IDEAS FOR FINDING VOLUNTEERS . . AND GETTING THEM TO WORK!
Most associations have a difficult time finding enough people to work on association committees and projects. Here are a few ideas that have proven successful.
When you need workers, ask for them personally. Few people will volunteer their services. This doesn't mean they don't want to help. People simply like to be asked.
RELY ON FRIENDSHIP:
Have someone they know and trust do the asking. People respond more positively to someone they know. Isn't it harder to say "no" to a friend than a stranger?
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS:
If a person agrees to help, welcome the new volunteer. Establish the feeling of belonging and being needed early. New volunteers lose enthusiasm if they feel neglected or taken for granted.
Make the jobs new volunteers are asked to do as nonthreatening as possible. People don't like to take risks. Prime considerations to make when assigning tasks include:
A. How much time will it take each day or week? How long will the project or committee last? People won't sign up for life--so don't overwhelm them!
B. How "public" will the job be? Personal risk increases with the amount of exposure individuals receive. New volunteers often won't agree to get involved in "public tasks" but will do jobs where they are not visible to the community, administration, or school board.
C. How difficult is the work? New volunteers can often be induced to take on more jobs if they first have a few successes to look back on. Start new volunteers with relatively easy tasks and build on such success. Don't ask the new volunteer to take on difficult or complicated jobs too sooon.
D. Value their input! Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated. All too often, new volunteers offer suggestions that are rejected. When coming up with suggestions or new ideas--give them the ability to follow up on their ideas and suggestions.
Make every volunteer feel important. If members believe you're "just looking for people," they'll feel easily replaced and less responsible for the job.
SET TIME LIMITS:
Make sure each job or committee has a defined beginning and end. Let your members know when they'll be able to get "out from under. . ."
Ask new volunteers to do things they can already do--and which they already like to do. Remember, reducing risk for new volunteers is very important.
RELATE FACE TO FACE:
There is no substitute for "face to face" communication. Do all these things in person; don't rely on fliers, letters, email, phone calls, or texts to do your recruiting job.
Stress the importance of the work. People will respond according to your modd and presentation. Don't apologize for or belittle the work. If it wasn't necessary, you wouldn't ask!
SET HIGH STANDARDS:
The members will take their cue from you. Demand more of yourself and you'll get more out of them!
Allow volunteers to do things their way. Delegate the authority to complete a task in the best way the individual knows. Provide suggestions and directions, but allow the volunteer to try something different--even at the risk of failure--so long as the ultimate goal is in sight.
LEAD WITH ASSERTIVENESS:
Deal quickly and directly with those who don't meet the standards of expectations. Be encouraging and offer help, but be prepared to reassign the person if necessary. If failure is tolerated or ignored, others will follow or drop out with a "what's the use" attitude.
REWARD GOOD WORK:
Recognize and reward good work--publically. Remember all work is good work! What you can do will depend on the individual situation, but remember everyone likes a pat on the back. The members receive little "personal" reward from most jobs, and a simple, "thank you" from the association goes a long way. Find ways to thank and reward those who volunteer.
"The best executive is the one who has the sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with the way they do it." Theodore Roosevelt