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According the 2016 Chapter Benchmarking report, associations lean on chapters for member engagement, leadership development, membership recruitment, marketing/communications and local resources – rating these elements as 'absolutely essential' to 'essential' roles. The rub comes in their ratings on effectiveness in those areas - all of which generated a gap between importance and effectiveness.
Why do associations want a mutually-beneficial volunteer relationship? According to ASAE Foundation study, volunteering increases retention and expands organizational capacity. Learn more at the Volunteers: The Air We Breathe session on Sunday, August 14 at 2pm. Peter Houstle, Kevin Whorton, Rick Grimm (NIGP) and Ann Turner (AALAS) join me to share the research and association stories.
It seems that everywhere I look there are subliminal messages supporting major changes to the traditional association chapter model. The latest comes from a blurb I saw in AssociationsNow.com referring to a CMSWire piece that nearly half of all workers tend work in more flexible environments, outside of a traditional office.
I love it when an idea is repeated. For then, we being to analyze (read Joe Rominiecki’s article Chapter Restructuring: A Board’s Most Difficult Job). And then the idea gets intentional thought (read Jamie Notter’s excellent post Engagement: Local vs. National). And finally we get brave enough to act. I’m talking about changing the approach to chapters.
Volunteers for all types of organizations are asking for change - change in how they volunteer, when they can volunteer and where they volunteer. They are asking for flexibility in their volunteering. Organizations that are responding are doing so by re-imaging their volunteer program.
Distributed teams are a common theme for association volunteer leaders as most find they are leading a group of individuals scattered throughout a state, across the US or around the globe. This is counter to what we experience in our regular job. Yes, that is changing, but still few of us have the skill set to match this type of leadership.
One commonality among association volunteer leaders is the nature of the teams they lead: distributed. Leading a distributed team presents challenges that many of us don’t have in our day-to-day jobs (although this is increasingly changing) so it’s a skill we need to help volunteers build. In a training for volunteer leaders on the topic, I offer a key ingredient for success: a commitment to communications.
July is a month of turnovers in association volunteering. This is the time we greet new volunteers to committees, chapters and boards. It’s the time we welcome new committee chairs. Whether it’s July for your association or another month, the question is always “where do we start?” when it comes to preparing our members to take on volunteer roles.
“It’s an embarrassment of riches” is how National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Director of Education Esther Washington described their volunteer pool. As the museum readies for its September 24 opening, Washington is busily preparing their 300-vounteer workforce. There are many amazing elements of this story which offer insight for associations.
On the final day of May with one signature Maryland Governor Larry Hogan rescinded 72 executive orders issued by previous administrations over the last 46 years. My response was “say what?” so I kept reading.
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