At Impact100, we understand the importance of volunteering more than most organizations, as we rely upon our strong, diverse talent pool to execute every aspect of our mission. We also know that when members volunteer with Impact100, they become more connected and have a more fulfilling experience with our organization.
But unlike our service-oriented counterparts, we do not require any volunteer time from our membership. So, how do we successfully engage our members in meaningful volunteer efforts with Impact100? Here are some best practices:
- Recognize that each member is unique and a “one-size-fits-all” experience isn’t enough. Offer a wide variety of experiences utilizing different skills, time commitments, and locations.
- Include opportunities that are “one–and–done” experiences. Allowing our members to get involved for a single task or one-off project is an effective and low-risk way for our members to get a taste of serving with us.
- Set realistic expectations. Be as clear as you can in describing the work needed and the time commitment. This can be tricky, especially in your early years, but honesty is the only policy here. Be transparent in your communication with a potential volunteer, and then continue the dialogue throughout her volunteer experience.
- Utilize the “Buddy System” when recruiting volunteers. We all feel more comfortable in the presence of our friends. If you’ve recruited one committee member, see if she can encourage a friend or colleague to join her. Having a buddy makes transportation and logistics of the effort easier for both volunteers and can make the experience more fun.
- Make it easy to connect. You cannot communicate your volunteer opportunities enough. Utilize social media with quick video testimonials about opportunities available to serve. Make it easy – and obvious – on your website to join the volunteer team. Mention opportunities in your newsletter often.
- Make it personal. If you know that a member has a skill you need, approach her personally. If she doesn’t have the time or would rather volunteer in another area, make it easy for her to politely decline. If she has the skills, she may be able to suggest someone else for the post. People like to be invited to participate. For some, it feels awkward to raise their hand. Meet them where they are and allow them the chance to shine.