As part of the connecting and refinement phases I have been given lots of useful feedback from the OpenIDEO community, so firstly i'd like to thank all the commenters and applauders, and especially those who agreed to join my virtual team: Nadine Stares, Oscar Daws, Jacqueline Cisneros, Mukunda Madhava Nath and Reba. With their help and yours I hope we can improve this idea further.
As this idea has grown and taken on feedback i've decided that a separate website might be useful to gather more specific feedback. It can also serve as a place to archive the earlier versions of the project description. So if you'd like to see a bit more of the genesis please visit http://onyourwayhome.wordpress.com and add your feedback.
Please visit http://onyourwayhome.wordpress.com for more information!
‘On Your Way Home’ (OYWH) is a scheme that companies can opt into to promote and manage micro volunteering by the employees in their organisation. The volunteer's time is structured around the working day and is given to local elderly members of the community.
Finding the time to volunteer can be a challenge, and so, OYWH aims to fit the time around an employee's daily routine. Perhaps you have time to spare on your way to work in the morning, or if the evening is better, why not donate some of your time On Your Way Home?
HOW IT WORKS
Once a company has signed up for the scheme they will be supported by facilitators from 'On Your Way Home' who will initially manage the employee's time and gradually train up internal facilitators so that each company can run it's own programme of events.
Volunteers to the scheme are recognised within the company of those most active are celebrated for their work. After each visit and completed programme the volunteer is awarded points, the highest scoring employees are recognised with prizes and praise.
Each company can define it's own programme of event or choose from a generic list as suggested by the OYWH facilitator. Companies are encouraged to choose events that align with their trade and core skills. Technology companies could help local people to improve their IT skills, or a health organisation could demonstrate good hygiene practice.
Each volunteer would commit to a number of visits, suited to the time they can share. The company would then agree to support this commitment perhaps by allowing people to leave 30 minutes early one a week.
Potential beneficiaries in the local community could be reached through existing networks such as Meals On Wheels (in the UK). Ideally applicants would be nominated by a members of a recognised group (such as support services) to reduce the risk of dangerous meetings for both the volunteer or beneficiary.
AN EXAMPLE SCENARIO
Please visit OnYourWayHome.wordpress.com to see how this scheme would work for an employee.
MORE DETAILS ON THE REFINEMENTS TO THE CONCEPT
1. Companies based system
One of the most useful suggestions to come about while refining this project is the idea that this scheme should be run by companies for their employers. The service can be seen as a 'tool kit' for companies to pick up and run internally. This is useful for a few reasons: firstly it means that the company takes on the responsibility for day-to-day administration and running of the scheme. Secondly, attracting companies should help scale as with each new sign up comes a group of employees, this feel better than approaching individuals. Thirdly the companies can tailor the scheme to suit their individual needs and better reflect their local community. Finally, and possibly most importantly, this help in the vetting of volunteers; employees can be held more accountable.
2. Programme of events
Another strong theme that came out in refinement was the need for a programme of suggested activities for volunteers and beneficiaries. This helps set expectations for both groups and can also be a useful step in connecting people with similar interests. The programme could also be designed to help with a progression of activities as over time as we imagine that the 1st and 5th visits (for example) would naturally be quite different. A clear programme is also a great way for people to commit to an amount of time that suits them, without the fear of an open ended or ambiguous 'contract'.
3. Facilitation & Ground Rules
One of the most common concerns about this idea is about supporting the first contact with the beneficiary - the first meeting. One way to make this process easier is to have someone in the role of facilitator/mediator. This person can be something of a community officer, they could accompany the volunteer on the first view visits and help introduce and set out ground rules (more in this below). This role can also help reduce the risk of people being put in compromising - or even dangerous - situations. This role could either be performed by someone from the On Your Way Home organisation, or with suitable training, by a representative from the organisation.
Along with defining characteristics above there are a few additional areas that we'd like to get the community's thoughts on, let us know what you think.
Limited Number of Places
Based on the way The Amazings has limited places for each lesson, we are considering if a scarcity of places could help raise demand. It could also improve the prestige of being involved, a limited number of places might mean that only most engaged members get involved - rather than people being encouraged/forced to join in. A danger here is slower growth and uptake.
More than just old people
Rather than solely targeting the service at older beneficiaries, what if the service was essentially open to anyone who would benefit from extra contact with people. People with disabilities, or even just a soon-to-be mother who'd like help with the shopping. Could the service be more encompassing? The obvious downside here is that some system of awarding merit would be required, and then difficult questions of who is more in need come up.