Last week we held our monthly thought leadership webinar where Peggy M. Hoffman, CAE, President and Association Manager for Mariner Management & Marketing presented. Peggy took us on a thought-provoking look at the challenging work of volunteer recruitment for associations with Reimagining the Volunteer Model in Association. The webinar was developed from a whitepaper Peggy and Elizabeth Engel, CAE, MA, of Spark Consulting published, titled The Mission Driven Volunteer.

We all know that membership is the lifeblood that makes associations a viable concern; however, it is the volunteers, often behind the scenes, that fuel the engine that moves our organizations forward. Without them, most associations would fail to get much of anything important accomplished for their members.

We need our continuing education, we need our lobbyists, and yes, we must have our non-dues revenue. But where would we be without our volunteer leaders? While the roles a volunteer fills may, on the surface look the same, the venue where the work is performed has changed. No longer tied to an office or physical event, the virtual world we live and work in offers new ways for people to connect and get involved.

Also, volunteerism has become focused on limited time commitment with quicker results. By that, I mean the days of tying someone up for long periods of time for a project are fading away. I love the way Peggy framed it. She said that members are interested in volunteer opportunities that are “short term” not “jail terms.”

As many organizations work with up to four different generations of members to recruit for volunteer opportunities it is important to remember they think differently, work differently and speak differently, while on their way to the same place. Like totally, for sure! But seriously, they are all dedicated to advancing their profession while they advance their careers.

Peggy and I met back up this week for Episode 7 of Ask the Thought Leader, tackling some of the great questions we were not able to answer during the webinar due to time constraints. We touched on stipends for volunteers, online resources, staff to volunteer ratios and what to do when you have too many volunteers – nice problem to have. Peggy had some very interesting takes on these questions. Please check it out.

And while you’re here, I want to take a moment and invite you to out next webinar with noted author and recognized leader Mary Byers, CAE titled, Breakthrough: A Sure-Fire Process for Busting Through Obstacles and Getting Unstuck. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, October 23rd at Noon ET. We hope to see you there.