Background: I started off with a local studio a while back and it is now in extremely poor shape. It is a public-access station, where everyone is a volunteer, but some of the members involved are real pros. We have a few folks from ABC, a professional audio expert, who has done concerts all over the world and some good videographers.
Dilema: Recently, the volunteers have started to go down and along with that the number and quality of shows. I was on the executive board 2 years ago and that was perhaps the best time of the entire studio. We broadcast over 6 shows and we really had a large number of audience. However, with the lack of volunteers, our President resigned and we have a new board. It's a great board, but we need to drastically increase the volunteership and quality of our shows. What would you do to motivate people? We can't pay volunteers, but we do get around $50,000 each year in funding (out of which, we barely even use $10k)
I'll preface this message by saying that we've just done the same EXACT thing with a very small self-prescribed community access channel this year and this is what we found worked for our endeavors with respect to building our community volunteers and our community viewership. At the same time, I understand that our market is vastly different from any other and we are far less dependent on volunteers than some might be, but we found a path to meet our goals and it might help you too.
First, we realized that the word "community" has heavy implications, but sadly the term was being misunderstood. We began an image campaign that helped create awareness of the problem and reached out with flyers, press releases, imaging events and as much publicity that we could bring to our cause. We designed a nice flyer and distributed it to high schools in our area, a vast and almost completely untapped resource. In less than 30 days we had 15 SOLID volunteers who were interested in learning about video production, master control, marketing, media relations and so on. Our board formulated a way for each of these people to work where they wanted so long as worked a minimum of 4 hours a week. We had the regional universities and community colleges reach out to their student bodies to incite young and free thinkers to get involved with the problem solving of a station like this. In return, each volunteer had a handwritten letter from both our president and the university speaking on the student's behalf that would be a stellar reference letter.
Next, we went into our communities and asked people what they wanted to see on "their TV station". Many said game shows, others said reality TV shows and a few said community interests
Wow, Mike, that was very inspirational, I applaud you, and wish I could be a part of something like that. (Well, be part of it and still make a living) Sounds like you tuend the station into the video equivalent of a vibrant local weekly arts and issues paper. Kudos, you are following the path Murrow would have wanted.
To tell the truth, I had very little to do with the success that the station has seen except to say that I have been there as it all happened. At present, the station is doing very well and since our contract with the city is coming to n end very soon, I am more than likely going to do away with the additional stress of working for no-pay. Foundations laid in stone are always the most stable...but the efforts of the many always make a process more apt to succeed.