Design Engineering
Showcase

The Scouts - Volunteer Experience

Student
Gareth Jones
Course
Design Engineering MEng
Supervisor
Dr Talya Porat
Theme
Breaking Barriers

This project has been completed in conjunction with The Scouts, to improve the volunteer experience, and to build long-term sustainable engagement, by fostering basic psychological needs. The outcome of the design process was to develop an app-based solution tailored for the volunteers of The Scouts. The intervention focuses on providing volunteers with greater autonomy around the joining process, stronger competence and confidence for volunteer learning, and a feeling of relatedness through personalised app-based communication.

Context

The Scouts are an organisation that aims to provide young people with Skills for Life through their fun and adventurous programme. There are over 450,000 young people taking part in Scouts in the UK, and over 50 million members worldwide. In the UK, this organisation is supported by over 150,000 volunteers that deliver, manage and support the programme. Whilst 90% of general UK volunteers are very or fairly satisfied with their volunteering, 23% of 18–34 year olds had an expectation that joining voluntary organisations would be quicker.

Approach

A user-centred research approach was adopted to develop a qualitative understanding of the volunteer experience. The research sought to recognise areas, where interventions would have the most positive impact on volunteers. This approach was complemented by the Self-Determination Theory, ensuring volunteers are provided with the basic psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness and competence; enabling sustainable long-term engagement and motivation to continue volunteering.

 — The Scouts - Volunteer Experience
Capability mapping.

Design and Development

An experience blueprint was formed to map out the complete volunteer experience from the moment an individual joins, to the moment they leave; focussing on user insight and the self-determination theory at each stage. The blueprint was then utilised in the design process to devise a relevant digital solution for The Scouts to help build long-term, sustainable engagement with their volunteers. Here, an iterative approach was adopted, continually consulting volunteers on design decisions at each stage of the development.

 — The Scouts - Volunteer Experience
Screen mapping.

Concept

The outcome is to develop an app-based solution tailored for the volunteers of The Scouts. The intervention focuses on providing volunteers with greater autonomy around the joining process, stronger competence, confidence and feedback for volunteer learning, and a feeling of relatedness through personalised app-based communication. Strong support was given to the learning elements of the intervention with a gamified model, indicating continued engagement. Future studies should be able to confirm the impact of the Self-Determination Theory on volunteers and their continued engagement with The Scouts.

 — The Scouts - Volunteer Experience

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