We just completed a series of interviews with chapter leaders from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (who by the way are an incredibly passionate and caring group of people!) and heard a very similar lament: it's harder and harder to find volunteers who will serve on the local board. One leader indicated that her chapter had recently changed the term from 2 to 1 years in response. Another said that they tell members it's one position – you don’t have to go through all positions. These steps have helped. Are these reassurances enough? No. We all have to take one critical additional step and connect the volunteer experience to a measurable outcome. What appears to missing in our pleas are the stories of how a volunteer experience made a huge difference. Why can the American Red Cross local chapter get volunteers and your association chapter can’t? In the part the answers lies in the success story the American Red Cross can show – in pictures, letters of thanks, on YouTube. A second thing missing is a clearly defined job – and options. I love what the Surfrider Foundation did in its “Volunteering Menu Book” and how it makes finding my local chapter so easy. The foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. I’ve found two more traditional associations that model this approach: AARP and Oncology Nursing Society. How are your chapters telling their story? ASAE & The Center’s study Decision To Volunteer offers more concrete recommendations to help us fill in what’s missing in our call for volunteers.
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