When I was a Membership Director, one of the associate members once said to me “I want to contribute. There’s no point in belonging to an Association, unless I’m actively involved”.
They had grasped that being actively involved, making a contribution in some way, was what created value for them. They had something they could use, that they could talk about. They were able to advertise their involvement. And when it came up in conversation, they had a story to attach to ‘what I’m doing there’. And they could share it.
The desire to make something of their involvement helped us both. It made sure we were working for each other. And in doing so, the members and others beyond them benefited.
How can you make this happen?
When you recruit, ask your potential volunteer why they want to be involved. You’ll encourage them to figure it out, hear themselves say it. What they express will then become part of the energy they bring to their role and to their involvement in meetings. They’ll be more engaged. Until then, they might just be warming the seat. And this can make chairing meetings hard work.
If you currently volunteer as a member of your Association, or you’re considering it, take a moment to think about:
What you can bring
What is important about that
What you want to achieve as a result of your giving
Write it down
Make it public
And look for opportunities to share it
If you rely on volunteers, ask them these questions when you recruit. You’ll be doing them and you a big favour. You will create more energised participants, which will make Chairing meetings easier. And your volunteers will get more out of what they put in.
In the spirit of this piece, what do you think? What’s worked for you? What’s missing? Get in touch and let me know.