Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Making the Most of Your Volunteers

A good volunteer program should benefit both your organization and the people offering a helping hand. Here are a few tips for doing just that from our archives.

The strength of an association’s volunteer program can help an organization, but not all volunteering is created equal. For one thing, staff need to consider more than the benefits they reap from a program—volunteering has to be worth the volunteers’ time too.

And not effectively organizing your volunteers’ resources can be a missed opportunity as well.

With that in mind, here is some guidance from the Associations Now and archives to help you optimize your volunteers:

Five Ways to Boost Your Microvolunteering Resources. This 2020 roundup of microvolunteering tactics gives concrete ways to make the most of your resources. For example, microvolunteering might be particularly appealing to members when they’re stuck in limbo—say, while traveling.

Create a More Engaging Volunteer System. This piece offers highlights from the ASAE Research Foundation’s studies on mutually beneficial volunteer strategies, which culminated in the 2017 report ‌Mutually Beneficial Volunteerism: Opportunities for Enhancing Association Volunteer Management Systems.

Use Virtual Volunteers to Grow Organizational Impact. Allison Reznick, PMP, discusses the benefits and challenges of volunteer management in a virtual setting. “Before committee members can participate virtually, the organization needs to take steps to set them up for success,” she writes. “Parameters, culture, and technology all need to be evaluated and in place before an assignment begins.”

Seven Ways to Engage Remote Volunteers. Wesley Carr of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society breaks down tips for attracting volunteers online. One important point he makes is that when analyzing the value of a program, associations must consider what volunteers gain from the experience, not just how the organization benefits: “It’s good for us, but what does that really do for them?”

‌Four Ways to Get Volunteers to Engage Members. This piece highlights the work of Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation, a small-staff association that built volunteer interest with a simple, focused membership committee. “The membership committee helped us provide connections for new members within a month of their join date and contributed to doubling our dues-paying membership in four years,” says Staci GoldbergBelle, the association’s membership and development director.

How to Make the Most of Your Volunteers, No Matter What. Timed to National Volunteer Week earlier this year, this piece from the American Society of Interior Designers’ Jessica Irizarry reminds readers that all volunteers have value, even if some contribute more than others. “Instead of turning a blind eye, let underperformers know their contributions are crucial to the association’s success and ask what support or training they need to better engage,” Irizarry writes.


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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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