5 Truths to Leverage to Build Volunteerism

A common theme I hear from chapters across associations is no one wants to volunteer. The counter to this statement is the 58% of the non-volunteering members in an ASAE Foundation study said they were interested in being more engaged. Given the context of the question which was on volunteering and accepting the premise that engagement indeed encompasses volunteering.

The Regulatory Affairs Profession Society’s experience is in line with the research finding. Once they embraced a new volunteer outreach model, they grew volunteering from 6% to 23.5%. Check out their story.

The disconnect for some many associations is two-fold: not connecting with motivations and preferences. Research conducted by ASAE and the Millennial Impact Report among others help us reconnect to a few facts.

Truth 1: Today’s volunteer connects with causes not organizations. Yet we lead with the organization rather than the project, the why. It’s up to us to inspire others to see the cause.

Truth 2: Today’s volunteer many times are looking to connect expertise and skills with a cause or project. This skill-based volunteering means we need to think in terms of matching volunteer skills with volunteer opportunities rather than filling seats.

Truth 3: Today’s volunteers are more than ever wired to be lifelong learners and pragmatic. These volunteers are looking to “do good” in ways that also helps them improve skills or gain skills or perspective. Fuse skill-building. Think resume-building.

Truth 4: Today’s volunteers – particularly true for the digital generations – are social! Driven to be sharers and contribute so we are called meet them where they are.

Truth 5: Today’s digital generation volunteers are moving fast! They are used to high speed interest and connecting where ever they are. For us, these means a) Make it easy to connect, easy to find, easy to see on a smart phone, and b) Streamline – make the meetings, the training, the orientations easy and efficient.

What truths about volunteering would you add?