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BSO, Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall Logos
March 13, 2024

2023 Tanglewood Survey Provides Valuable Feedback

By Nancy Finn, Vice Chair, Tanglewood

At the conclusion of the 2023 Tanglewood summer season, the BSAV sent out a survey to every volunteer. The survey's purpose was to gather information to help determine what changes were needed to improve the volunteer experience. This year approximately 50% of volunteers completed the survey.

The first question on the survey was “Did you attend the Welcome Back?” Out of approximately 480 individuals who volunteered last summer, 208 responded to that question. 68% attended the Welcome Back.

The next several survey questions dealt with training, including Zoom and video training. 78% of volunteers attended Zoom training and 47.5% watched the video training modules, with more than 2/3 of the respondents indicating that their training experience was great.” Their comments were also clear about their preference for “in-person training,” enabling more interaction and engagement. The majority of respondents said that the portal clearly states what is needed for volunteers to successfully do their jobs. Other important comments that express volunteers’ opinions include:

  • Volunteers need more details about the Shed, Ozawa Hall area, and the Tanglewood property. One suggestion was that a quick (30 min) tour of the grounds be required of all volunteers.
  • Volunteers suggested that an FAQ that outlines the key requirements for volunteering should be developed, included in all volunteer packets, and posted on the portal.
  • General agreement that the blue shirts identifying volunteers are useful.
  • A sheet outlining what is open and when it is open (e.g., food stalls, gift shop, etc.) should be made available to all volunteers and staff members.
  • There is a need for more food stalls.
  • There should be posted rules whether food is allowed in the concert venues.
  • There is a need for traffic control for patrons entering and leaving the grounds.
  • The parking hosts were very beneficial in helping patrons find their cars after the concerts.
  • It would be helpful to have focus groups evaluating volunteer programs at the end of the season.
  • Volunteers need clarification on when they can and cannot use their badges to gain free admission to various events, including BSO and POPs concerts, Tanglewood Fellow performances, and popular concerts.
  • Several individuals offered advice about keeping all training and programs at the level of education and sophistication of volunteers.
  • Children's programs, crafts, lawn games, etc. are a big hit and should be continued.

Areas for improvement identified by the volunteers for a better volunteer experience include:

  • Better communication regarding assignments and cancellations
  • More parking at Ozawa Hall
  • A Return to the “Walks and Talks” program
  • Food and drink availability
  • Parking and instructions for navigating the grounds
  • Clarification about ticketing
  • Instructive signs with rules regarding food
  • Directions to the gift shops, and restroom locations, particularly at Ozawa Hall

Over 98% of volunteers who responded to the survey indicated that volunteering this summer was a fun and a “good experience.” The majority of volunteers view their assignment as significant to both the patrons and to themselves. They agreed that their volunteering experience this summer reflected the position description they were given and were pleased with the amount of communication they received from their Project Lead or Liaison.

The goals and outcomes learned from the survey reveal that it would be nice to have a larger attendance at Welcome Back than was evidenced by this year’s numbers, and that we need to encourage all volunteers to participate in the annual survey. From an overall perspective, the 2023 volunteer Tanglewood survey revealed many positive areas and some important suggestions that we will be able to execute going into Tanglewood 2024. Additionally, respect and camaraderie among volunteers, staff, grounds crews and patrons is key to making the summer the most positive experience for everyone.