2012 12-05--volunteers


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This presentation for ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) chapter leaders offers tips on how to effectively recognize and reward volunteers so they remain engaged within the organizations they serve. Co-presented by Paul Signorelli and Rick Kerner, ASTD National Advisors for Chapters advisors, on December 5, 2012 as part of ASTD's ongoing series of webinars.

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  • Let ’s start by thanking you, colleagues to colleagues, for taking the time to be with us for this session about thanking and rewarding volunteers. As ASTD chapter leaders, you understand the value and rewards of volunteering because you ’re among the volunteers that keep your chapters going. Some of you also make substantial contributions regionally and nationally to ASTD and to the communities we serve across the country. You, along with the other volunteers who are attracted to ASTD and what it provides, really are the organization in all its glory, and you deserve recognition for all you do to keep it going and to develop the positive reputation it has. When we talk about thanking you—really, thanking ourselves—we may not be in a position to throw our own ticker-tape parades. But then again, few of us volunteer with an expectation of being at the center of this sort of elaborate gesture.
  • So, let ’s look at what we just did (and did not do): We tried not to bore you with a list of our learning goals and objectives for today ’s session; you already know that from the program description and the title you saw on the first slide. We did start by thanking you for attending a session on how to thank and reward volunteers. (Modeling the behavior, anyone?) We drew you in quickly by acknowledging that you ’re among the volunteers we are trying to reach and serve—think about the value of engaging volunteers rather than just approaching them every time you need something from them. And if we were successful, we helped move you into a frame of mind that makes you think about thanking and rewarding volunteers from the volunteers ’—from your—point of view. We hope you ’ll use that opening example as the foundation for all we’re going to discuss--and for much of what you’re going to do as long as you are in a position of trying to effectively thank and reward the volunteers who are part of your team.
  • It ’s probably already clear to you now that we see thanking and rewarding volunteers as part of an ongoing process. It’s not something we just do once a year; it’s an integral part of what helps you as chapter leaders to build an enthusiastic community that consistently comes together to meet the goals and objectives chapter members establish for themselves as part of a national association. Let ’s start with a large-picture view, then dive into specifics here.
  • It doesn ’t take much for any of us to be drawn into the community that ASTD offers, as we’re reminded in this photograph from Chapter Leader Day at the 2012 ASTD International Conference & Exposition. When we walk into an ASTD room or join an online ASTD site, we’re immediately part of the family. And it’s up to us to be sure that our volunteers feel enticed and supported.
  • Just as we see different levels of engagement in membership—some people occasionally attend meetings but never join our chapters, and others provide years of board service before stepping back into the general membership and staying active in chapter activities—there are various levels of volunteer engagement. Some will pretty much be at the foot of the volunteer mountain—interested, seeing where others are going, and diving in occasionally to help on an informal, as-needed basis.
  • Others will crave and seek greater levels of engagement; these are your future chapter board members and chapter board presidents.
  • And there will be those wonderfully ideal volunteers that don ’t need a title to be actively engaged. They include former board members, but also include those stalwarts who never were driven by a desire to hold official board positions and attend meetings; they’re there for you as much as they are for themselves—and to seem to enjoy the view regardless of where they sit.
  • There ’s no better place to start than to determine what motivates us to become part of an association—literally, to make that very large decision to associate.
  • It ’s pretty clear, from everything we see and hear, that we are drawn to ASTD and other professional associations by the need and desire to be socially connected (what we all too often mechanically refer to as “networking,” but which is far deeper and sustainable when we think about what we’re accomplishing together).
  • It ’s a chance to meet colleagues who may or may not share our specific interests—but with whom we find common ground, and walk (or ride) away better for having had those particular encounters.
  • And when we carry those associations beyond the physical and virtual meeting spaces of our own chapters, and meet within larger venues such as the annual Chapter Leader Day activity shown here at ASTD ’s 2012 International Conference and Exposition—we’re already receiving some of the rewards that mean the most to us. When we, as chapter leaders, foster that level of thanking and rewarding our associates through the associations we create at all levels, we ’re laying the groundwork for the more specific actions and practices you were looking for when you agreed to take the time to participate in today’s session. It ’s pretty clear, from everything we see and hear, that we are drawn to ASTD and other professional associations by the need and desire to be socially connected (what we all-too-often mechanically refer to as “networking,” but which is far deeper and sustainable when we think about what we’re accomplishing together).
