Working on fundraisers and community service events is a great way to network. Serving on a Board of Directors or an association committee is a great way to gain a reputation for being a hard worker and to let people get to know you and your business. Plus, it makes you feel good to help others!
I recently read Guy Kawasaki's new book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. A section of his book is called "How to Enchant Volunteers." As a long-time community volunteer who has had my share of good and bad experiences, I loved what he had to say. He lists 8 rules of enchantment for volunteers. Here are my favorites:
- Set ambitious goals. Volunteers want to know what they are doing is important and that they are making a difference. Set challenging goals so you don't waste their time. The only thing worse that overusing volunteers is underusing them. Amen to that!!
- Enable them to fulfill their needs. Why did you join a nonprofit organization? I joined Junior League so I could meet other women who liked to volunteer. I joined a trade association when I worked for an elevator company so I could meet potential customers and hang out with existing customers. I volunteered at my church because I felt an obligation to help. Reasons that people join nonprofit organizations are: duty (I should help at my kid's school), belonging (I want to be part of a group with similar jobs or values) or mastery (I want to learn a new skill). Fulfill these needs to enchant volunteers.
- Give feedback. This is especially important with volunteers because they aren't receiving money as a feedback mechanism. Let your volunteers know how they are doing and recognize them for the hard work they are providing.
- Ensure the paid staff appreciates them. Volunteers often give their heart and soul to organizations. Be sure your paid staff honors their commitment.