Lake-side thoughts: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask What Went Wrong

Day 21 … Yesterday ASAE Greater Washington Network held one of its Super Swaps (a great idea for other associations) and among the topics was volunteerism. In fact of the six sessions, 2 focused on volunteerism.  I followed the discussion by Twitter (check out the hash tag #asaegw or for a cool recap Elizabeth Engel’s post). One comment in particular struck me:





I know that it’s important to focus on the positive, but in the long run we will build volunteerism by understanding what didn’t work and fixing it. I have been an active volunteer for ASAE for more than 10 years, with another association for about 5 years, a chamber of commerce for 4 and my church for, well forever. I rarely—wait a minute—never, get asked what went wrong.  If they asked, here are a few I’d share. The sales pitch was way different from the actual job. We did a lot of meeting and little accomplishing. Our team produced, the organization then shelved the product.

All of the situations can be fixed and frankly many are the result of staff just not really knowing. So sure, ask what went well and then what didn’t.