Graham Ellis sharing years of experience as a thought on each day
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Aim High - having the right number of helpers on the day

This campaign tip (no. 137) was published on Friday, 17th May 2019
On Wednesday, I ran an exhibition / booth - "Community Rail in the City" at Reading Station, manned by volunteers and a couple of professionals who were stepping somewhat out of their normal role / job description to support us. Fantastic time had by all and more importantly day's objectives achieved

Plenty of volunteers at hand - well staffed for setup, during the day, and breakdown. And I didn't even have to push to get volunteers - really grateful to them (and made sure everyone was used, appreciated, thanked).

BUT ... a couple of volunteers who had been assuring me of support for months ahead pulled out close to the event. Not an unusual happening - I'm in touch with folks associated with other booths across the UK that day, and saw a flurry of late calls for people to help.

Now - if you employ someone full time (as I have done at my own business) their primary day to day responsibility is to you and they will - or should be - routinely reliable. We certainly had that at Well House Manor with our wonderful team. But if you imply someone part time, their responsibility to those occasional duties is diluted by other commitments, and if you're working with people who are helping occasionally on a voluntary basis, it's in addition to their normal lives where they have paid commitments and responsibilities, and with their best will in the world things will crop up which take over their promise to help. So actually I see such "promises" as rather firm intentions.

So - aim high. Have a backup of extras and spread the planned load in such a way that it can be unspread when you have a dropout. Rather like archery ... aim high and the curve or the arrow up and down should help you hit the bull.

We had two dropouts on Wednesday. And we hit the bull. I have confirmed to two very apologetic people that we were AOK - missed them but did well, and that I understand (clearly I do to have planned for it!) and look forward to seeing them next time.

And - as a more analytic footnote - as organiser you get to learn about people's lives and that helps in the planning of who's a 99% chance of being there to help as planned, and who comes in at a lower percentage, and how to plan accordingly,

Discussion via Coffee Shop forum

Contact details

These pages are written by Graham Ellis of Melksham, Wiltshire. Overlapping a life in IT and IT training, with running a hotel and campaigning for improved public transport, Graham has never been quiet - though he's starting to wind down gently now. He no longer takes overnight guests and has stepped doen from the "Community Rail Officer" role which he accidentally aquired. So he now has more time to write pages such as these and to travel in the UK. He'll be delighted to speak with your group or take a look through your case or camapaign, but be alerted that his time is not limitless even now, and he still has to keep the wolf from the door.

Postal: 48, Spa Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 7NY
Phonal: 01225 708225
Emailal: graham -at-
Or reach me on the Coffee Shop Forum (User Grahame) facilities

What a difference a campaign makes!

It probably wouldn't have happened without a strong community campaign with which I have been involved. Most days through 2019 I'll be sharing a thought, an idea, a way of working or an experience. Come back here for the links. Discussions via the Coffee Shop Forum - Graham Ellis, 31st December 2018

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