By Penny Williams, Communications Volunteer
A successful visit starts before the visitor enters the Garden. It starts with the welcome, the information, and the enthusiasm that equips the visitor to stride through that door and have a wonderful experience.
This is the work of our Visitor Services and Member Services volunteers. They are two distinct groups that, together, provide seamless service at the Visitor Centre Information/Membership Desk.
VanDusen Botanical Garden has more than 60 Visitor Service Volunteers, ensuring a presence at the desk in morning and afternoon shifts, seven days a week. They are our front-line ambassadors, the people who answer all those questions, by telephone and in person. Questions can include garden activities, hours of operation, what’s in bloom, directions, lost and found and membership…You get the idea! These volunteers also explain our Garden tours, provide a pre-booking service for the tours, and keep a watchful eye on things in general.
In concert with the Visitor Services Volunteers, 15 energetic and committed Member Services Volunteers sell and renew memberships and gift certificates, along with answering general queries from members and visitors. Many of these volunteers are long term and all are dedicated to their role.
Their visible week-day presence is supported by an additional 4 Member Services Office Volunteers, located in the Membership Office, who also sell and renew memberships over the phone as well as preparing renewal notices for mailing and other administration tasks.
All these volunteers may not be directly connecting people with plants, but they are the ones who connect people with our two institutions — and that is the vital first step to a deep, enduring relationship.