Nieuwe Herengracht 20, 1018DP Amsterdam / hetvrijwilligersnetwerk.nl

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1 Annual report 2013 Office Nieuwe Herengracht 20, 1018DP Amsterdam / hetvrijwilligersnetwerk.nl Chamber of Commerce

2 Contents Annual report 3 Work Method 4 Lessons Learned 4 Ambition /6

3 Annual report The goal of Stichting Muses: Increasing the impact of volunteers worldwide Our own volunteer experiences abroad made us to realize how preparation to volunteering is essential. Our goal is to support the preparation of volunteers, increasing their impact on their respective project and by doing so contribute to an unforgettable experience for the volunteer which does not end after landing in their home country but finds ways to continue. Our current focus is on providing training and an online community for the thousands of volunteers that yearly go abroad to do their part and building a better understanding of the needs returning volunteers have. On our return training (redesigned in 2013) the volunteer discovers not only what he/she truly contributed to the visited country, but also what it brought in personal development. What personal qualities/challenges have you discovered? Bearing in mind your experiences abroad, which values matter to you now, and which career or study path would be a good fit for you? was a exciting year in which we continued the growth from 2011 & We have: a) Evaluated our services continuously which allowed us to improve the weekly preparation training. This resulted in a very interactive, educational and professional training program which scores on average 4.4 on a 5 scale. b) Doubled the amount of trained before leave volunteers from 250 in 2012 to 500 in 2013 by adding more partners and more actively promote the training through our partners. c) Developed a completely new program for the return training which includes more space to share experiences. We are also adding more focus on stimulating awareness of the volunteers developed qualities abroad, and how this could be of use at home (for choosing better career paths and staying involved with volunteerwork). d) Developed a new online community specifically for volunteers. The current community carries 1000 members and will be changed into a new, easier to use version. The goal of this is to stimulate more interaction between volunteers and projects, but also to increase the transfer of knowledge acquired abroad. e) Worked with 4 major partners (travel agencies) that redirect their volunteers to us for our training. Some of them have or are now in the process of making the training a pre-requisite for doing volunteernetwork. More smaller organizations are now sourcing their volunteer training. f) Moved office to a larger location with a dedicated training room. The office provides a safe place for volunteers to visit, train and work. We have increased the amount of office activities with smaller (monthly JOIN event) and larger events (fundraising, family & friends) to increase the engagement amongst our volunteers and make it easy for local volunteers to meet up with us. g) Tripled the amount of active volunteers working for Stichting Muses from 20 to 60 and created distinct teams to support further growth & development. We currently have 7 teams (Ambassadors, HR- Recruitment, Events, Comms & Service, Training and finally Research). Every team is supported by at least 4 external experts. We also utilize strong ties with different (city) municipalities and the unemployment agency to provide work experience opportunities for (young) unemployed. h) Launched our train-the-trainer (capacity) program. Eight volunteers will be coached to a trainer within a year. They are trained by a team of 4 professional trainers. On Januari 2014 we will add 6 new trainees to our current team. i) Conducted research with University of Tilburg to help us prepare for smarter fundraising: How to Spend Marketing Euros to Leverage Doing Good? - 3/6

4 Work Method Muses actively works together with a growing group of partners, who actively refer their volunteers to us to undergo training (one organization sees our training as mandatory preparation for its volunteers). These partners pay a small fee to us per trained volunteer, which is currently set at 30 euro including lunch & training materials. We basically act as a shared service center for training which provides the best possible training at the lowest possible cost. Lessons Learned Growing teams of volunteers requires great clarity and understanding of intrinsic motivations. We constantly need to test our assumptions and make sure volunteers feel appreciated and safe to perform their activities Volunteers are not aware how important training and preparation are. We need to emphasize and communicate this more to future volunteers though returning volunteers, schools and our partner network. This is also true for the come back training which requires more active promotion (now 12% of the volunteers signs up) Costs are more easily covered if everyone is asked for a small donation (lunch, booklet,...) on the spot. Implementing this and explaining this to our volunteers allows us to run a cost-light organization The program for the training (preparation and return) are good enough. It takes time to develop a good training program and teach trainers how to train in an authentic yet responsible way By increasing our contact rate with partners to bi-weekly we are getting better results (more sign-ups) but also more valuable exchange of ideas and insights (we are now helping partners getting volunteers to present on their volunteer days which in return help us promote the training) We need to emphasize the mission and vision of Muses continuously to our office volunteers to ensure everybody is aligned around our goals and values. This should be an integral part of our recruitment and on-boarding process Muses is more than numbers alone, we need to share experiences and focus on volunteer development (truly understanding their needs) We need to provide a safe and structured work environment where people can work effectively together, this means providing Ambition 2014 Muses team: As we speak 60 volunteers are active within the foundation. It is important for us to keep these volunteers involved, to appreciate them, and to make sure the mutually beneficial bonds endure, to maintain the win-win for all parties involved. The volunteer does his/her part by helping Muses, the reward is developing new competencies while being supported by experts. Team events plays an important role in this, by discovering what events our volunteers need. Team Recruitment will continue to recruit volunteers and experts to fill the ranks. In 2014 we will work actively with our teams to help them develop clarity of purpose and responsibilities. Also we will have a dedicated community/service manager (2nd FTE) to support continued growth. Training: The past year we have proven that we provide the volunteers with a professional program. Stichting Muses gets more and more recognition and positive word of mouth. Our focus for 2014 is on increasing the amount of volunteers trained to well over 700. We feel that there should be more awareness in the Netherlands concerning a proper preparation when volunteers are going to work abroad. Starting February 2014 we will have an extra training location in the city of Tilburg (Netherlands). We will research the possibilities to expand our training program to Belgium in 2014/2015 and start integrating the training more with the online community (elearning, videos,...) Greater Good program: We have started testing the greater good program with an external training agency in We are still working to develop this proposition as part of our overall value proposition for volunteers. Partners: Our partners are essential, since they make first contact with the volunteer and refer them to us. It is also very important that we support our partners well and help them grow. Ambassadors: We want to keep the volunteers that finished their training involved. Herein lies a role for Team Ambassadors when volunteers are travelling, but also for Team Communication to promote - 4/6

5 the return trainings more. If volunteers participate at a return training, they often stay involved and promote working as a volunteer amongst their friends and family. Projects: There are many smaller initiatives in the Netherlands. Groups of individuals who work without a profit motive, often getting by on donations and their own supplies. These groups also could really use well trained volunteers and will be part of our focus in Website: The past year a lot of attention has been given to the lay-out and automating IT processes of our website. We do still need a clear distinction between our main website, and the online community. Online community & measured engagement: So far we have gathered 1000 members on our community. Starting 2014 we will transfer our portal to a new version running on NING 3.0. This will increase usability for our target audience. This overhaul will cause us to establish a faster, more robust connection between the volunteers themselves, and our partners. We will also start development of our measurement/visual management system to track impact of our training and community. Funds acquisition: We have been quite able to run Muses on minimal costs. For 2014 we would however like to increase our individual donors and company sponsorships to grow to sustainable business model which funds future growth and limits dependencies on large donors/funds. We will develop/increase activity to generate additional income through our training programs. We will build a fundraising team which can now leverage the results (over 1000 volunteers trained, active/vibrant community, recommended by independent training authorities) to obtain funds and sponsorships. Stichting Muses Amsterdam, January 31st Amsterdam - 5/6

6 Outside the new office Stichting Muses Muses Impressions Boat trip for our sp onsors Rolegame during the Monthly Jo training in Muses event New programme for the Come Back day Big event for friends and family program Train-the-trainer Recruitment Team - 6/6

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