By Christian Zamor, DLE mentee and rising sophomore at Everett High School, Everett, MA
With the goal of gaining feedback for continuous improvement, the DLE recently surveyed 26 members who double as volunteers on committees supporting the Breakfast Club, Culture Chat, Programming, Membership and Business Development.
“We wanted to learn how we can improve the quality and outcomes of their experience and how their committee work is contributing to their professional and personal growth,” explained DLE Founder Linda Dulye. “Our volunteers give selflessly to create profound learning and networking experiences for our community. They meet regularly to share ideas, solidify program plans and produce our year-round events. Their commitment is extraordinary.”
Developed by the DLE Advisory Board, the survey was conducted in June and generated an 81% response rate. Results are being reviewed and discussed at the board’s July 28th meeting, when a plan for acting on ideas will be developed.
Key outcomes revealed in the data include:
One DLE volunteer explained, “I have grown my network and feel that I have made great friends by being part of the amazing DLE network.”
Another commended the DLE’s supportive culture. “I know that this [the DLE] is a place where I can connect with people who are supportive and I also allow myself to be more vulnerable than in other groups I have been involved with. It’s important to know that you are not the only one going through the same thoughts about your career.”
Skills development was cited by another respondent. “The DLE has taught me skills to improve my online image (LinkedIn program) and communication skills that helped my interaction with clients.” One volunteer even appreciated how the DLE had helped them excel in their current job: “Planning with a committee ties in well with my current professional role; it has helped me gain organizational and execution skills for events, etc.”
With such a diverse group of volunteers from different backgrounds, volunteers can learn from professionals outside of their career bubble. One member stated, “Since I spend most of my professional time talking to and working with engineers, I believe that it [the DLE] has given me a chance to work with people from different professional backgrounds and career paths than mine.”
Learning from others in different fields is vital because it allows members to gain new perspectives. Another member said, “The DLE helped me grasp the mindset of more experienced people; because of it, my professional development has improved considerably.”
The volunteers offered dozens of recommendations for improving the volunteer experience–with many hoping for a return to in-person programs. They also made suggestions for improving the volunteer onboarding process as well as the collaboration between committee volunteers and the Advisory Board.
“We are deeply appreciative of the pride and steadfast support of our member volunteers,” summed up Linda. “Their feedback enables us to change for the better and reinforce the DLE as a welcoming organization that inspires growth. The DLE has played an instrumental role in the career development of many professionals and will continue to provide this experience to current and future volunteers.”