. Usually, volunteering coordination is done by the chief program manager in charge, delegating responsibilities. As pointed before, the “elder” volunteers handle newcomers and give them tasks to be done for the purpose of implementing an activity that has also been proven to be even more motivating/close to them.
The target group that benefits the most is the community of MKC. This means that, with volunteering work do have our activities covered that brings success in the organization of our programs. On the other hand, the volunteers are becoming part of the organization with which they feel more attached to, as their own space to actualize their skills and potentials.
The most challenging thing is to keep up with the volunteering base. It is really hard sometimes to find and retain good assistance. They also have limited time: if they study or are committed to other extra curriculum activities – they simply cannot show/do a task which makes it harder for us to rely and change. But the most challenging of all is the coordination task of their schedule, as for the larger events/festival, it is a separate coordination job for someone from our organization. These troubles in handling volunteers are applicable to any organization that relies heavily on volunteering assistance.