5 Ways Partners Can Get the Most Out of Nature Groupie
You may have noticed that the Nature Groupie website has a new look. We've added new features to help people find and share volunteer experiences. Below you'll find a tip sheet on what’s new and how you can get the most out of the website. We've done extensive user testing, but you may still have questions. If you can't find something (or you want to give us feedback), please email Nature Groupie manager Malin Clyde. We'd like to hear from you!
1. Photos at the Fore
The new site makes a much larger use of images. We've learned that volunteers want to picture what they'll be doing or where they'll be visiting when they consider signing up to volunteer. So, it's important to include engaging, high-quality photos when adding an event ("experience") to the new Nature Groupie website. If you don't have a good one, we'll include a stock black-and-white image that relates to the theme of your event, but remember that good photos will boost sign-ups.
2. New Ways to Filter
To add an event to the Nature Groupie calendar, partners provide basic event information. Now, through Add an Experience, there are additional questions to help categorize your volunteer opportunity, and allow volunteers to filter events to fit their interests. Is your event family-friendly? Is your event indoors, outdoors, or both? Are you looking for volunteers that can handle extreme conditions? If so, you'll categorize your event as "high adventure." We'll also ask you to categorize your event by a new set of topics including: Clean Ups, Invasive Plants, Plantings, Trails, Training, Wildlife, Other Stewardship, and Citizen Science. These details will help volunteers sort, filter, and choose the best volunteer experience for their interests and needs.
3. Social Media Sharing
Social media can help create excitement about volunteer opportunities. The new website gives all listed events ("experiences") a unique URL that is easily recognized by Facebook and Twitter. Once your experience is on the Nature Groupie calendar, anyone excited to share your event (including you) can easily click on the Facebook or Twitter icon next to an event and share it. Easy!
4. What's Near Me?
Thanks to lots of stewardship action organized by our 250+ partners, the number of volunteer experiences posted on our website in recent years has exploded. During some seasons, the list of events is overwhelming. Although we've learned that the most important element of a volunteer event is timing ("am I available on that date?"), location can be important too ("how far away is this event from me?"). Our data show that volunteers will travel considerable distances to volunteer, but sometimes they don't have a lot of time (or may want to volunteer in a new place), so being able to search the calendar by place was a key feature we wanted for the new website. Now, our Explore Experiences page includes a search box to filter all experiences by geography. You can enter a zip code or a place and bingo! The list of experiences (both volunteer events and citizen science) will be filtered to only those within a 50 mile radius.
5. Get Trained
Building stewardship skills is critical to both volunteers and professionals. That's why the new website pulls together all training experiences on the current calendar with resources such as the Stewardship Training Guides into a single page called Get Trained. We'll be better able to promote ways for everyone to gain skills in the world of stewardship and citizen science, fostering more skilled volunteers and professionals alike.
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation provided a generous grant to support technology upgrades for Nature Groupie. A special thanks goes out to staff and volunteers who helped test the new site, especially Myrilla Hartkopf, Alaina Rogers, Emily Lord, Ellen Snyder, Michael Nerrie, and Vidya Balasubramanyam. Website design by Tamarack Media Collaborative.