Lunchtime Links: Build a Clan Of Loyal Volunteers

How to staff a committee of volunteers while letting them take the lead. Plus: Make sure you’re selling members on your association’s value.

How to staff a committee of volunteers while letting them take the lead. Plus: Make sure you’re selling members on your association’s value.

Sure, take volunteers under your wing—but know where to draw the line between driving the pack and leading from behind. More thoughts in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Let them lead: Supporting and staffing a committee of volunteers can prove both rewarding and challenging. That’s why it’s important to guide the team without taking over the process, according to Jan Masaoka of the nonprofit blog Blue Avocado. Among her suggestions: Get to know group members by following them on Twitter and connecting with them via email; set agendas and locations ahead of time; and make sure the job boundaries are clear. No matter where the boundaries lie, though, it’s important to remain an advocate for your committee and its volunteers in all situations. “The crucial concept to remember is that the goal is not simply to get through the committee’s agenda, but to support the empowerment and development of the committee,” she writes.

On work and play: It’s not work if you’re having fun, the old saying goes. But we all know better: Work is work, and if you’re lucky, you also have fun doing it. With the right culture, fun and happiness come organically to workplaces, and that’s good for business, writes Naomi Simson, founder of the Australian “experience” retailer RedBalloon. According to a Gallup poll she cites, happy workers are 31 percent more productive and up to 10 percent more engaged at work. “If you have a business purpose that everyone believes in and can rally around, your people will not only give you their best, you will also unlock their valuable discretionary effort,” she says. The result? Happier customers—or members—too. (Maybe they’re onto something Down Under: Check out Joe Rominiecki’s recent feature on the “Team Cool” culture at Fitness Australia.)

Sell your value: When budget constraints hit your members, your association might feel the pinch. If that’s the case, Don Carnevale of association management software provider Broadpoint suggests working on your value proposition.Highlight the benefits members receive—and prove how they outweigh renewal costs. “You can’t show your members that your association can provide more value than the annual cost if you don’t have the figures to back you up,” he writes. “Know what you’re worth and be confident that your association provides value.” One method that Carnevale suggests: Compile data into a spreadsheet offering quick access to important info that you can use to sell your organization’s value. “Prepare a report outlining how membership fees or donations are being spent, how many attendees received certifications in your training programs, or how much revenue was generated at a tradeshow,” he writes.

How do you show off your value to members? Tell us in the comments.


Emma Beck

By Emma Beck

Emma Beck is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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