The Schuylkill River Greenways Association (SRGA) spans 128 miles and 10 counties from Philadelphia to Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania. One of the key features of the region is the Schuylkill River Trail. It’s many sections are  managed by eight different regional organizations that make up the Trail Council.

Because of this, each member had different circumstances and resources when it came to attracting, keeping and satisfying volunteers. SRGA wanted to bring this group together to share information, issues and insights that would improve volunteerism for all member organizations.

The goal was to reveal the reality and perceptions of the volunteer environment in each of the Council areas. SRGA believed that learning what was working for one member would generate ideas for other regions.

Bringing the Council together was also an opportunity for SRGA to compile data on the demographics, motivations and longevity of volunteers and how they are used in different parts of the area.

We began by conducting a communication audit of each member’s volunteer materials. That information was supported by a survey that collected members’ volunteer data. When we came together for a strategy session, each member shared their successes and their challenges. After the session, we developed a report that offered recommendations for how the Council members could work together to improve volunteerism throughout the trail system.

Photo Credit: DGriebeling/Flickr