It is well known that the GLAM sector is supported, and in many cases entirely run by, teams upon teams of volunteers. In the 2016 MGAWA “Value of Museums” survey, 88 museums reported over 72,000 volunteer hours were contributed that year. That’s a monetary value of approximately $1,801,800, but what does that look like for one individual?
One man’s time.
George Fowler is a member of the Carnamah Historical Society and at the recent Mid West Chapter meeting, he reported that he alone had volunteered over 900 hours for the Society in 2017. That’s just under half the average 9-5 workers annual work hours (Fairwork Australia says that’s 1976 hours, with no leave).
George has kindly given us some insight into the hours he contributes to the Historical Society. He keeps a meticulous diary of his hours and activities which range from cleaning the museum yard, watering plants at the Macpherson Homestead, showing tourists around, researching records for visitors and attending meetings on behalf of the Society.
The chart below illustrates George’s contributions from 18 February 2002 until 28 February 2018.
In total, George has contributed 5732 hours over 16 years! He is just one of 8 members of the Society who also have a Curator.
Record keeping is boring. Why should we do it?
Keeping simple records of volunteer hours, visitor numbers, souvenirs sold, hours open and donations made can help you advocate for your museum. You can demonstrate your situation in clear detail to funders, supporters, visitors and potential volunteers.
If you don’t have enough of something to achieve your goals, you can use the figures to explain why and seek more. If you find you have lots of volunteers and support, you can use that to celebrate and raise awareness of the work you do!
Next week is National Volunteer Week (NVW)! It’s the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. The theme for 2018 is: Give a little. Change a lot. This theme represents the millions of volunteers who make a significant impact in their communities and on society, by giving a little of their time.
If you want some ideas on how to thank your volunteers – check out the Volunteering WA National Volunteer Week website.