Becky Pejinsky interned with UConn Extension programs in Community & Economic Development in Fall 2015. As a result of her work with the Connecticut Trail Census project, she produced this summary webinar of some best practices for working with volunteers, including best practices in recruitment, management, and training. In developing content for the webinar she interviewed four leaders of successful volunteer data collection programs in Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Vermont. Here are some key tips: 1) recruit volunteers locally and use word of mouth 2) make volunteers stand out by using vests or hats 3) utilize a variety of training tools including face to face meetings that allow people to practice skills as well as on demand webinars and videos 4) have training close to the date when you start the program 5) reward volunteers and treat them like family.
As a partnership between the Connecticut Main Street Center, UConn Extension and the University of Wisconsin Extension six communities and several state agencies attended a workshop on December 2, 2016 to learn how to conduct a downtown market analysis. Nationally known downtown expert and Community Business Development Specialist Bill Ryan and UConn Extension Educator Laura Brown co-presented the morning agenda which included an overview of ways to use existing data to better understand downtown trade areas and market potential. John Simone, from the CT Main Street Center led a discussion in the afternoon about what data might be needed to benchmark success and demonstrate how downtowns are changing statewide. Based on an evaluation of the 14 participants many felt the most effective part of the workshop was learning about new online tools like the Downtown Market Analysis Toolbox, Canva & On The Map. If you weren’t there, you can explore the tools presented in the workshop here:
- Dec 2 Downtown Benchmarking Workshop slides (PDF)
- Downtown Market Analysis Toolbox http://fyi.uwex.edu/downtown-market-analysis/
- Innovative Downtown Business Database
- On The Map