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Effective Volunteer Recruitment & Engagement, presented to Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
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Effective Volunteer Recruitment & Engagement, presented to Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives


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  • 1. Presented by Katherine Swartz, CAE
    Greater Columbia Chamber of
    Those who can, do. 
    Those who can do more, volunteer. 
    ~Author Unknown
    Volunteer Recruitment & Engagement
  • 2. Today’s Outline
    Understanding your issues
    Why do people and companies volunteer?
    Why do people stop volunteering?
    Building managed process to volunteer position development and engagement (with our business members in mind)
    RMRR: Recruitment, Management, Recognition and Retention
    Case Study
    Additional Resources
  • 3. Understanding your issues and needs
  • 4. Think about this. . . .
    Civil society and the concept of democracy in the United states were born from a spirit of voluntary action and a commitment to bring about change. . . to see a wrong and right it, to imagine what is possible and achieve it.
    The nonprofit sector provides some of the most meaningful models of what it means to live in a civil society.
    In turn, effective volunteerism yields benefits that extend beyond individual organizations – to the volunteers themselves, and the people and communities they serve.
    Advancing business together Advancing the community together
    Source: A Guide to Investing in Volunteer Resources
  • 5. Volunteering in the United States
    Percentage of adults who volunteer: 44%
    Total number of adult volunteers: 83.9 million
    Average weekly hours per volunteer: 3.6 hours
    Total dollar value of volunteer time: $239.2 billion
    National value of volunteer service hour: $21.36 (2010)
    Value of volunteer hour in SC: $16.53
    It's easy to make a buck.  It's a lot tougher to make a difference.  ~Tom Brokaw
  • 6. Why do people and companies volunteer?
  • 7. Why do volunteers volunteer?
    Meet a need
    Contribute expertise
    Make a difference
    To feel good or feel connected
    Build skills
    Build network
    Access to broader range of perspectives, skills and resources
    Because they were asked . . .
  • 8. The Business Case for Workplace Volunteering
    They want to “do good” for their community.
    It fits the company’s traditions and values.
    It improves reputation and image.
    It is important to customers that the company demonstrates “good citizenship.”
    It helps recruit/retain employees.
    It helps build employee morale and job satisfaction.
    It helps build teams among diverse employees.
    It allows employees to develop new skills that are useful in their “real job.”
    Source: The Points of Light Foundation
  • 9. Why do people stop volunteering?
  • 10. Why do people stop volunteering?
    Poor management (2 out of 5)
    Competition with other organizations
    Lack of discretionary time
    Lack of leadership opportunities
    They didn’t feel their gift of time made a difference
    Ineffective use of their time
  • 11. Let’s build a volunteer program with our chamber business members in mind.
  • 12. Volunteerism:
    Accomplishes real work
    Strengthens democratic and civic values
    Connect people
    Sparks creative problem solving
    Supplements existing resources
    Provides broader range of perspectives, skills and resources
    Volunteers are a necessary and critical resource for healthy communities (included within chambers).
    Volunteers are not “free.” Investment of time and energy on both the volunteer and chamber.
  • 13. Managed process based on open communication and a spirit of partnership
    Set your organizational goals.
    Internally: Agree on scope, schedule, budget, etc. 
    “Business” approach to time: plan, plan, plan
    Know who on your staff is going to manage the volunteer relationships.  And, just as important, who at the company will champion your needs within their organization.   
    Make contact with an interested volunteer/ company.  Think early about building a long-term relationship, not just about the one-time transaction.
  • 14. Align your goals and the volunteer’s/company’s.  Be sure the expected ROI is attainable and fair to both sides.
    Have items available in writing.
    Make it EASY to get (and stay) involved. 
    Plan, plan, plan… and plan some more.  And do it jointly.
    Implement volunteer team building.
    Implement the project – the proof of good planning is a plan that works!  
  • 15. The day after?  Sorry, you are not done yet!  Measure the results against the ROI goals and the specifics of the plan. 
    Results & Reporting Back: obtain and give feedback
    Celebrate your success. 
    Finally, don’t forget recognition and publicity.
    Ask them again (and personally)
    Ask for their referrals
  • 16. Recruitment >>> Management >>> Recognition >>> Retention
    How do you recruit volunteers?
  • 17. Recruitment How-To’s
    Publicize to all members (transparency) and ask personally
    Establish a direct connection (think back – why do volunteers volunteer?)
    Help volunteers see the benefits of volunteering with your Chamber
    Establish CLEAR expectations
    Time commitment
    Roles and responsibilities
    Resources needed and provided
  • 18. “Vol” Management
    Information and Communication: Sets the tone for the decision to volunteer
    Training: sets the tone for the volunteer experience
    Three Touch Strategy: before, during and after the volunteer experience
    Feedback: Lets volunteersknow they have a vested interest in your chamber
  • 19. Effective Management = Retention
    Follow through on your commitments
    Keep an open line of communication
    Make it clear how volunteers can support your chamber
    Make it easy for them to get involved
    Make their experience meaningful
    Ask for their feedback
    No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. 
    ~James Allen
  • 20. Quick & Easy Feedback Survey
    Would they volunteer again?
    Did they feel their efforts had a positive impact?
    Was the event or project well-managed?
    How were volunteers welcomed?
    In what ways did the experience meet their expectations or not?
  • 21. Why recognize?
    To appreciate them for their work and efforts
    To motive them to set and accomplish new goals
    To encourage them so they know what they are doing
    To publicize to others different projects, programs and activities
    Ultimately, member satisfaction, renewals and referrals!
    “Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
    - Voltaire
  • 22. Creative Recognition Tactics
    Breakfast of Champion Awards, Chamber Partner, ROSE Award (Recognition of Special Effort), AchieveMINT
    Regular Volunteer of the Month, Quarter or Annual award and feature (peer recognition)
    President’s Volunteer Service Awards (100+ hours and must apply with a 501(c)3 FEIN
    Social media: tag photos, shout outs
    Media Releases: best sent with a photo
  • 23. Award/Event Opportunities
    Corporate Philanthropy Day (4th Monday in February)
    Random Acts of Kindness Week (February)
    National Volunteer Week (April 10-16)
    Make a Difference Day (4th Saturday in October)
    National Philanthropy Day (November)
  • 24. Case Study: Revitalize a Committee
    This committee (membership segment) has been declining in membership and event participation for the past five years.
    The committee has struggled recruiting members and getting members to attend regular meetings.
    Recently, the committee chair and marketing chair resigned due to job changes.
    The programs for the current year are already planned and the last event is in June, leaving the summer months for planning for next year?
    What can we do to revitalize this committee and get more volunteers engaged (ultimately more memberships , vent registrations and overall satisfaction)?
  • 25. Next Steps
    Don’t panic: stay in regular communication with current committee
    Research: understand the issues internally
    Benchmark: with other chambers, associations and NPOs
    Needs assessment: surveys of current, former and never-been members
    Referrals: Ask team members, board members and other leaders for referrals. Ask former committee members to serve in an advisory capacity.
  • 26. Additional Resources people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good promoted the values of caring, integrity, and public service since 198 embraces service and civic engagement as fundamental to a purposeful life and essential to a healthy world. International Journal of Volunteer Administration