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Bat Conservation Trust improving volunteer experience and diversity

We worked with the Bat Conservation Trust to review and make recommendations to improve the experience of their bat counting volunteers, including ways to recruit and support a more diverse group.

Online experiencesfor volunteers

Collecting data on bat numbers is critical to inform the conservation efforts of the UK government and the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT). This important work is almost exclusively carried out by a network of dedicated volunteers across the UK.

The Bat Conservation Trust, who recruit and support volunteers with their data collection had noticed a worrying trend - lots of people were signing up to volunteer but many of them were not actually doing the counting and sharing their results. More onion were brought in to identify the barriers to action and identify ways we can increase the number of people taking part and submitting results.

Improved web and email journeys

We started with an audit of the BCT volunteer websites, analysing user flows, blockers and opportunities to simplify user journeys and the page content. Having interviewed key staff members to better understand the project and data needs and spoken to volunteers to identify user needs, we designed new landing page designs and page flows from the point of signup to submitting final data.

To design these pages we started with the users and their needs. Unhelpful and unstructured content was removed from the pages and simple linear paths were created for key audiences, including simple data capture for new audiences so we could steward them through the path from signup to counting bats and sharing data.

As a companion to the web experience, email supporter journeys were designed both to welcome and support new volunteers but also to activate supporters who hadn’t counted bats recently.

In addition to the strategic guidance, more onion provided hands-on support with data management and the creation of action-focused email templates within MailChimp.

Buildinggreater diversity

BCT is very aware of the lack of diversity in the conservation sector at large and is dedicated to making this better, including through reaching beyond their usual network of bat counting volunteers. So they asked more onion for recommendations on how to make this happen.

Partnering with organising and network building expert Natasha Adams, we identified that the biggest gap in diversity was in engaging communities of colour, and with this focus produced a report on the next steps towards broadening out the volunteer base. Through interviews with BCT staff, staff focused on diversity at other conservation organisations, and experts on topics of race and conservation such as Black Lives Matter in the Stix (tackling rural racism), we were able to identify the key barriers to deeper inclusion and recommend first steps towards supporting a broader volunteer base. The report tackles topics such as representation across the staff body and in governance, inequality in access to green space and the importance of anti-racist solidarity.

If you are interested in reading the report you can download a copy here.

If you'd like to learn more or are interested in discussing a project, please feel free to reach out.

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