Make Your Mark campaign: Heritage Volunteering for All
Make Your Mark is a new campaign that aims to increase the number and diversity of heritage volunteers in Scotland. The campaign is supported by a partnership of major stakeholders in Scotland’s heritage and voluntary sectors, and was recently launched on 4th December 2020. To learn more about Make Your Mark, we invited Erin Burke, Make Your Mark Communications Officer, to give us an introduction to the campaign and why inclusive heritage volunteering is important for Scotland’s heritage and communities.
Why join Make Your Mark? The power of Inclusive heritage volunteering
The Make Your Mark campaign aims to make heritage volunteering for all, and is part of Scotland’s national strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
The campaign emerged from the recognition of continued inequities in Scottish heritage - the 2018 Scottish Household survey indicates that heritage organisations have difficulty engaging with marginalised people, and that heritage volunteers are predominantly older and from areas of less deprivation.
With the onset of COVID-19, Make Your Mark’s goals have only become more relevant – not only has the pandemic deepened inequity, but it has also created new challenges for heritage volunteering. According to Historic Environment Scotland’s COVID-19 impact survey, 25% of heritage sector organisations reported a lack of available, and many organisations have concerns about health of aging volunteers and whether they can continue.
Inclusive volunteering, the focus of the Make Your Mark campaign, is a key way for the Scottish heritage sector to both address inequity within the sector and help to build stronger communities:
- Engagement with the historic environment, such as through volunteering, increases empowerment and helps to build a greater sense of place - two key factors in building stronger communities.
- In turn, stronger communities are more likely to feel a sense of belonging that engenders a willingness to volunteer. This benefits the heritage sector in two key ways: more volunteers increases the human resource, tools and assistance available to preserve, restore and animate our heritage; and more diverse volunteers deepen the complexity of the stories and histories we can tell.
How can Make Your Mark support your organisation?
The Make Your Mark campaign will support heritage organisations to design and manage inclusive volunteering programmes by promoting best practice, providing a peer-to-peer volunteer organiser network and coordinating a volunteer recruitment initiative to recover volunteering programmes from the challenges of COVID-19.
The campaign is also building connections with sectors and organisations that already engage with marginalised people, such as regional equality councils, refugee councils and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) advocacy groups. These organisations will help Scottish heritage organisations connect with marginalised people by circulating volunteering opportunities through their networks, and providing input and feedback on the inclusiveness of the campaign and its volunteering opportunities.
In the new year, Make Your Mark will begin advertising campaign sign-ups’ volunteering opportunities and invite people in every part of Scotland to make their own individual and community “mark” in volunteering.
How can your organisation join Make Your Mark?
Any Scottish heritage organisation who works with volunteers or would like to begin working with volunteers can join Make Your Mark, including public, private, charitable and other entities – we welcome:
- Organisations that work with the natural and built environment
- Organisations that preserve and celebrate intangible heritage
- Volunteer-led organisations
- Civic trusts
- Local heritage and history groups
- Museums and galleries
- Historic houses and castles
- Libraries and archives
- Buildings and monuments
- Development trust associations
Joining the Make Your Mark campaign is free – the only requirement is that organisations sign the Make Your Mark Expression of Commitment to signal their dedication to inclusive volunteering.
More information about Make Your Mark can be found at makeyourmark.scot.