When there is a lull in the foot traffic at local festivals, the volunteers and other vendors working the booths talk to each other. This is a great opportunity for networking. As you get to know the other volunteers and the groups they work with, you hear common themes: they need more money and they need more volunteers. When you talk with people in the broader community, you learn that lots of people volunteer or have volunteered over the years. It seems as though volunteers do a lot around here.
Our community has benefited from a robust community of volunteers for generations. Volunteers have and continue to: clean the parks, run the library, care for animals, sell things to support other organizations, promote local business, take care of the elderly, feed the sick and poor, get books and food to kids, etc, etc… What would we do without them?!
So… when we saw the opportunity to apply for a grant from the American Library Association to host a community conversation, this is the topic that came to mind: We need to better understand volunteerism around here and find ways to support the work that volunteers do.