  • When we think about building upon the desire for association and establishing a culture of gratitude, we open ourselves up to all sorts of wonderful possibilities. A case in point: When ASTD ’s Mount Diablo Chapter was a Chapter of the Month award a few years ago, Chapter board members went through an interesting exercise. First, there was the elation that comes from that level of recognition from colleagues—a point we want to keep in mind as we consider and implement any sort of thanking and reward system. No one really saw it coming; it was a result of the Chapter completing a Sharing Our Success application earlier that year.
  • The wonderful letter from ASTD CEO Tony Bingham included the formal notification that, in addition to the recognition the award provided, the Chapter would be receiving two tangible gifts. The first was a copy of the ASTD Learning System—an essential tool to anyone interested pursuing the CPLP--Certified Professional in Learning and Performance—designation. And let ’s not forget that the Learning System was going for around $500 at that point. The question facing the Chapter board at that point was obvious: should we give the copy to a member through some sort of drawing at a Chapter meeting, or was there a better way to use it? The second tangible gift was a $500 cash award. Again, the board was faced with finding a way to effectively use that money on behalf of the members. Here ’s how it played out: It took little discussion for board members to agree that giving the system to one member at a Chapter meeting would be tremendously rewarding to that member—if the member wanted to go through the CPLP process—but that it would have far greater impact if it were kept as a Chapter resource to be borrowed by any member or group of members who registered for the CPLP process. It played out well when a couple of members did join a CPLP study group and held costs down by using that Chapter copy.
  • Here ’s the most significant part of the story: this one unexpected gift helped the chapter establish a new and much-appreciated tradition. The Chapter now offers free registration for that event each year to the first 30 members who register—and rarely finds anyone turned away since that level of funding covers the number of members interested in attending—nearly a third of the total membership.
  • It doesn ’t require dancing in the streets…but it does require that whatever we do is grounded in a broad-based philosophy. It ’s completely consistent with goals that many of your chapters have: supporting membership growth and retention; nurturing an engaged community of learners; and, for those of you who already have strong volunteer support, fostering a culture of rewarding members for their support. Remember, when time is a valuable commodity that no one has enough of, even “volunteering” to show up at a chapter meeting is a level of commitment that needs to be acknowledged and rewarded.
  • So, having establishing some foundations here, let ’s shift this around a bit for a few minutes and engage all of you in your dual roles as chapter leaders and chapter volunteers. What windfalls to your chapter have been reinvested back into thanking volunteers and other members? If you haven ’t received any windfalls: what would you do if they came your way, and how would that connect to your overall chapter mission, vision, and value statements as well as your strategic plans, goals, and objectives?
  • It ’s been suggested in workplace situations that recognition is appropriate when performance meets expectations. This recognition can be delivered verbally or in writing. It’s also been suggested that, in workplace situations, rewards are used when performance exceeds expectations. These can include tokens and premiums. Let ’s have our cake and eat it too: let’s take an and-and approach rather than an either-or approach and offer recognition and rewards as generously and as often as we can to cultivate a culture of community, collaboration, and inclusiveness.
  • This doesn ’t have to be fancy. But it should be appropriate. We have so many options that we overlook: A personal note via email or in the form of a hand-written note from the president of the chapter means more than we think it does. Those of us who are or have been chapter presidents recognize we ’re really not that different from our generally engaged members, but they see it differently--and that’s what matters. A brief mention in the chapter ’s online newsletter—what? you’re not doing a newsletter? how about engaging volunteers in that very important outreach effort?—anyway, a brief mention in the chapter’s online newsletter creates long-term goodwill since it remains posted on the chapter’s website as long as you maintain a chapter website. Kind words from a chapter board member who benefitted from the volunteer ’s assistance also costs little and means a lot. More on that in a minute when we look at what the ASTD Orange County Chapter does for its volunteers.
