People volunteer for associations to contribute to a cause that directly impacts their community. It is their passion to impact the world in a way that will improve it for themselves and those in their family, community, city, province, or country.
Volunteers are motivated by the personal and professional benefits of their efforts.
Personal Benefits include:
Satisfaction of helping others
Meet new friends who share your passions
Improved connection to your community
Improve your personal environment
Improve your public speaking skills
Sense of purpose
Professional Benefits include:
Connect with new potential clients
Discover business opportunities
Shape your industry
Collaborate to improve public perception
Learn new marketable skills
Gain status in your industry
Connect with potential employers
Free Training sessions
Earn professional education credits
Assembling Your Dream Team
The volunteer base of your association will be a broad range of stakeholders. These people could be business owners, employees, instructors, or consumers in your area of focus. It is important to be inclusive of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, languages, visible minorities, disabilities, religions, ethnicities, and socio-economic statuses when recruiting and appointing members to positions within your governance structure. Diversity in your directors, councillors, committee members, and taskforce appointees will ensure your initiatives serve all association members as well as the public at large. All volunteer members have a stake in the services, products, and experiences provided by your association. Additionally diverse pool of volunteers strengthens the resources and skills your association has at its disposal while pursuing improvement initiatives. It also broadens the range of perspectives that influence decisions that will impact the members of your association.
There’s Always Room for One More
Your volunteers are the crew in your boat that generates the momentum to push your association’s initiatives forward. When everyone is rowing to the same rhythm, the association can then push forward and serve all its members. Nominating members into the right roles can make a big difference in accomplishing your associations vision and mission. Associations often send out open calls to fill roles, but most often recruitment is most successful through personal relationships with other potential volunteers. Delegation of responsibilities can reduce volunteer burnout and engage your membership to feel validated as active contributors to the association. Consider committee options that fit the skills and passions of your volunteers such as:
Policy and Bylaw
Contest and awards
Student and Early Professional
Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion
Complaints and Inquiry
Its crucial to correctly define committees that fit your associations needs and regularly review your volunteer roster. Its important the board of directors maintain a strong dialogue with committees through regularly scheduled reports. Furthermore, this ensures volunteers have the resources required to accomplish their projects.
Time to Spare
When recruiting volunteers, defining time commitments is key. High functioning professionals always come to mind when brainstorming nominations for a role, but they also have busy schedules, and you need volunteers with time to spare. They may have the right skills and the right attitude, but if meetings and event times cannot fit their schedule it will not work. Sometimes the best volunteer is a member who has not yet had the opportunity to contribute. Recruiting new volunteers is a great way to make new connections. It can also help identify members actively looking for a way to maximize their association membership benefits.
Get it Done and Have Fun
Ensure that you select meeting spaces, event spaces, or online platforms that can allow your volunteers to connect in a way that facilitates meaningful discussion, engagement, progression, and fun. Potential locations could include:
A Members business
YouTube live stream
Facebook live stream
Twitch live stream
You Do Not Build Relationships in a Day
Its important to validate volunteers for their efforts. This can be achieved through recognition in many forms. The value of a simple thanks for a job well done goes a long way. Its essential to remember to thank everyone for their contributions no matter how small. This helps create positive experiences for your volunteers. Sending appreciation emails, notes, or letters is also a great way to let your volunteers know you trust them and respect their contributions. Formal public recognitions are also always important. These acknowledgments can be delivered by publicly administering awards, certificates, and plaques, to honour the commitments of your volunteers at live events. This helps confirm them as respected members of their association community.
Find the Passion in Your Role
Working with volunteers can sometimes feel challenging, but by connecting with your volunteer’s passion you can positively impact your associations community. Above all, finding the right people whos passions align with your vision and mission is the key to motivating your volunteer members to succeed in accomplishing their goals.