- These guidelines outline the conduct and procedures for using the Acquaint platform.
Mission, Vision, and Values of Acquaint
- Mission: Acquaint provides a platform that enables people worldwide to grow and learn through human connections.
- Vision: To bring the people of the world together by inspiring authentic human connection.
- Values: Appreciation, Curiosity, Equality, Respect, Non-judgement
Goals of volunteering
The main goals while volunteering with Acquaint are:
- When connecting with other volunteers, giving them your full and undivided attention
- Try to learn something new from each volunteer with whom you connect by listening and asking questions. By the end of a session, you should be able to describe at least three interesting things you learned about them.
- Try to make a positive impact on someone's day. Leave them feeling better than they did before they talked to you!
- Share something interesting about yourself. The best Acquaint conversations are a give and take where both people learn and share.
Levels of volunteering
Acquaint offers different levels of volunteering depending on each individual's preferences, time commitment, technical ability, and leadership skills. They fall into three categories:
- Conductor Volunteer - Conductors go through Acquaint's mentorship training program, where they learn the technical aspects of our program and critical communication skills like active listening. Conductors must enter at least four hours of availability per week, and Acquaint pairs them for at least one session per week within the time range they enter. Conductors must fill both the "Traveler" and "Guide" roles. (See "Sessions" below for details of the different roles). New volunteers who wish to become Conductors can apply here: https://forms.gle/KNK4eEqyAaQEdyUu8
- Mentorship Volunteer - Once a Conductor Volunteer has accrued enough experience and has demonstrated strong leadership capabilities, Acquaint may invite them to become a Mentor. Mentors train new Conductors and maintain ongoing relationships with their mentees. Strong interpersonal skills are a must-have for Mentors.
Sessions on the platform are the primary way volunteers engage with one another and fulfill the Acquaint mission. They include virtual experiences complete with photos and fun facts that serve as icebreakers for conversation. The purpose of sessions is to connect for positive and authentic conversations with other volunteers. Sessions are typically one-on-one and are pre-scheduled between the two volunteers.
- Roles. Currently, sessions have two roles: "Traveler" and "Guide." The #1 goal for both is to ask questions, share, and learn from one another. However, there are a few slight differences between the two roles:
- Guide Role. Guides are responsible for controlling the virtual content for each session, which involves clicking buttons to switch between different pictures and reading short scripts for each of them. Currently, only Conductor and Mentorship Volunteers fill the Guide role because it requires training.
- Traveler Role. Travelers get to choose which virtual experience they want. While they don't have to worry about the technical controls of guiding the session or reading the scripts, they are equally responsible for the conversation. All levels of volunteers - Basic Volunteers, Conductor Volunteers, and Mentorship Volunteers - are responsible for filling the Traveler role.
- Length. Sessions are typically 20-45 minutes in length. Therefore, volunteers must block out at least 45 minutes for each session.
- Instructions for setup. Step-by-step scheduling and connection instructions are available on acquaint.org. A "Getting Started" tutorial is also available via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsbuAoJnSg0. Conductor Volunteers will be given further instructions once they fill out the application form at the following link: https://forms.gle/KNK4eEqyAaQEdyUu8
- Code of Conduct. To achieve Acquaint's vision, all volunteers must work to maintain a safe space for cultural networking. To achieve this, we have a few fundamental rules and guidelines.
- Appreciation. This is one of Acquaint's core values. We ask that every volunteer take a moment to appreciate their session partner for showing up and teaching them something new. Appreciation looks different for everyone. It may involve thanking them silently or aloud, sharing something new that you learned from them, or expressing how they made a positive difference in your day. Connecting with people, especially new people, takes work. We must appreciate ourselves and others for taking the time to do so!
- No exchange of contact information or PII. Volunteers must not share last names, phone numbers, email addresses, or other contact information for any app or device. Volunteers are encouraged to share which country, state, or city they reside in. However, they must never share their home address.
- Topics of conversation. Avoid subjects that may be flashpoints for anger, defensiveness, or heated debate. Examples include politics, religious dogma, conflicts between specific groups, conspiracies, or other controversial topics. If you encounter someone on the platform who breaks this rule, gently steer the conversation to something less inflammatory (such as the virtual experience).
- Multitasking. Since one of the main goals as a volunteer is to listen and give your session partner your full attention, please do not multitask while connecting on Acquaint. Multitasking may include but is not limited to texting, checking or sending emails, browsing, eating, working, watching videos, running errands, or doing chores.
- Abuse. Acquaint does not tolerate hate, prejudice, harassment, personal attacks, or any other form of abuse on the platform. If you encounter any abuse, end the session and immediately report your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reporting abuse allows Acquaint to remove offenders from our community, thus protecting other volunteers.
- Soliciting. Acquaint strictly prohibits the use of its platform for soliciting of any kind. Solicitation includes but is not limited to lobbying, promoting goods or services, selling goods or services, requesting donations, or promoting religious ideologies.
- Beliefs: Acquaint is an opportunity to share and to learn about new people and cultures. It is not an opportunity to convince others of your beliefs. If someone says something you dislike or disagree with, do not challenge them or try to "convert" them. You can simply listen, ask questions, and learn. However, if you believe that something they said qualifies as abuse, report it to email@example.com.
- Punctuality and reliability. Show up on time for all sessions. Tardiness and no-shows are disrespectful to your session partner, who has reserved time in their day to connect with you. Failure to be reliable and punctual may be penalized according to Acquaint's Cancellation Policy (see below). Volunteers are scored based on how reliably they attend their sessions.
- Confirm. When assigned to a session, volunteers must click "confirm." The confirm button is located in the initial email, as well as on the homepage acquaint.org.
- Check-in. Volunteers must click "Check-in" on the day of their session, no later than 15 minutes before the start time. The option to check in appears in the reminder email sent out 30 minutes before your session. A "Check-in" button also appears on acquaint.org. Checking in lets your session partner and the Acquaint team know that you will be ready to connect for your session. If a volunteer has not checked in 15 minutes before the start of the session, a member of the Acquaint team must scramble to find a replacement volunteer.
- Post message (recommended). The home page includes a field where you can send a nice message to your session partner before the session.
Tardiness, last-minute cancellations, and failure to show up for your sessions may result in the suspension of your account from Acquaint. For every scheduled session, a fellow volunteer reserves that time out of their day. Therefore, we must respect and protect everyone's time to keep our community functioning. More than one no-show within a four-month period may result in suspension. Each of the following mistakes is considered a "no-show."
- Canceling with less than 24 hours' notice
- Showing up more than 10 minutes late
- Failing to show up at all
If you believe your account has been suspended in error or wish to appeal a suspension, please email an explanation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips for not missing your sessions
Volunteers can take several measures to ensure that they do not miss their sessions. Some suggestions are:
- Check your email every day. Acquaint sends an automatic email out to volunteers whenever their sessions are scheduled.
- Make sure Acquaint emails are not going to your spam or promotions folders.
- Check acquaint.org every day. All of your upcoming sessions are listed on the home page.
- Set reminders. Acquaint's emails include an "add to calendar option," which many volunteers find helpful. We also recommend written reminders, phone reminders, or anything that works best for you.
- Test your device before your session to ensure everything is working. Make sure your volume is turned up and that your device is connected to the internet. You can use test.webrtc.org to test your microphone.
- If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to email@example.com.