  • There ’s a lot of emphasis put on tangible rewards, and it may be time to rethink our approach to this. If we ’re nurturing the culture of thanks and rewards that is at the heart of our discussion today, we need to start with two questions: How does the reward we offer reflect the nature of our organizations as workplace learning and performance advocates? What sort of reward is meaningful to our members? If we don ’t know, we need to ask them. Let ’s look at some traditional rewards that are somewhat reflective of our organization and our mission.
  • If we offer t-shirts, are we giving something our volunteers want or are we giving them another opportunity to promote us through their service as human billboards?
  • Refrigerator magnets or keychains, anyone? Is that in any way a meaningful expression of gratitude and the value we place on our volunteers ’ efforts?
  • It really doesn ’t take much of an investment, as some of our colleagues repeatedly prove through their own actions, to connect rewards to what motivates our members: we can connect their love of learning to new learning opportunities they might not have thought about giving themselves. Something to consider: some sort of award and recognition during your Chapter ’s Employee Learning Week celebration in honor of their achievements in learning, or during the chapter’s holiday party, or at any other gathering—including monthly meetings—where camaraderie is at the heart of the activity.
  • Credit to be used through ASTD ’s online store
  • A copy of one of ASTD ’s more treasured and essential volumes
  • Partial or complete passes to chapter events or something more ambitious like a partial or completely-funded pass to the International Conference and Exposition, or TechKnowledge, or the annual Chapter Leader Conference if they ’re part of your board or about to join your board.
  • The ASTD Orange County Chapter has a spectacular model. Board members regularly nominate and vote on a volunteer of the month; the designation is designed to acknowledge and promote extraordinary volunteer efforts. Award recipients have included someone who attracted a sponsor at the $5,000+ level for a chapter event, a volunteer who contributed to the redesign of the chapter website, and a volunteer who made significant contributions to the chapter ’s innovative CPLP initiative that is serving ASTD chapters throughout California—and beyond.
  • We can see how the individuals are honored on the website. They are also honored at a chapter meeting.
  • One of the very nice touches is that the onsite recognition during the chapter meeting is handled by the board member who is most familiar with the volunteer ’s contributions—the board member who made the nomination.
  • The honoree also is invited to attend that monthly meeting free of charge—a perk that was added a few months after the first volunteer was honored. The chapter ’s response to the fact that initial honorees hadn’t received the free lunch? Those honorees received invitations to attend one upcoming meeting at no cost so they, too, were recipients of the benefit—even though it hadn’t been in place when they were originally honored.
  • With that wonderful example from the ASTD Orange County Chapter fresh in our minds, let ’s explore what others in this session are already doing.
  • As we move from the discussion of rewarding those chapter volunteers who support chapter activities, let ’s become even more specific and examine how chapters thank and reward their leaders in collaborative and appropriate ways. Chapter board members can actually set a great example through the examples they set. If we ’re seeking levels of engagement and collaboration, we can start by making sure that thanks and rewards to board members are supported in every possible way by the general membership
  • It ’s fairly common, in nonproft organizations, to establish some sort of budget line item to cover the expenses of rewards given to members—and that’s a great way to be sure that there is literal buy-in to the idea of creating a sustainable culture of thanking and rewarding volunteers. There ’s another side of that particular coin to consider: if chapter board members are the only ones paying attention to creating, implementing, and monitoring budgets, do we run the risk of appearing to be using chapter funds for our own benefit when we set aside budgets to thank ourselves?
  • There are several ways to avoid even creating the appearance of self-interest here: If it ’s a question of board members wanting to honor other board members, the board members themselves can make contributions at whatever level is comfortable to them and reward the recipients of their gratitude with something that is meaningful to that recipient. We’ve done things as simple—and as tremendously appreciated—as putting together a basket of gourmet food items for a colleague that loved gourmet food items, and also have presented Amazon.com gift certificates for the avid readers among our colleagues.
