Monica, The feedback you gave is very helpful but I especially want to address your very last point -- Yes! Marketing sees volunteers as very much part of the team. Thanks for helping them like this. Scott Rains Benetech Fellow, Bookshare Volunteer Department ________________________________________ From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Monica Willyard [rhyami@xxxxxxxxx] Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 2:26 PM To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Volunteers as Recruiters for New Bookshare Members? Hi Scott. Yes, a million times over, it would help to be able to offer someone a free month of Bookshare access. When I talk to people about membership, two stumbling blocks get in our way. I'll explain. First, they get really excited and sign up. However, while they wait for their proof of disability to process, they start worrying about whether they'll be able to learn to use the system, and circumstances crop up that keep them from actually following through and paying for their membership. The waiting period gives them time to talk themselves out of investing in a Bookshare membership. A free month would let them get a taste of reading with Bookshare so that when it's time to pay for membership, they know the value and quality of what they're paying for. They'd still have to wait for proof of disability, but then they'd have a free month to explore, and renewing or buying a membership would seem like a natural progression. The other stumbling block is more subtle, and it has two parts. Bookshare doesn't have a smooth introduction process for new members. Learning how to download, unzip, and read a daisy or Braille book using your own equipment can feel a little daunting at first. Yet new members don't know that there is a thriving community of people who are willing to help them learn to do these things one on one with their specific needs as a guide. I would love to see a checkbox or question on the membership sign-up form asking if they'd like to work with a volunteer mentor during the first couple of weeks of their membership. It could be done over email, Skype, or by phone if both people agree. This could take some pressure off Bookshare support staff, and it would help marketing too. Why? No one is more talkative and eager to spread the word about Bookshare as a new member who has just learned to read his/her first book. If it's easy for them, they'll tell others. They almost can't stop themselves because they're more independent. On the downside, if they had to struggle for hours with no help, they'll talk about that too. I've seen both things happen on mailing lists and Twitter. So if a new member gets timely help and is happy, Bookshare will gain from that exponentially. For now, I do all I can to get around both stumbling blocks by saying things like, "I'll help you learn to use the site." Or "You said you like this author. I just found 10 of her books in the collection. Check out this link." I email my friend every 3 or 4 days during the wait for disability verification with little things I find that I know they'll like. I don't push though. I keep it low key and pay close attention to what kind of help they might need. I'll contact an older woman who is newly blind more often than a teenaged guy who grew up using computers. Ok, I know I've said a lot. I'm just really excited that marketing sees us as part of the team and that we're able to help with helping find new members. (smile) This is a part of volunteering I get jazzed about. -- Monica Willyard Visit my GoodReads book shelf at http://www.goodreads.com/plumlipstick To unsubscribe from this list send a blank Email to bksvol-discuss-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx put the word 'unsubscribe' by itself in the subject line. To get a list of available commands, put the word 'help' by itself in the subject line. To unsubscribe from this list send a blank Email to bksvol-discuss-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx put the word 'unsubscribe' by itself in the subject line. To get a list of available commands, put the word 'help' by itself in the subject line.