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Finding and Working with Volunteers

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How to Find Volunteers

  • Request a list of alumni that includes the affinity index. This index can help identify potential volunteers that may otherwise go unnoticed
  • Utilize the chapter outreach survey
  • Ask around, identify connectors in your community and ask them who may be interested

When Considering Who Should Be Volunteers

  • Identify the skill sets and passions of people you know; what are their interests (i.e. careers, mentoring, event planning, relationship building, service, fundraising, sports, music, etc.)
  • When asking someone to serve, try to match their interests with your needs
  • People are much more likely to excel in their service when they are passionate about their assignment

Be willing to Ask for Help

  • Why you need to ask
    • People who want to be involved won’t offer to help until they are asked
    • Don’t assume someone will turn down the position; more people are willing and ready to help than you would expect
    • You may think some people are too busy to be involved; however, oftentimes busy people are the ones who are best at getting things done and are most willing to help
  • Who should you ask
    • Anyone who you think would enjoy being involved
    • Ward members; consider making an announcement in your ward bulletin
    • Ask current members to invite new people
    • Review the Alumni list for your chapter
    • Consider parents of students
    • It does not matter whether they attended BYU or not; anyone can be a part of the BYU Alumni Association
  • How do you ask
    • First, know what you need
    • Be specific
    • Be honest in expectations and commitments
    • Personal invitation
    • Train
    • Don’t make a volunteer wait, they need to be involved immediately

Tips for Recruiting Members

  • Some people will be hesitant to join at first, that’s okay
  • Invite them to a board meeting, so they can see what you are all about
  • As you discuss your upcoming events and activities at your meeting, they will be able to experience your excitement and enthusiasm first hand, thus becoming more likely to join you
  • Another strategy is to ask them to help with a specific activity; as they participate in this event and enjoy their experience, they are likely to stay involved
  • Be flexible
    • Give people options in regards to their assignments
    • Allow people to be involved as much or as little as their time and comfort level allow
    • Some prefer to take charge, be innovative, and lead big events
    • Others prefer to have very specific tasks to complete
    • Including many specialists on your team is a great way to involve a variety of different people
  • Be specific
    • Every board member should be given:   
      1. A specific job title
      2. A job description; it should include a layout of what is expected of them
      3. Details about the time commitment
      4. Adequate training in regards to their specific tasks
      5. Ample appreciation for everything they are willing to do
  • Be willing to delegate
    • Make assignments, delegate responsibilities, and give them decision-making authority
    • As long as members have a clear understanding of your vision and their responsibilities, you can give them the ball and let them run with it
    • Get people involved as soon as possible, this will help them feel like a contributing member
  • Be accommodating
    • Be accommodating in regards to the frequency and time of your board meetings
    • What may be an ideal meeting time for you may be an inconvenient time for your board members; try to accommodate their needs and work around their schedules
  • Be consistent
    • Hold board meetings at the same time each month (or quarter)
    • Always have the next meeting on the schedule before the end of a current meeting
    • Try not to cancel board meetings; this kind of inconsistency will cause interest to wane
    • Begin and end meetings on time; people are more willing to participate when you are respectful of their time; socializing should occur after the meeting
    • Have an agenda and clear focus for your meetings; this will facilitate efficiency
  • Keep board members informed
    • Take notes at each meeting and send notes to all committee members
    • These notes should include all assignments that were made during the meeting as well as the dates the assignments need to accomplished by
    • At the next board meeting, review the previous month’s assignments and have each committee member report on what they have accomplished
    • The expectations to report will encourage committee members to accomplish their assignments and attend chapter meetings

If They Say No

  • Don’t take it personally
  • Ask some of the following questions:
    • It seems as if you like our organization and the work we’re doing, is that true?
    • Do you need to know more about our chapters/mission?
    • Is our chapter not a good fit for your interests?
    • Would you be willing to help in the future?

Be Appreciative

  • CELEBRATE—keep volunteers coming back
  • Make it fun
  • Provide meaningful roles—be specifics with timeline, due dates
  • Reward through recognition—volunteers should feel needed, appreciated, and celebrated
  • Show volunteers their success
  • Personalization—personalized emails and thank yous
  • Set aside time just for connections
    • Ideas
      1. Appreciation Dinner
      2. Refreshments at meetings
      3. Personalized thank yous