Bill Hybels just gave an impacting talk at The Leadership Summit on increasing volunteerism in your organization. Here are some of the qualities that strong volunteer based organizations value and are very intentional about cultivating:
1. They have a culture of leadership development. These organizations have a “we need you” attitude.
2. They know how to ask. These organizations have learned how to ask for a big commitment. They cast bold vision and make big asks.
3. They ask questions. They find out what people feel passionate about and do their best to plug them into an area where they will thrive.
4. They recognize capacity levels. There are high capacity volunteers and low capacity volunteers. If you try to plug a high capacity volunteer into a low capacity challenge, they will not connect well and probably won’t be interested in volunteering again. It goes the same way for placing low capacity volunteers into a high capacity spot. Part of our jobs as leaders is to identify who fits in what category. A person’s availability has a lot to do with what capacity of a volunteer they are able to function in.
5. They recognize and cultivate the principle of community. Volunteer positions need to be designed so that people find friends and connect with others.
6. They keep the vision of the organization tied into the specific role of the volunteer.
7. Commendation is common place. When a volunteer serving for the right reasons gets commendation, it is sweet. We need to be thanking machines. Roll out the red carpet, treat them well. It’s not why they serve, but it makes the serving a lot better.