If you're working with alumni or student volunteers, there are some key tasks they can do to keep your Switchboard running smoothly. Responding to posts and posting themselves can be excellent ways to help ensure there is excellent content and a positive tone on your Switchboard.
Even setting a goal for volunteers to check in 5-10min a week to respond to posts, and to post themselves 1x/month, can be all you need.
But if you'd like to further involve your volunteers, or if you have folks who anxious to do MORE, here are some additional thoughts. It's also worth noting that asking THEM to share their ideas get be the best way to go about this. Often users know their community best, and have ideas we haven't thought of.
Signing up new users:
Having a goal of signing up "x" new users (either one time or each month) could be a way to keep people involved, and reach beyond your network. Certainly most of your volunteers probably have friends they could reach out. Or maybe they could even dive onto LinkedIn and do some outreach to folks they could have a connection with. It could be turned into a little team game or friendly competition with some incentives (e.g. the person to sign up the most people gets a hoodie OR if the team collectively gets 100 new sign ups in the next 3 months, everyone gets a $25 gift card).
Holding an in-person event:
For folks who might live near an alumni chapter, student who are on campus, (or even alumni who might be traveling back to campus), planning an executing an in-person networking and Switchboard event might be something to consider. Bringing people together to network, eat, meet, and also to talk about Switchboard could be a great thing for someone with some more time/energy to plan. Additionally, if the event is located nearby one of our team members (or if we can easily travel to you), we'd be happy to come out and share about Switchboard in person!
Gathering success stories:
Even though users get an email prompt to share how things went, they don't always follow back up to create a success story. So, in addition to looking at the success stories on Switchboard, volunteers could search for some additional ones. They could do this by:
- Reading back through the posts and looking for places where it seems like people may have successfully connected
- Using the Member Directory to filter by people who have made an ask/offer in the past year, and then reaching out to those folks
- Using the info under Feedback (Admin dashboard --> Insights --> Content) and reaching out to people who have shared 'positive' check in ratings
Depending on what would be helpful, you could ask those folks to post success stories on Switchboard. But you could also use their stories to create a social media campaign, a story for the alumni newsletter, or any number of other things. A volunteer with a graphic design or communication background could probably do some particularly neat things.
Switchboard Steward for a Month:
The idea here is that sometimes it can be hard to have an ongoing volunteer role. So, if you have 4-6 people, you could have them rotate months where they are 'in charge' of the Switchboard. So, they help to respond to posts, sign up new people, do a couple posts themselves, etc.
Several partners run variations on "war rooms" (feel free to use alternate language, of course). The idea being that everyone who manages a Switchboard puts their heads together for a couple hours a month to respond to posts, create new posts, invite users, etc. It's sort of like a co-working experience, where everyone is dedicating time to Switchboard together. It can be a good way to build community, and also to focus on Switchboard together.