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Ten Things Volunteer Managers Can Learn From The Outside World

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Joe Saxton from nfpSynergy delivered the keynote address at AVM 2016, challenging volunteer managers to heed the lessons and good practice examples of other sectors when developing their volunteer engagement practices.

Published in: Recruiting & HR

Ten Things Volunteer Managers Can Learn From The Outside World

  1. 1. Ten things volunteer managers can learn from the outside world Joe Saxton AVM Conference October 2016
  2. 2. 2 Whose got the monkey? Source: Oncken, W., Jr., and Wass, D. L. 1974. Whose Got The Monkey? . Harvard Business Review.
  3. 3. 3 Whose got the monkey? • Think of responsibilities for doing something as like a monkey sitting on your back • The monkey keeps sitting there till you pass it to somebody else (Hey Rachel – could you just look at this report for me and tell me what you think?) • Or you do the task that’s required (finally wrote this presentation for Abi 10 days late: monkey has now disappeared!) • So who has the monkey for making volunteering happen in your organisation? • You or your colleagues? Or the senior management? Or everybody? • The danger is that volunteer managers are hired, so everybody can pass on their ‘we need more volunteers monkeys’!
  4. 4. 4 Learning from failure like an airline Source: Syed, M. 2015. Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success , London: John Murray
  5. 5. 5 Learning from failure in the right way • After every airline accident or major incident an investigation team analyses every aspect in great detail • They publish a report which analyses the incident and makes recommendations • Deaths from airline crashes have decreased massively over the last 50 years even though miles flown have increased dramatically • The airline industry treats failure as a learning experience • Think: learning from every missed target, or every initiative that doesn’t work
  6. 6. 6 Don’t learn from failure like medics Source: Syed, M. 2015. Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success , London: John Murray
  7. 7. 7 Learning from failure in the wrong way • When things go wrong its easy to blame everybody else • Medics are often good at this • ‘There isn’t a problem at all’ • ‘It was the nurses fault’ • ‘If we do more of the same operation we will perfect the technique’ • The legal profession is often the same: Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Central Park Five. • A systematic ability to ignore the evidence • Does your organisation think the right way about failure – or do people assume they know what’s wrong irrespective?
  8. 8. 8 Think about your strategic options for increasing volunteering Source: nfpSynergy. The New Alchemy . March 2015.
  9. 9. A model for strategic-decision making in volunteering development Increase volunteer hours Recruit more volunteer hours Reduce volunteer hours lost Objective 1: Increase hours by increasing no of volunteers Objective 2: Increase hours by increasing the lifetime hours of each volunteer Strategy 1: Increase no recruited by finding more of the same Strategy 2: Increase no recruited by finding new volunteer audiences Objective 3: reduce lapsing volunteers Strategy 6: Reduce volunteers who leave Strategy 3: Keep volunteers for longer Strategy 4: Get volunteers to do more each time Strategy 5: Get volunteers to help more often Strategy 7: Reduce volunteers who do less Product and brand-building activities
  10. 10. 10 Freemium Source: Kumar, M. 2014. Making ‘Freemium’ work . Harvard Business Review.
  11. 11. 11 Freemium • Offering something for free as a taster or basic services in the hope that users will pay for more, or become avid users • Used to be called to be called ‘try before you buy’ or ‘free trial’ and then got a fancy name! • Examples include Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Google, Linkedin, etc • Sometimes its works well: Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter • And other times not so well: who pays for Linkedin Premium? • The key for volunteer managers: how can you offer a volunteer experience that people can use or have a go at before committing? • Think open days or taster days
  12. 12. 12 The ageing population will affect every part of society
  13. 13. Society ages as boomer generation reaches 60s... UK population in 2012 and 2022, by age | Thousands 0-15 +1,358,000 16-26 -698,000 27-38 +1,553,000 39-49 -1,131,000 50-64 +1,508,000 65-89 +1,973,000 0 200 400 600 800 1,000 1,200 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 100 + 2012 2022 The Future Demographic Landscape 90+ +327,000
  14. 14. 14 Frictionless payments Source: Media coverage and continuous online shopping
  15. 15. 15 How do we make it as easy as possible to do something? • The Mayor of London’s recent Pennies for London failed because registering was quite complicated • We live in a world where everything takes less and less effort – who has been put off for registering for something because it needs another password (hence the Twitter, Facebook, Google+ sign ups) • I can buy a product from eBay in about 15 seconds (and give to charity in the process) • So, in a frictionless world how does your volunteer sign up process look? • Frictionless or like wading through treacle? Next day delivery or 28 days?
  16. 16. 16 How do we motivate volunteers? Source: Herzberg, F. 1968. One More Time: How do you motivate employees. Harvard Business Review.
  17. 17. 17 The two factor or hygiene-motivation theory of employee satisfaction • Some things make employees or volunteers motivated and enjoy their jobs or roles: achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement and personal growth. These are called motivation factors • Some things make people unhappy or dissatisfied: crappy managers, poor working conditions, miserable work colleagues, poor pay. These are hygiene factors • The key point is that hygiene factors can make people unhappy, but the lack of them rarely makes people happy at work. That is the job of motivation factors • So how do you manage motivation and hygiene factors for volunteers, particularly when pay and often promotion is not a tool available?
  18. 18. 18 Nudge Volunteers Source: Thaler, R. H. , and Sunstein, C. R. 2009. Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness, London: Penguin
  19. 19. 19 Nudging • Nudging is all the rage, especially in government • The idea is that people can be nudged towards better behaviour • We are now nudging people towards better pension provision through auto-enrolment and opt-out • We can nudge people to organ donation via opt-out not opt-in • Legacy marketing has already used nudging effectively • And US fundraisers have nudged with great effect on the phone (‘We just got a really generous donation of $100 from somebody in [named suburb]’) • How can we nudge volunteers? Total volunteer hours rewards? Certificates for job hunting young volunteers?
  20. 20. 20 When it all goes pear-shaped -remember Epicurus Source: Evans, J. 2013. Philosophy of Life: And other dangerous situations, London: Rider
  21. 21. 21 • At the end of a long hard day • When not everything has gone right • And the volunteers aren’t coming, or your colleagues are dragging you down • And everybody wants miracles on a tiny budget • Remember Epicurus: he said we’re only on this planet for a few years before we disappear, and while we’re here there’s nothing we have to do and there’s no one we have to please • So enjoy Epicurean delights and remember that tomorrow is another day
  22. 22. 22 Any questions?

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