Our image and how we see ourselves
From the very beginning of our project – in fact even before it officially started – we received a lot of feedback from active volunteers and members of networks such as the Hospitality Club and Couch Surfing, but also from the peace organisation Servas and independent people. And it was a long and hard way to find our identity (in fact it is an ongoing process as it changes with the people involved).
Often the first reaction when hearing about this new project was anxiety. People who found their social network, friends and a more or less reliable infrastructure in HC or CS were (and might still be) afraid of the new, the “revolution”. Fearing that the new project (BeWelcome) might influence or even destroy the status quo of their network.BeWelcome does not want anybody to feel anxious but invites people to get active, to understand the reason for changes and accept it as a necessary step for development and growth. Without change no evolution.
Mainly from very active volunteers of HC anger and fear about BeWelcome as the “new competitor” made it impossible for them to take a step back and critically evaluate the processes they follow.BeWelcome does not see itself as competitor. The history of BeVolunteer explains why the new project started to exist at the beginning and why many volunteers of HC and CS focused their energy on something new. After all, we believe that a project entirely run by volunteers needs an infrastructure which follows the needs of those volunteers. No personal enrichment, no closed leadership circle.
Fantastic project! Let me join!
We had many of those reactions and this is the reason why many volunteers work on BeWelcome. The idea, the work attitude and the infrastructure fit their requirements. And they know that they can really make a change; through feedback, active volunteering or even as elected member of the executive committee of BeVolunteer, the non-profit organisation behind BeWelcome.
Wait and see
Other feedback we receive is the “wait and see” mentality. Members are not sure yet if the project will be a success so they wait a bit and step in when the primary work is done. Nothing wrong with that, but of course things would move faster if they contributed with their time, energy and expertise right away.
We are a very young project and a dynamic one. This means that many things change and evolve, new members and volunteers bring new input and all of us are constantly learning – from mistakes, if necessary. Our volunteers come from entirely diverse backgrounds which is enriching, but can be a danger too. That’s why we discussed and finalized our mission statement, our organisational values and all the other documents you find on the main page. However, the feedback we receive from members, friends and detractors are the most valuable way to understand how others see us and how we can improve ourselves.