Meet Greenpeace’s new Volunteering Lab team!
The Vol Lab is Greenpeace’s first international team dedicated to supporting and building up our global network of 133 volunteer-coordinators and an estimated 18,000 fabulous volunteers. And when we say ‘build up’, we mean building the community not only in numbers, but also in leadership, relationships, skills and impact!
Due to start in January 2013 and run for two years, the Vol Lab will be the ‘yin’ to the Digital Mobilisation Lab’s ‘yang’ – complementary and interdependent forces which together form a balanced whole.
The Mob Lab (which you are no-doubt familiar with) focuses on testing innovative strategies and new technologies in campaigns, to more fully engage and network the massive online community of millions Greenpeace supporters and donors.
The Vol Lab will focus more narrowly on supporting Greenpeace’s most committed leaders outside of our staff community – our volunteers – and will find ways to connect, up-skill and up-scale our global volunteering and grassroots networks. We will facilitate exchange of best practices for grassroots engagement and local-group organizing, and will help Greenpeace to engage all the ‘potential energy’ that volunteers are willing to give, by channeling it into effective change.
The two ‘sister labs’ – which share common values – will build upon the foundations that the Mob Lab has laid down in 2012. Together, they will continue to strengthen and broaden the Greenpeace mobilisation network, transforming how campaigns are fought and won, and pioneering a powerful new era of people-powered strategies that amplify campaign impact and create positive change.
In Berlin this month for a two-day introductory meeting, the new team got to know each other a little more, made a start on a team calendar of events for 2013, and discussed a few key projects that will find their home in the Lab: the Global GreenWire online platform currently under development (GP staff can see here for more info); how to transition support for youth volunteering from the Youth Support Centre to the Volunteering Lab, and the integration of volunteering teams into global campaign planning.
We also agreed ‘first steps’ to working as a team together in 2013. The Lab will be starting with a survey and listening process of staff and volunteers around the world, to ensure that we get grounded and set off in the right direction for our work. We’ll also be establishing a formal advisory board to ensure that the programme of the Lab remains aligned with the global organisation.
We explored the shared office space in Berlin and the ‘Greenpeace flat’ which will be our home when we are physically together – rather than working from our regions – a few times every year. The flat is a fantastic space, strongly grounded in reality of volunteering – it is right across the hallway from the Greenpeace Berlin volunteer group space. (Thanks for sharing your space with us!!) The flat is home to GP interns, visiting staff and volunteers as needed. The seminar room (complete with handpainted murals of forests and whales!) regularly hosts meetings and presentations for school groups and volunteer action groups.
Who are we?
The Vol Lab team consists of five staff. Araceli Segura, Richard Martin, Anna Keenan and Vanessa van Donselaar are the four International Volunteering Network Developers, and they will be working closely with national Greenpeace volunteer-coordination staff in each of their assigned regions. One global coordinating officer, Nicole Knapp, will drive global projects forward. Dietmar Kress, Director of Actions and Volunteering at Greenpeace Germany who is hosting the Lab, will steer the ship as director of the Vol Lab in its first year.
We officially are ‘open for business’ in January, but in the meantime you can contact any of us individually, or follow us on Twitter @VolunteeringLab
Photo: Yin-Yang Kittehs! Creative Commons Licence: Adrian Nier.