Deciphering the Emerging Volunteer Model

The conversation on volunteerism in association is shifting – in an exciting way. The questions about how to engage non-traditional volunteers and those on how rethink the model from the top down are finally taking center stage. I had an opportunity to keep the conversation going through a webinar with Following the webinar, YM’s Rick Rutherford and I talked more as part of their Ask the Thought Leader series. We used the questions from webinar attendees. Check out the interview here to hear more on questions including these:

Q: Has anyone ever offered a stipend to committee participants?

Hint – yes and you can … but read this post on stipends from Tobi Johnson first  and then if you’re still interested read this post from the NonProfit Risk Organization and this on the affect of stipends on volunteering.

Q: What personnel resources are needed to properly manage a volunteer program like this? Is there a standard ratio of staff to volunteers?

Hint – not really for associations, however based on an ASAE survey, associations have a ratio of approximately 2 staff to 100 volunteers and another 4 or so with some responsibility. Is this enough? Well it’s really less about the ratio and more about the collection of resources and the degree of formality in the volunteer management program.

Q: Volunteering is clearly the gold standard of member engagement. How does simply participating (i.e. attending events, or even reading your weekly blog) rank?

Hint: uh high! Check out Marketing General, Inc.’s membership survey and ASAE’s follow-up to Decision To Join in 10 Lessons for Cultivating Member Commitment

Q: After many years of struggling to find member volunteers, we are now fortunate enough to have more volunteers than available volunteer positions. How do we engage those members who volunteered for a committee, task, etc. but for various reasons were not selected for that committee/task.

Hint: in a word: Open Volunteering. Listen in for more!

Some questions we didn’t get to I’ll blog about over the next couple of weeks, starting with this one:

Q: Please repeat the definition of volunteer…
Giving one’s time and talent to drive the mission. Read more here.