Take a look below at how you can start sprucing up your association’s volunteer program for 2019.
Evaluate new trends
For volunteers in particular, you have to keep ahead of the curb to keep them excited and engaged about donating their time for free. Otherwise, they’ll be onto the next thing before you know it. We recommend that you start by looking up the recent (and popular) social media campaigns / challenges that have gone viral and consider how you can incorporate including your volunteers to create a fun photo opportunity.
You can start researching with Google Trends or by checking out what popular video or photo themes have been going around your personal and professional social media pages. No matter your generational status, everyone loves to participate in a good ole’ fashioned, global phenomenon (i.e. the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or the Harlem Shake).
Provide more professional development
You’ll often find that many of your volunteers originally come to your association as they are eager to trade their time and efforts to learn more about your industry. To build off of that enthusiasm, make sure you highlight the various leadership opportunities that exist within your volunteer program to show the opportunity to develop professionally.
Consider having varying levels of volunteering that range from entry-level to team-lead (just as you would with your staff) to provide your volunteers the chance to self-regulate on projects or committees. Another tactic for fostering professional development could be to establish shadowing opportunities for your volunteers. This would allow them to pair up with willing veteran members to see what their daily industry life looks like. Who doesn’t love to see what happens behind the scenes?
Set clear expectations
How many times have you signed up to volunteer and ended up walking into a mess? If you really want to impress your volunteers, you’ll provide them with concise (yet detailed) information in advance to help your initiative and volunteers be successful.
Try to make sure you include the following information in any of your volunteer requests:
Purpose (Expected results)
Key Responsibilities (Major duties)
Supervision (Manager information)
Length of Appointment
Time Commitment (Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly)
Qualifications (Experience needed)
For many associations, volunteers make the world go ‘round. That said, good volunteers are hard to come by! There isn’t an endless supply of them, and once you have them, they can be hard to keep. Check out our comprehensive guide to volunteer management, The Small-Staff Guide to Volunteer Management, to see how you can foster a healthy volunteer program for 2019.