March 28, 2015 1 Comment
To take the pulse of what LGBT RPCV followers think about our mostly virtual organization, a survey was announced through our listserv as well as via Facebook and Twitter. Seventy-seven (77) people responded to the short survey (12% of our listserv membership).
Of the 77 respondents, just over 80% are returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs), with about 13% being current volunteers.
The feature of our organization most appreciated is the listserv (62.5%) followed by Facebook (51.4%) and our webpage (37.5%).
For the listserv, the top 2 postings appreciated are Learning about Peace Corps-related news and events (73.5%) and LGBT world news (67.7%). Also appreciated were learning about job postings (38.2%) and countries of assignment (30.9%). 65.7% of respondents judged that the number of listserv postings is about right, with 22.4% saying there are too many posts and 11.9% too few. When asked how we can improve the listserv, the top suggestion was to consolidate the postings into either a daily or weekly summary to cut down on the frequency of posts, and possibly including questions for discussion about the posted issues. Many suggested adding more stories of LGBT PCVs and RPCVs and to include links to all that is posted, although a current PCV asked for the opposite: to post full articles since Internet service is weak and opening links can be a challenge. A few comments commended what we are now doing.
On the mentoring program, 58.2% of respondents didn’t know such a program existed, but would be interested in participating. Very few had participated in the program either as a mentor or mentee. The few notable comments were that people had tried to participate but were never contacted and that it may be worth considering having current volunteers mentor one another. It was also suggested that RPCVs who had served in specific countries could be made available to share their experiences with those who may be going to those countries.
Key suggestions to improve the Facebook group, Twitter posts and our webpage were to close the Facebook page because having it open to the public may compromise current volunteers where host country nationals can see that they are members and to increase the number of job posts.
Other things that followers would like to see LGBT RPCV doing that would be useful:
- Enable more connections among RPCVs such as organizing more local and regional events of interest to LGBT RPCVs, including social events and job fairs and pride events.
- Make links to more external groups that share similar interests to ours, including working with US-based LGBT organizations to support projects.
- Make more efforts to reach potential PCVs.
- Explore having RPCVs visit current LGBT PCVs.
When asked about interest in becoming more involved in LGBT RPCV in leading our community, 9 people stepped forward with their contact information. No one had a specific idea about what they wanted to volunteer to do, but one respondent who has already been very active noted that he has taken part in LGBT RPCV events such as Pride celebrations and Peace Corps anniversary occasions. He said that he is “proud of our organization and its ongoing supportive involvement in Peace Corps. I consider my own service as a pivotal point in my own life that keeps me closely connected… Surely PC’s own evolving comfort and active support of LGBT volunteers has much in our organization’s existence and work…”