  • But something that might carry this even further in terms of creating complete transparency and involvement from a wider group of members is to ask members at some sort of large annual gathering to ratify the board ’s approval of a gift or volunteer recognition budget for the board themselves. We can’t imagine any engaged group of members being opposed to this, and it could create additional goodwill and appreciation for the contributions made by chapter leaders.
  • This is a sample from last year’s Holiday Newsletter for the Eastern PA Chapter. Anytime anyone contributes an article, we always run their byline with a photo, showing people they’re been “published.”
  • We ’ve had plenty of great ideas to explore during our time together today. What we want to do next is assure that we carry those ideas along with us on our continuing journey and do all we can to create a sustainable culture of thanking and rewarding. If we ’re successful, we’ll contribute to something that outlasts our own time as chapter leaders with formal titles—and maybe even any additional time we spend as leaders without formal board positions. Let ’s take a few minutes to hear what you plan to do within the next week, the next month, and the next year to contribute to the culture of thanking and rewarding volunteers within your chapters—and any other organizations you serve.
  • We ’ve had plenty of great ideas to explore during our time together today. They include building a foundation for thanking and rewarding volunteers for the contributions they make to our association.
  • There was recognition that involvement fosters engagement, so anything we can do to provide volunteers with meaningful opportunities is a great step toward keeping them engaged.
  • There was explicit acknowledgment of how volunteers will be at different levels of commitment from others at various times in their affiliation with our association.
  • We spent some time talking about the innate need that ASTD membership offers: a chance to be part of a community that connects us with a variety of colleagues so we gain as much from what makes us different as we do from what makes us similar.
  • We had the example, from the Mount Diablo Chapter, of using an unexpected gift of cash to reward chapter members by offering a free meeting that highlighted what members valued: a chance to simply spend time together, engaged in informal (undirected) conversation.
  • We briefly explored the importance of knowing what a volunteer values.
  • There was the example of matching rewards with volunteers ’ interests and the overall mission of the learning organization that has attracted so many of us.
  • We had the magnificent example of the ASTD Orange County Chapter ’s volunteers-appreciating-other-volunteers approach.
  • And, finally, engaging as many members as possible in the process of approving how volunteers are thanked and rewarding—particularly the volunteers on the board who ultimately responsible for approving the expenditure of funds to support the volunteer thanking and rewarding process. We hope this has not only created a deeper awareness in how creative we can all be in this important endeavor, but has also made us more appreciative of how our own positions as volunteers can help us inspire others to make similar contributions. Let ’s take a few minutes to hear what you plan to do within the next week, the next month, and the next year to contribute to the culture of thanking and rewarding volunteers within your chapters—and any other organizations you serve.
  • While we believe that some of your best resources are going to be your fellow chapter leaders across the country and your own volunteers—don’t forget to listen to what they’re saying in terms of what recognition and which rewards are valuable to them—we also want to leave you with a few things to explore in places you might not have thought to look. The Virginia Recycling Association has a wonderful 14-page document that covers the whole process start to finish—and it reminds us that recognizing and rewarding volunteers starts the moment you begin planning a program designed to attract and retain volunteers, not just when you’re at the moment of recognition and reward: http://www.vrarecycles.org/Portals/0/VA%20Recycling%20Assoc%20Workshop%20Handouts.pdf Judy Esmond’s Count on Me! is a free PDF that you can access at http://www.morevolunteers.com/CountOnMeeBook.pdf Sunny Fader’s 365 Ideas for Recruiting, Retaining, Motivating, and Rewarding Your Volunteers: A Complete Guide for Nonprofit Organizations provides a book-length, holistic approach to designing and implementing a program that attracts and rewards first-rate volunteers: http://www.amazon.com/Recruiting-Retaining-Motivating-Volunteers-ebook/dp/B003DA45NM
  • 2012 12-05--volunteers

    1. 1. Volunteer Retention 101:Thanking and Rewarding Our SupportersPresenters:Paul Signorelli, &Rick KernerASTD National Advisorsfor ChaptersDecember 5, 20121 pm ET/ am PT 10
    2. 2. ExaminingtheFoundations
    3. 3. Recognition: Integral to All W Do e
    4. 4. Involvement Breeds Engagement
    5. 5. Levels of Engagement
    6. 6. Levels of Engagement
    7. 7. Levels of Engagement
    8. 8. Motivation: Association
    9. 9. Motivation: Association
    10. 10. Motivation: Association
    11. 11. Motivation: Association
    12. 12. Case Study #1:Reinvesting in Your Treasures
    13. 13. Case Study #1:Reinvesting in Your Treasures
    14. 14. Case Study #1:Reinvesting in Your Treasures
    15. 15. Case Study #1:Reinvesting in Your Treasures
    16. 16. Exercise 1: How Have You Re-invested?
