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Making the Most of Your Members’ Talents – Friday Fix

by | Oct 21, 2011 | Industry News & Trends

Your members are more than just a name in a database. They have quirks and talents. Just looking at the community that is our office we have several band members, a wood turner, an artist, a knitter, a writer and many more talented people. Centuries ago communities (domestic communities not online communities) used the talents of their members for the betterment of the whole. If a schoolhouse was needed, those with carpentry skills were asked to help. Their investment in their community became not only a source of pride but of referral business.

In today’s associations, you can’t really expect people to give you free professional services (or can you?) but you can use their talents/hobbies to fill organizational needs. For instance, instead of paying an outside voice-over actor to narrate your association’s digital story, you could use a voice from your staff or membership. This kind of “volunteering” does two things – it taps into the strengths of your members and it showcases their skills to a large community. Plus people are more apt to volunteer again if it’s something they enjoy doing.

As wonderful as it is to have member contributions, make sure you don’t undervalue your members’ talents. Not every writer wants to write for free. If you’re asking them to do something without compensation make sure you are clear that you are asking for volunteers and it’s their skill and talent that brought you to them. At no time should you suggest “I know you like to write so would you do this?” They are doing you a favor, make sure you are appreciative of their efforts as well as their talent.

A final thought, when you ask your members to lend their talents it shows you appreciate them/their talents. Find out what these talents are through something other than a massive cattle-call announcement at your next meeting. Invest some time on social media and find out what drives them. Sometimes it’s as easy as reading their Twitter bio to find out what they enjoy. Imagine their surprise and delight when you approach them, idea in hand, with the social media research you’ve done. They will feel valued and necessary.


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