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Growing Your Astronomy Club
Part 3: Cultivating Volunteers

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checkMore Tips to Retain Volunteers

A special note to Outreach Coordinators:

exclamation pointKeep it manageable. Don’t over-commit your club.

Consider how much time your members are willing to spend at extra astronomy events, like school star parties, Scout campouts, or booths at community events. 

Limit the number of events.  If you schedule one or two events every week throughout the year, you’re likely to burn out your volunteers. Before committing, remember this guy’s story:

TonyYou don’t want to exhaust the volunteers. When I first took over as Outreach Coordinator, I’d tell everyone who asked that we’d be happy to hold stargazing events for their group. Between March and June, I committed our club to more then 20 events. I wish someone had really sat me down for 10 minutes.

It’s OK to tell teachers and scout leaders, “We can’t do it then. Let’s plan for another time (or for next year).”  

Limit the number of invited participants. Make sure the organizer at the facility understands that there is a limit to how many people you can accommodate. 

concerned man“The teacher said she had 20 students from her class who were planning to come and some would bring their families. But word got around the school and over 600 kids, teachers, and parents showed up. We only had 3 telescopes. What a crazy night.”

Useful Reference: Volunteer Management Resource Library: http://www.energizeinc.com/art.html

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ASP logoSharing the Universe videos are produced by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) from research conducted by the Institute for Learning Innovation, the ASP, and from astronomy clubs like yours. www.astrosociety.org/SharingTheUniverse


NSF logoThe Sharing the Universe project is funded by the National Science Foundation and is supported by the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) of the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DRL 0638873. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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