It is important to listen to the many individuals and organizations that play a part in the future of the Georgia MGEV Program. Throughout the listening process, we were exploring four program pillars, including:
- Promotion - How we tell the public about the program and its accomplishments, how we brand the program within UGA Extension
- Training - How individuals are prepared to be a Georgia MGEV, including the basic training (42 hours), continuing education (6 hours annually), and Advanced Training (optional, UGA-approved, 6-hour increments)
- Programming - How MGEVs transfer the research-based information from UGA and other universities to the public, what MGEVs do to educate the public about plants and gardening
- Accountability - How we ensure that we are successful at our educational mission and are good stewards of our program resources (including funds raised in the name of the program)
Our strategic planning process included three stages of listening to hear from our various stakeholders:
In late summer/fall 2020, online surveys were used to gather large amounts of information from many different audiences. Qualtrics surveys asked similar questions tailored to the respective recipient group, including volunteers, agents and program assistants, state-level specialists and administration, and the general public.
In fall 2020, we invited stakeholders to participate in facilitated discussions via Zoom. A SWOT analysis was conducted in each session, assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for each of the four program pillars.
In late fall 2020, we continue to refine and clarify the results of our listening process through phone calls and interviews. We are compiling and analyzing our data from the surveys and discussion sessions. Writing of the strategic plan will begin in early 2021.
Stakeholder input is valuable to the Strategic Planning Team and the planning process. Our ultimate goal is create a plan to improve the quality and effectiveness of the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program, ensuring a stellar volunteer program for tomorrow. We have had excellent participation in the listening sessions and we are confident that we have been thorough in the process. Thank you for participating!
The listening and exploring stage wrapped up right on schedule at the end of 2020. Read this blog post for a summary of the project's progress.