Among Mariner's unifying principals is a dedication to volunteering and to volunteers. In fact our basic bsuiness model is designed around the goal of supporting volunteers in their roles as chapter and community leaders. As part of our dedication, we host the Association Volunteers Facebook page and collect the stories of association volunteers in an effort to share their dedication and spread the word
He opened by saying have gratifying the job had been, how much he had learned and grown, and how much pleasure he had gotten from it. He shared one example.
ASAE11 was a great experience on many levels. But it also prompts me to ask a question. My top five reasons for giving ASAE staff, volunteers and attendees an A+:
Day 20 ... Another Wednesday, another sailing race, another time as crew. But it wasn’t “another” sailing experience. Today was very different. The sailing lesson between races is what made this experience very different. In this sailing lesson, rather than focusing on sailing where the wind took me, we simulated a race of sorts. I used the wind to take me where I wanted to go. And that path included around buoys like in the race. For this lesson I was the captain. And what a difference that made in my job as crew. I did better at anticipating turnabouts, understanding the wind and being in the right position as we took the buoy.
Day 12 ... Let’s just say that when I read Carol Kinsey Goman's post Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression on the Forbes blog it struck a chord. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen chapter leaders make all the classic mistakes including #1 in Carol’s list. They start off a meeting with a shrug like the meeting is a burden or a grimacing smile suggesting “let’s get started so we can get it over”. And then the meeting goes downhill.
Day 9 … A colleague asked me for recommendations on questions for a board candidate to determine if they were right for the job. It made me reflect on how so many of us don’t bother with that step at all. We don’t put as much thought and effort into finding the right person for the board as we do in finding the right person for a paid position. Yet in many ways the volunteer leader has more power and often can do more damage (whether through bad actions or inaction).
Day 8 ... No decent phone service, super slow internet, a fridge with an incessant leak and broken shelf, tired appliances, overused, scarred pans, and now no water. Okay I can deal with the first two because they are conditions of being in a mountain area with limited internet and cell service. The others though are unnecessary troubles that are the product of the “fix it when breaks” philosophy vs. the “proactive maintenance & replacement” one.
Day 7 ... I have to run this month in preparation for the triathlon. My son really has to run this month in preparation for high school try-outs. Neither of us love – or really like – to run. My son was sharing that he hated it and just couldn’t do it. He’s gets bored and defaults to walking. My sound advice? Get over it and run. You have to be in charge. You have say “I want to do this” and do it. Sometimes what you’re saying is “I want what this will get me (on the team, to the party, pay raise …).” It’s a means to the ends.
Guess we both have to decide if the goal is worth it and if so, just do it.
There's a lot of talk about leadership succession planning for chapters. It regularly comes up as the top 1 or 2 pain points for chapters. Most associations provide a succession planning guide and tools for chapters. Many offer training at the chapter leadership conferences and webinars. So what's missing here? If we're doing all this talking, why is still the pain point?
Could it be that all this talk is missing the point? That these tools don't get to the point?
Peter and I led an energizing discussion at ASAE's Great Ideas Conference last week and I'm still digesting the good ideas. The session was on embracing the unofficial volunteer leader. Who is this person you say? Well it's the hell-raiser and the quiet saint. It's the person who is doing work for the profession and maybe even the association -- but unofficially. By ignoring these folks, you could miss out on some good work or inadvertently fuel a disruptive force. Here are two examples we talked about where associations embraced the unofficial leader.
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