I've been organizing SnowCrew for 4 years now and the last 2 from Washington DC. It's one of my favorite things to do but also can be really hard and stressful especially since I do this in my free time and I have a full time job.
This year we have made two awesome advancements and will be introducing phase 1 of SnowCrew.org in a couple of weeks.
What’s new so far this winter:
We've partners with EthoCare.org who matches screened volunteers with elderly neighbors in the western neighborhoods of Boston. When I learn about a elder who needs help, and after we’ve helped them get dug out, I then introduce them to Ethos.
We now how GovDelivery (who I work for) as digital communication management system which I introduced two days ago. The system is super robust and allow us to grow our email list and make it possible for our members choose which topics you want to subscribe too. It also "watches" for new "shovel requests" submitted to SeeClickFix.com and then automatically send email notifications to those who have signed up to help shovel in the neighborhood where they live. This is HUGE advancement for us!
In a couple weeks:
We are going to launch SnowCrew.org which will be available globally (in english). This site will be fully optimized for mobile devices and will make it MUCH easier for volunteers to find out who need help and to say "I'm on it" and then go dig them out.
I i'll be writing a SnowCrew how-to playbook and running an online community to support SnowCrew leaders in other cities and towns who want to bring SnowCrew to their cities and neighborhoods.
With all these new technological advancements, we are in a much better position to help more elders and neighbors with disabilities get dug out after snow storms. Even so, there are other key support activities that I do each time it snows to make this all work.
To make this sustainable and allow us to scale, and not kill me, I need help with:
Outreach. The more web traffic we can drive to NeighgorForNeighbors.org, the more elder and neighbors will submit shovel request and the more volunteers there will be to dig them out. Here are the activities I need you to help with:
Write and publish blog posts on behalf of #SnowCrew to Patch.com, UniversalHub.com, Boston.com, and other local popular blogs, communities, and list serves.
Tweet out and share the shovel requests on facebook
Write and send out the SnowCrew newsletter to keep NeighborsForNeighbors members informed of what’s going on and sho need help in which neighborhoods.
The more people we have blogging and posting the better. Ideally each storm we would have a one awesome blog post per day on each major blog. I think a team of about 10 experienced bloggers and social media gurus would be great. I would provide support to this team, but would need members to have been blogging or writing digital for at least a couple years.
Operations. Each time it snow, I do the following:
Take call from elderly and disable neighbors who are not online and plot there requests
Leave an acknowledgement message and submitted to our SeeClickFix account
Tweet out each case from SeeClickFix
Interact with requestors and volunteers via comments on each case in SeeClickFix
At the end of day, check in to see if requestors still need help
Each day, write and send draft updates for our partners to send to their communities (city councilors, volunteer and service organizations, etc.)
When someone does get dug them out, thank the volunteer, invite the requestor to join our email list and close the case.
To see what the interactions look like on SeeClickFix - see this case from yesterday.
I envision the operations team consisting of about 4 people. 2 per day and two alternates. I would provide substantial training and support this team. Team members would be detail oriented, have customer service or facing experience, and be social, enjoy interacting with strangers and be comfortable online.
If you would like more information or would like to join the SnowCrew Digital Team, leave a comment below. Thanks!
PS> It’s late and I’m exhausted so please pardon my spelling and grammar mistakes. Thanks.