How do we as docent/guides respond? Although our entire organizations, from the top down, must be open to bringing in new people with new ideas, both younger and from various cultures, we, as volunteer organizations, also have to recognize we need docent/guides who reflect the cultures that make up our cities. Diversifying our staff and volunteers will assist us in attracting an audience that currently may not see itself reflected in the approaches of the past.
In simple terms, reflect the needs and desires of your audience, including role models, if you want to remain relevant and attract and grow that audience.
At my art gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, our Staff and Volunteer Resources Department, responsible for all recruiting, has contacted other volunteer agencies who have youth volunteers and consulted with them on the best ways of attracting younger volunteers (flexible hours and a fun environment). We have advertised on web sites frequented by youth from universities and colleges, as they are diverse communities and we have made our volunteer application online and accessible to our tech-centered youth. We recognize change does not happen overnight. At the AGO there is a long term commitment to expand diversity amongst all our volunteer/guides.
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