We’re doing more through, and for, our community of volunteers

Our aim of advancing physics for all is a big goal that covers lots of different projects. Doing as much as we do wouldn’t be possible without the support of our community of members, many of whom regularly volunteer their time, energy and expertise.

They might assess accreditation applications, sit on branch or group committees, speak at careers events for students, perform fun physics tricks in outreach… the opportunities to get involved are vast.

We wanted to know how well we were doing as an organisation in recognising those that volunteer in this way, so we surveyed our members to find out what they think. Our survey was open for a month and closed last week, and we are pleased to publicly share the full results with you – both good and bad – in the spirit of continuous learning and development.

What did we learn about how and why our members volunteer?

We learned that a lot of members volunteer in more than one role and most (75%) spend fewer than five hours on IOP-related activities each month. They gain lots from this time though, whether it be early-career physicists progressing their careers, or through the simple enjoyment of taking part and of feeling like a part of the physics community. Members mainly hear about volunteering by word of mouth, but advertising our opportunities is something we’re already working on doing better on by combining with the new IOP Events service, so watch this space! Meanwhile you can find out more on our webpages for volunteers.

What could we do better on?

While most members people (more than 90%) were satisfied with the timing, clarity and amount of detail when starting their roles, fewer were satisfied with the training, and suggestions included providing them with welcome packs. When it came to showing our appreciation, again most were happy and stated that nothing additional was necessary but suggestions included social events and increased acknowledgement of their work by sharing with the wider community such as on social media or on this previous blogpost, about Science in the Park.

What happens now?

The results of this survey are going to be shared with the relevant IOP staff so that we can think about how to improve on the things we aren’t doing so well on.

I’d like to end this post on a positive note though, firstly by stating that 85% would recommend volunteering with the IOP but most importantly by thanking everyone who took the survey – and indeed everyone who volunteers to advance physics for all.

  • The full survey results are available as a PDF
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Hannah Renshall

Hannah Renshall

Hannah is the IOP’s regional officer for the north west of England. She joined the IOP as an outreach officer in October 2016 after working as a medical physicist and then in outreach/engagement and employment support for hard-to-reach young people
Hannah Renshall
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