Blog FPO

Volunteering should be mutually beneficial

Volunteers are crucial to organizations, especially when it comes to events. But volunteerism needs to benefit both parties.

One of the perks for volunteers is networking according to a recently released report by the ASAE Foundation.

The foundation partnered with Mariner Management and Whorton Marketing and Research to learn more about enhancing volunteer management systems.

According to the report, volunteers make up 20 to 25 percent of an organization’s workforce, averaging 67 hours per year per volunteer.

The report found staff and volunteers want a program that is:

  • Collaborative and symbiotic: Staff and volunteers are recognized as a fully integrated component of the organization and view each other as trustworthy, dependable partners.
  • Satisfying: Volunteers experience both personal and professional satisfaction.
  • Optimized: Volunteer skills and capacity are well-matched to the roles they are asked to fulfill.
  • Valuable: Volunteers deliver meaningful, measurable value to the mission and the organization.

In fact, a good volunteer management system incorporates many of the same principles as a human resources system: job design, recruitment, selection, training, ongoing management, assessment and recognition.

The study also found that between 55 and 59 percent of current, former or chapter-only volunteers are involved for education and professional development. At the same time, 21 percent of current volunteers ranked in-person networking as most important.

Perhaps not surprising, 50 percent of organizations report having to accept volunteers who aren’t as committed or qualified, and some of that could be because 70 percent of association members have never volunteered. In other words, the vested interest is missing.

As with any system, volunteerism requires frequent analysis and development. Most association executives indicate they have a board liaison to all committees. But training and assessment are areas of improvement, the report found.

Less than half the respondents said they have an orientation process for volunteers. And even fewer have an evaluation process for volunteers.

“Association staff leaders appear to know—and members agree—that volunteer recruitment, orientation, training and assessment are areas where they can improve their volunteer management systems,” the report says. “There are opportunities for associations to be deliberate in how they approach each of these areas, whether through the use of new methods of recruiting to reach an untapped audience, the creation task-oriented volunteer opportunities, the development of orientations for new volunteers or the use of goal-centered conversations to provide feedback to volunteers.

“While not every member wants to be a volunteer, plenty of them do—including those who have not yet had the opportunity. In ensuring their volunteer management systems are deliberate at every step, from outreach and recruitment to volunteer assessment, association leaders can ensure that their systems do provide for the mutual benefit of volunteers and associations.”

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 >

​Meeting? Webinar? Live? Pre-Recorded? ​​Which Virtual Option Do I Choose?

For in-person meetings, we spend time carefully choosing the best delivery method for the desired objectives and outcomes. As you plan out a virtual event, it’s important to have these considerations as well.

Read More >

7 Ways to Stay on Top of Your Health at Conferences

​It can be easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle at an association conference or trade show. Panels, dinners, booths, and nightlife will keep you busy. Here are a few tips to make sure you stay healthy for the entire association event.

Read More >

Reconciling Revenue with Health: What Associations and Advertisers Can Do to Successfully Navigate Event Cancellations

​When a crisis like the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic happens, it’s important that associations and their event sponsors and exhibitors work together through the impact of preventive and reactionary measures on planned in-person events. Event cancellations or postponements that disrupt sponsorship- or in-person sales-based business initiatives aren’t ideal. But there are ways to work together to map out a mutually satisfying course of action that respects the science of social distancing, while acknowledging that businesses and associations can’t afford to cease operating completely.

Read More >
By: Savannah Phillips | Feb, 26 2020

Top 5 Ideas to Make Conferences More Fun for Attendees

​Your association’s annual conference is likely one of the most anticipated events of the year for your members. The opportunities for networking and learning at these events seem endless… If you can keep your attendees engaged with fun, unique activities.

Read More >

3 Things Associations Should Focus on in 2020

​We’re predicting more smart use of technology in 2020 that will allow for more diverse voices to be included in association initiatives and strategies. With the goal of a more inclusive membership experience for all in mind, here are three things associations should focus on in 2020.

Read More >