Meme Time! How are you going to change the world in 2012?

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Maddie Grant kicked off a Meme, in response to Craig Newmark’s post, asking all association peeps to answer “how are you going to change the world in 2012”.

In 2012, I hope to help associations reinvent the volunteer model. With my intrepid partner, Peter, and a host of very cool peeps (like my fellow ASAE Executive Management Section Council team and good friend Leslie White), my goal is to deconstruct the volunteer model. Then, tapping cool examples from the community-service sector along with innovative ideas coming out of a few associations, we’ll explore lots of options, ideas and possibilities.

We know that volunteers are what make associations unique as organizations and fuel our success. But,  even as we in associations embrace new technologies and – to a more limited degree – new business models, we haven’t addressed the volunteer model. We are still recruiting, developing, managing and rewarding as we did decades ago even though this no longer works. ASAE’s Decision To Volunteer study sent out an alarm in 2008 that we can expect a turnover rate in our most active volunteers of up to 28%.  It’s time to change.

We’ll get some help on this journey through ASAE. A group of us from the EMS Council submitted an idea for a think tank project that I understand has been selected for funding in 2012. Also, two of us from the Council have submitted a very cool session for Annual Meeting on the topic (fingers crossed!). And, we have an informal group of association execs who are exploring, through open conversations, new models and sharing their own association’s journey. (We welcome more to the table for those conversations – just contact me for details.)

Lastly, to help inspire people to volunteer for their association and to shine the light on the great contribution association volunteers make, we launched a Facebook page Association Volunteers! Join us there, like it, add your own comments, and celebrate volunteers you know!

Happy to hear from others … join the meme (hint, hint Leslie White, KiKi L’Italien, Cynthia D’Amour, Frank Fortin,  Kerry Stackpole, Kim Howard).

Mariner Management & Marketing provides association management, volunteer coordinator and leadership development information for associations and non-profit organizations.