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What to do when a volunteer says NO, MAYBE or YES

Monday, December 21, 2015 - 5:11pm

It’s that time of year again for many – the time when you have to go out and find volunteers. Here a few tips on responding to the yes, the no, and the maybe ...

The best way to ask: Use the personal ask that focuses on the goal (what will we accomplish) and the who (as in who’s on the team). IEEE makes the point in their Making Contact: One on One suggestion that general calls for volunteers can have a negative impact.

What to do when the answer is no: follow Bob D’Ambrosio’s suggestion in Volunteer Match posting of digging a little deeper into the why to give you valuable feedback and to turn today’s no into tomorrow’s yes.

What to do when the answer is maybe: Love this 2010 commentary on WSJ “The Many Powers of Maybe” because it lays out the dilemma associated with hearing “Maybe.” But it also provides what I’ve found is a solid reply: “Maybe another time would be better for you?” In responding in this way to our member saying maybe, we can learn a lot about what’s behind the maybe and then follow Bob’s advice.

What to do when the answer is yes: Yes, you dance a gig of glee, but follow it quickly with an email or letter confirming what they said yes to, thanking them for committing and sharing any next steps. All this should trigger an engaging volunteer on-boarding process. Check out Wild Apricot’s New Volunteer Checklist, Starting Volunteers Off Right guide or their post with volunteer manager guru Tobi Johnson on “4 Reasons Why You Need a Volunteer Onboarding Process.”

Resolve to create great volunteer experiences in the new year - a sure fire way to get more yesses!

How do you handle a no?

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