VOLUNTEER & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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1 AMERICAN RENTAL ASSOCIATION VOLUNTEER & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Tips for recruiting and motivating volunteers are discussed in this section. Leadership training opportunities such as the Leadership Conference and Nat l Legislative Caucus are also covered (p. 12).

2 VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT Volunteers are vitally important to the viability of state, and provincial associations. You need volunteers willing to donate their time and expertise to lead your association and to work on behalf of your members. Each volunteer plays an important role in conducting the work of your association - from the officers and board of directors who lead the association, to the committee chairs and members who provide specific focus upon membership, legislative initiatives and programs, to others who invest their time to manage a specific task. The commitment by your volunteers and the quality of the work which they do absolutely define the relevance of your association. And remember, through volunteer initiatives, you are developing future leaders for your association. Active Volunteer Recruitment and Guidance Are Key As a leader, it is important for you to focus upon recruiting and guiding other volunteers to assist you in your efforts. Just as you need employees and coworkers to assist you in your business, you need volunteers to assist in your efforts as a leader. Although anyone can recruit volunteers in their day-to-day interactions with associates, you might want to delegate an individual(s) to take on the job of actively recruiting volunteers. The individual(s) responsible for volunteer recruitment should know where volunteers are needed. Volunteers need guidance to effectively accomplish their responsibilities. When asking a volunteer to assume a role, be sure that you define the role or expectation and provide them with what they need to do the job, including background information (such as talking points for member recruitment), a timeline for completion, and materials needed (such as fliers to send to prospective members). Each association has unique needs, so your association will want to take time to develop a list of those needs. Refer to the Leading Your Association section for more information on how to develop a list of association goals and objectives to meet your association needs and how to delegate to volunteers to fulfill these needs. 1

3 To be successful in promoting volunteerism to your members, you need to sell its value. Following are some of the reasons that volunteers at the national level gave for becoming involved. Volunteers in your association might feel the same way. 1. Volunteering gives me opportunities to be a part of a great overall learning experience and pick up innovative ideas to apply in my business. 2. Volunteering helps me develop relationships with General and Associate Members and rental industry leaders. 3. Through volunteerism, I am able to represent my peers and share perspectives regarding association initiatives. 4. Volunteering provides me a sense of fulfillment by contributing to the growth of a dynamic association that is my own. 5. Through volunteering, I have a voice in my association. Volunteer involvement increases membership value for all who choose to participate. Example Call to Leadership Letter In the Forms section is an example recruitment letter for you to customize when you want to sell the value of volunteer opportunities within your association. Attach the letter to the association job descriptions. Refer to the Leading Your Association section for more information on creating job descriptions. An example job description is also located in the Forms section. 2

4 Strategies for Motivating Volunteers Recruiting volunteers to actively serve on committees and work groups is a challenge for many. What s missing is marketing savvy. Recruiting volunteers is simply another sale to be made. You are selling the opportunity to volunteer in exchange for investments of your members time. You need to use many strategies to market your association to your members. 1. Make getting involved easy to do. Create ways at meetings and in your member communications for your members to volunteer. Post your needs, job description and who they can contact on your meeting agendas, on meeting notices, on your Web site and in your newsletter. You ll want to repeat your request at every opportunity your board has to speak to members. 2. Assume your members are interested in volunteering and just need the right point of entry. There s an old saying that, you get what you expect. The same is true with volunteers. When you expect that your members are interested in helping, you approach recruiting them to help you in a much more positive manner. When creating volunteer opportunities, get creative in how you divide up the work. Your members have different strengths and likes. 3. Create easy opportunities. Some people are eager to step up to committees, while others prefer to test the waters. Help your members ease into becoming an active volunteer by creating easy jobs they can do with little effort. Examples include: Hosting a table at a dinner. Acting as a meeting host during social hour. 3

5 Sitting with the guest speaker. Introducing the speaker. Helping to pass out materials at the meeting. Writing a note to the Membership Committee on two members who were not present at the meeting. The committee can follow-up with phone calls to invite them to the next meeting. Hosting a meeting at their location. Writing an article for the newsletter. Taking one hour a month to make phone calls to recruit members or follow up on cancelled members. Spending time calling members to personally invite them to meetings. Making sure all new members are recognized and greeted at meetings. 4. Make it prestigious to be involved. People want to be part of the action. Talk about the great things your volunteers do both publicly and in writing. Have everyone who helped out that month stand up at your meeting and applaud them. 4

