Volunteer Leader Sessions that Lead to Action

This past year saw a return to in-person volunteer leadership training. This means we’re all back to figuring out how to make those annual chapter leadership workshops, volunteer trainings and sharing sessions impactful.  Let’s do a refresh on these sessions rather than a rinse and repeat from pre-pandemic events. Here are five examples from our work shift from “sage on the stage” to “guide by the side”.

CONNECTIVITY ZONE:  THE PLACE FOR COMMUNITY & CONNECTING The focus of the Connectivity Zone general session is on our participants. Shifting from the typical old-school speaker-centric model, this is a learner-centric model using a modified open space approach to drive tangible outcomes and solutions. It’s networking on steroids! Participants will gather in one of 4 areas to connect with the information, resources, and ideas they need to do their jobs faster, better and easier. Connectivity zones topics could be advocacy, operations/administration, collaborations/partnerships, and member engagement.

POSTER SESSION LIVE! You know the traditional Poster Session … image if those posters could talk. In this session, we tap 5 participants to share a 10-minute story about a successful program/resource/strategy TED-Talk Style.  We can set a theme to tie the talks together or allow free flow.

SOLUTIONS CIRCLE A twist on the round table discussion! This is a collaborative group activity where each person states burning issue or challenge and then in a round robin they get advice and ideas from each of the people at the table. To maximize the sharing, we’ll cover the tables with large sheets of paper and ask participants to share their ideas. The result is a picture gallery of ideas.

BRAIN WALK Brainwalking is a beautiful, efficient creativity technique which “gets the brain on its toes”. Created by Bryan Mattimore, author of Idea Storming, it turns brainstorming into a moving session. Using idea stations (flipcharts or pages on a wall), the group moves from one post to the next where they add, build on and evolve ideas to tough problems.

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE This show-n-tell session features a board meeting done well. Here we stage a mock board meeting that is productive and exciting. Learners are tasked with spotting the difference and then discussing how to embrace those differences. Can easily adapt to different “trouble” or training scenarios.

Any of these strategies can be paired with a knowledge session to provide learners with new content and new ways of thinking about issues they are facing. A spot the difference activity can follow a Motivating & Managing our Volunteer Teams session. Other examples of content sessions:

Creating an Exceptional Member Volunteer Experience Imagine if your chapter was filled with motivated members like this one. It can be if we create an exceptional “member volunteer experience.” In this session, we will explore how to do that as we look at three game-changing trends and strategies to leverage them for success. Explore how to attract new and time-strapped professionals to volunteering and learn four steps to creating an open, welcoming environment that draws new volunteers.

5 Steps for Building Your Volunteer Pool  To have a stronger board, start with a richer, larger talent pool! Let’s explore why and when members volunteer. We’ll talk about the importance of starting with the person, not the position. We’ll cover 5 steps that translate the trends and volunteer data to action.

Decoding Member Engagement  We’ll take a look at how engagement has changed and explore ways to change our approach to engagement. Learn about the engagement continuum and hear three actions you can take today to begin the growing engagement in your chapter.

Creating Rock Star Events  We all have many options for learning and networking so how can your organization cut through the competition and become your member’s choice? By creating events that rock – that offer an experience and learning.  We’ll explore tricks and strategies for transforming your events and adding technology to enhance and extend events.

After the Volunteer Accepts After the “yes, I’ll serve” comes the critical work of creating an engaging culture in your team to turn the yes into action. Hear tips on managing volunteers to assure they are accountable and results-oriented. We’ll also share tips for keeping communication and conversation going between meetings.

Leap into Leadership Congrats you are officially a leader for your volunteer group! Let’s explore what makes a leader successful, leadership styles and, most importantly, how you can succeed in the role and have fun doing it.

Regardless of how you approach your in-person event, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That is, your in-person event should be one part of a 12-month training commitment. Check out Creating Association ROI Through Volunteer Training for a deep dive into crafting an effective strategy.  Find additional resources in our CRP Solution Center. Call Mariner to talk through options!