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Maximizing Your Budget with Volunteers

Many small staff associations have big ideas but aren’t always able to execute due to a lack of resources, staff, time – or all of the above. Now is the time to learn how to do more with less by really engaging your volunteers.

Volunteers can function almost as a second staff if done correctly. According to research done by Points of Light, for every dollar a non-profit association spends toward volunteer engagement, they can expect a $6 return. WHOA – that’s HUGE. But how can YOU leverage those potential volunteers?

Having worked for a variety of organizations, I’ve seen many different ways associations leverage their volunteers. There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  • Good: Volunteers developing textbooks that the association owned moving forward
  • Bad: Volunteers being entirely in charge of content selection for conference without staff input
  • Ugly: Volunteers being in charge of the gala – including content, speeches, and presentations – without running rehearsal, resulting in overly long presentations/speeches and zoned out attendees

So, in order to leverage the brain power of your volunteers in an effective way, try first writing down some key functions around three main areas:

  1. Solutions to problems (example: not enough money to do x)
  2. Fulfillment of needs (example: conference registration or member benefit development)
  3. Creating things that arouse feelings (example: testimonials, personal explanations of how membership excelled one’s career)

Once you’ve outlined some functions or deliverables under each bucket, get creative in how volunteers can help. Try these idea generation techniques:

  • ABC Avalanche (by Workshop bank)
    • This is a basic idea generation exercise where you list something – be it a task or idea – for each letter of the alphabet.
  • Write down 10 ideas every day
    • Keep a running list at your desk and discuss once a week with your larger team. Choose 1 and tackle it with your volunteers.
  • PDSA (Plan – Do – Study – Act)
    • This is a fairly simple way to make minor improvements over a period of time. Make your plan, do it, study the changes, act accordingly – either repeating the change (if successful) with an additional change, or changing course.
  • Get out of your office/space/head
    • This is my favorite. A change of scenery can be so helpful in generating more creative ideas.

Finally, don’t forget to meet your members where they are with a variety of opportunities. Move beyond the common micro volunteer opportunities, and also consider offering “slipper jobs” and “jeans jobs.” Slipper jobs are tasks that people can do from home in the background (maybe calling or emailing new members to welcome them in); whereas “jeans jobs” are more visible for the extroverts out there, like pounding the pavement for small, local conference sponsors (once it’s safe to do so again).

Hopefully these tips will help you engage your volunteers to help your organization deliver on its mission. Tell us how you plan to engage volunteers to keep delivering your mission!

A Microsite is Your Association’s One-Stop Content Hub

​Your website is one of the most valuable communications tools your association has for reaching members and providing them with need-to-know information. There are times, however, when your association’s content needs to stand alone and serve a specific purpose or audience. Those times call for a microsite. Here are some instances when a microsite can put the proper focus on your content.

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Video Made the Marketing Star

Paragraphs rarely go viral. Videos do! More so than ever before, marketers are looking for a way to help their organizations and companies stand out from the crowd. Video is an excellent solution for grabbing the attention of those you wish to reach in a creative and engaging way. So, where to start? Making videos can be intimidating for a lot of folks, especially if your team is remote and expertise, time, and resources are limited. But, incorporating videos into your content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be daunting if you keep a few tips and tricks in mind. Assembled below are some best practices for creating quality videos that will help you foster deeper connections with your audience.

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Picture Perfect: Tips for Taking Great Event Photos

​In a sea of hundreds of conference pictures, a good event photo is worth a thousand words. Taking great event photos can seem like a low priority when it comes to looking at your never ending to-do checklist. However, having good photos from your conference or event will provide many uses far after the last attendee has gone home.

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SHOW ME THE IMPACT! The increased importance of sponsorship fulfillment reports.

​The idea behind sponsorship fulfillment reports is not a new one however in unprecedented times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to help sponsors see the impact of their marketing dollars. With the pivot to virtual or hybrid events, it may be more critical to demonstrate the value to sponsor who most likely has less experience with these formats. Let’s take a quick look into the why, the what, and the how as it relates to delivering successful sponsorship fulfillment reports.

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Maximizing Your Budget with Volunteers

​Many small staff associations have big ideas but aren’t always able to execute due to a lack of resources, staff, time – or all of the above. Now is the time to learn how to do more with less by really engaging your volunteers.

Read More >

Intentional Marketing: Shaping Stories that Resonate

As marketers, we are often at the heart of DEI discussions with opportunities to inform strategies and make an impact in the DEI space, but maybe we’re unsure of how to make that happen. Or we might find ourselves caught in the middle without much chance to weigh in before being charged with the task of communicating about DEI internally and externally. Working in a niche industry like the outdoors can add another layer of considerations and challenges into the mix. For example, ever try finding a stock image of folks in wheelchairs enjoying the outdoors (particularly a free one)? There goes your afternoon. With so many potential scenarios, what can we do to prepare ourselves?

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