6 Use testimonials about volunteering that talk about the great connections made while helping out. 5. Create an air of excitement about being involved. Get dramatic with your announcements. Use skits to make your point. Involve your current committee. Show everyone else how much fun you have as a team. However you do it have FUN! It will make volunteering a welcome break for members from their daily life. 6. Don t threaten or beg your members to get involved. Simply invite them to be a part of growing their association and remind them of the benefits of volunteering. If they are not interested in volunteering for a particular task, don t be afraid to ask them if there would be a better time or better assignment that would fit their needs. Be sure to follow-through with them at a later point and time. If someone says no once, it doesn t necessarily mean they will say no in the future. 7. Recruit one-on-one during social hour. Personally asking people to volunteer is one of the most effective ways to recruit volunteers. By asking in person, your board members and committee chairs can tailor some opportunities to what individual members can do. When approaching a member to volunteer, follow these simple steps: Meet the member and initiate normal conversation. Ask them about their personal or professional lives. 5

7 Probe their business needs, expectations, interests and time. Suggest matches within the association. Train the member how to maximize the membership experience. Suggest level of involvement and check for understanding and assessing interest. Weave member benefits and solutions into your requests for help. Tell them what they will get out of this experience and how it will help in their business. Provide more details regarding involvement. When you begin your meeting, make an announcement on how many members have signed up to volunteer and recognize them. 8. Turn work into a party. Don t have a work meeting. Have a get-it-done party. Make it fun to work in your association. 9. Run good committee meetings. Have an agenda. Give everyone a voice at your meetings. This is the time for discussion and exploring options. Make sure all of your members get a chance to give their input. Be timely. Start and end on time. Businesses first, socialize later. Make your meetings an experience to attend. Be creative! 6

8 10. Celebrate your successes and give lots of thanks. Have a volunteer party once a year. At the party, make it easy to sign up to volunteer again. Avoiding Volunteer Burnout Burn out is one of the most common factors for not being able to motivate new volunteers. Also, under-utilization of a volunteer s skills by the leader also discourages individuals. Common obstacles that prevent having a successful volunteer base in your association can include: Neglecting to ask for help from members. Assigning tasks without giving clear direction. Making the volunteer feel unimportant or unnecessary. Using volunteers for busy work. Having low expectations of the volunteer. Forgetting to thank a volunteer for their contribution. WORKING WITH DIFFERENT VOLUNTEER MOTIVATORS Why do people volunteer? Understanding the different motivating factors for volunteers can help the board or committee chair administrator work more effectively. One of the following motivators usually initiates volunteering: Achievement Power Affiliation Recognition Humanity 1. Achievement Motivator 7

9 The achievement-motivated person looks for situations requiring top performance in which they can excel. This person likes to out-perform others attaining unique accomplishments and enjoys striving for goals. They want to do the job better and figuring out ways to remove obstacles. To work well with the achiever: Ask for their help in setting the work pace and methods. Give them challenging tasks that require efficiency. Allow them to learn new skills or materials. Give them clear feedback on their performance. 2. Power Motivator People seeking power want to have impact, influencing others with their ideas. They want to win arguments and get others to do things their way. They seek ways to influence through communication. To direct powermotivated volunteers: Give them opportunities to direct others. Allow them to implement changes. Let them control their work pace. Ask them how jobs should be done. Give them tasks that need managerial skills. 3. Affiliation Motivator 8

10 Being around other people and learning from them is important to volunteers with an affiliation motive. The social aspect of volunteering appeals to them. They want to build friendships and gain professional advice for their business. They like being with others, want to help people and care about others feelings. For success with affiliation-oriented volunteers: Let them work with many different types of people. Find tasks that require cooperation. Give them off-task time to interact with other volunteers. Allow plenty of relationship building time and activities. 4. Recognition Motivator For those motivated by recognition, prestige and status are important. They prefer clear-ending, short-term tasks. They enjoy public relations. They want to be connected with popular projects. They want to advance to new tasks, so desire timely completion of work. When volunteers are motivated by recognition: Give work that can be completed quickly. Let them be in positions of high visibility. Award them with plaques, certificates and public announcements of their achievements. Allow them time to speak in front of the other members to express the benefits of volunteering. 9

