Retention of volunteers in any context is always a concern. While there are things that we can do, participation really comes down to a matter of internal motivation. When we find something worthwhile, fulfilling -- fun, we will find ways to overcome the obstacles. People try LibriVox for a variety of reasons and leave or stay for a wide variety of reasons. What makes the difference?
It is true, nonetheless, that the removal of obstacles helps a lot. And, encouragement also goes a long way. So, thinking back a couple of years, I try to remember what helped and what hindered.
Someone has mentioned the technical hurdle, and I think that truly is a huge issue. It does take some persistence, but there are so many resources at LibriVox, that this hurdle is more easily dealt with. One of my biggest hurdles was just finding a place to record. I think I finally recorded my first poem out in the car at night. Then I got use of a room at our church.
The other thing that I really didn't understand was editing. I read that poem over and over until I got it perfect, not realizing the power of editing. Then I found out that editing recordings takes longer than the initial reading!
But, I got involved in projects that I truly enjoyed -- some Poe and a play that was dear to my heart. I do think that is key.
Mentoring? Well, yes, absolutely! Funny thing about mentoring -- structuring and formalizing it can kill it. Somehow it needs to be intentional but natural. As has been stated, I do think this is primarily the role of a BC, and mine were so helpful, patient and encouraging! Thank you TriciaG
And there have been so many others along the way, and still are, who keep me going. I've just started BCing a few projects, and I've tried to pick some that I thought would appeal to newcomers, which they have, and I've tried to encourage and help. I think a PL can also be a big part of the mentoring process. I try to give positive feed back and encouragement, and invite them to record some more! I'm always happy when they do. (Of course, the MCs are mentoring me in the BC area! I keep finding new ways to mess up, but they keep me straight.)
Some people will just nibble; some will sit down for a banquet. Some will pop in and pop out, some will join the family. Glad to be welcomed to the table!