    17. 17. Low-Cost, High-Value Efforts
    18. 18. Recognition When? When performance MEETS expectations.
    19. 19. RewardsWhen?When performanceEXCEEDS expectations.
    20. 20. RewardsWhen?When performanceEXCEEDS expectations.
    21. 21. RewardsWhen?When performanceEXCEEDS expectations.
    22. 22. Rewards
    23. 23. Rewards
    24. 24. Rewards
    25. 25. Rewards
    26. 26. Case Study #2:High Value
    27. 27. Case Study #2:High Value
    28. 28. Case Study #2:High Value
    29. 29. Case Study #2:High Value
    30. 30. Exercise 2:W Thanks & Rewards Do You hatOffer?
    31. 31. Inspiration:Leading byExample
    32. 32. Colleagues Thanking Colleagues
    33. 33. Colleagues Thanking Colleagues
    34. 34. Colleagues Thanking Colleagues
    35. 35. Case Study #3:Colleagues Honoring Colleagues
    36. 36. Exercise #3:Next Steps to Sustaining YourProgram
    37. 37. Summary
    38. 38. Summary
    39. 39. Summary
    40. 40. Summary
    41. 41. Summary
    42. 42. Summary
    43. 43. Summary
    44. 44. Summary
    45. 45. Summary
    46. 46. Additional Resourceshttp://www.vrarecycles.org/Portals/0/VA%20Recycling%20Assoc%20Workshop%20Handouts.pdf http://www.morevolunteers.co m/CountOnMeeBook.pdf http://www.amazon.com/Recr uiting-Retaining-Motivating- Volunteers- ebook/dp/B003DA45NM
    47. 47. Questions & Comments
    48. 48. Credits & Acknowledgments (Images taken from flickr.com unless otherwise noted): Ticker Tape Parade: From TedKerwin’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tedkerwin/2245536006/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Building Inspector: From Louiseville SACE’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisvilleusace/5243474161/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Awards: From Scottfidd’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottfidd/2915838606/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Mountain Climbers: From David Domingo’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/_sml/151835570/sizes/m/in/photostream/Mountain Climber: From David Domingo’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/_sml/151835733/sizes/m/in/photostream/Dolphins: FroFm Lowjumpingfrog’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenorton/5643121091/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Dogs: From Anita & Greg’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/anita__greg/3450196460/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Langur Monkey: From Salim Virji’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/salim/19426196/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Michael Merritt at ASTD Chapter Leader Day 2012: From ASTD Chapter Leaders Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150785299831362&set=pb.361298961361.- 2207520000.1354298106&type=3&theater Dollars: From 401(K)12’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355318323/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Dancing in the Street: From AKQP2’s photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/merg/9642009/sizes/m/in/photostream/ ASTD Chapter Leader Day 2012: From ASTD Chapter Leaders Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/chapterleaders/photos_stream Awards: From Scottfidd’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottfidd/2915838606/sizes/m/in/photostream/Eating Cake: From Timefortea3’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/timefortea3/5414385629/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Leading the Way: From Fank209’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/86919628@N00/2961722873/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Asian Development Bank Awards: From Asian Development Bank’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/asiandevelopmentbank/6469538665/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Gourmet Food: From Pochacco20’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pochacco20/2116254906/sizes/m/in/photostream/ On the Path: From Gerald Davison’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gerald- davison/20037015/sizes/m/in/photostream/ Question Marks: From Valerie Everett’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/valeriebb/3006348550/sizes/m/in/photostream/