11 5. Humanity Motivator Humanitarian people pursue volunteering for the general good. They have high ideals and values. They are concerned about interests that benefit the public. They care about accountability. To work well with those motivated by volunteering for the greater good: Include them with others of similar values and goals. Have them work with highly committed people. Provide volunteer opportunities that revolve around accepted community concerns and the mission of the association. Have them work on a fundraising project for your association that donates the association event proceeds to a local charity. 10

12 VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION An important factor in motivating people is to thank them and to acknowledge them for their work. Recognition is one of the best ways to thank someone for a job well done. Although their work is certainly appreciated, thanks and recognition of volunteers is often overlooked by leaders with heavy responsibilities. Following are a few ideas for recognizing volunteers. Be generous but sincere with your praise. When calling on a committee chair or member for a report during a meeting, remember to recognize them for their efforts and accomplishments. Be sure to also recognize committee members or ask the chair to name them. Always give credit where credit is due. If a member is involved in an association activity, program or service, inform the others of that member s role. Report volunteer accomplishments through your newsletter and during meetings. Send announcements of outstanding achievements to the press. Throughout your term of office, show your appreciation for your board members, officers and committee chairmen through your words and actions. Consider sending them a note (even an message) or a card, when appropriate. 11

13 At the end of each year, demonstrate the gratitude of the association by awarding plaques, certificates or gifts to worthy volunteers in a public setting. LEADERSHIP TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES There are numerous opportunities for developing volunteers throughout each year - at the local, provincial, state and national levels. Consider the following: Leadership Conference This is a two-day Conference held each Fall, specifically designed as a leadership training session for current and future state, local and provincial association leaders. The Conference offers professional development seminars, networking, overview of association policies and procedures and lots of sharing with volunteer leader peers on what works and what doesn t. ARA works with the state, local and provincial associations to determine the appropriate volunteers to invite, with the goal being to have incoming and future leaders in attendance. National Legislative Caucus This is a two-day event held each spring in Washington, D.C. The National Legislative Caucus brings state and national ARA leaders to Washington, D.C., to visit, educate and build relationships with their federal representatives in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Each year, legislative priorities determined by the Government Affairs Committee serve as the cornerstone of issues carried to Capitol Hill by members attending. This program provides the training for State Association leaders to develop an active State Association government affairs program. To help defray the costs of this important event, ARA encourages and appreciates state sponsorships. Donations to Caucus are a great investment of your state s rebate funds. 12

14 The Rental Show A meeting is held to prepare attendees for participation in the Legislative Caucus that is held later in the spring. Invited Caucus attendees are strongly recommended to attend this session to prepare for your experience at this critical advocacy effort in Washington, D.C. Training by Conference Call Occasionally, ARA will host an educational training session for your board of directors to participate in via conference call. The purpose is to offer you additional training to lead your association effectively throughout the year and provide tips and techniques to help you accomplish your work. A variety of topics will be included, such as leadership development, governance, officer orientation (president or treasurer, for example), membership, member meetings, legislative/government affairs, and communications. Utilizing ARA Board or Staff Consider planning a training session during a member meeting to nurture future leaders. Perhaps, you could invite an ARA Board or staff member to speak on government and legislation, strategic planning within your association, member recruitment, or any one of a number of topics. ARA encourages you to take advantage of every opportunity you can think of to develop leaders within your association. Your effectiveness depends upon strong leadership. Feel free to contact us at any time for advice on recruiting and developing volunteers for your organization. ARA has several opportunities throughout the year for you to volunteer at the national level. Among them are serving on an ARA committee, being a speaker or moderator during The Rental Show, or serving on the ARA Board of Directors or the ARA Foundation Board of Directors, and many more. There are 13

15 short-term and longer-term appointments. We believe you would find volunteering for ARA a rewarding experience. Contact ARA for more information on how to become involved. Resources and References Center for Excellence in Association Leadership (2004). Challenging Popular Myths to Tap Member Potential. San Francisco, California. D Amour, C. (2000) How to Turn Generation Me into Active Members of Your Association. Jump Start Books, Ann Arbor, Michigan Skelly, J. Motivating Volunteers, Fact Sheet University of Nevada, Reno 14

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