Just as you cannot climb a mountain by only reading about it, you cannot build a strong association when members are only engaged enough to simply skim the monthly magazine or newsletter. Rather, it is essential to develop leadership opportunities to welcome members to engage with the association. These opportunities are just as important to members’ professional development as they are to the success of the association, as members rely on the opportunities created for them to build networks, strengthen skills, and allow them to contribute to their communities. Read below for more details on how volunteer leadership roles create opportunities for members.
Ask any association member for three reasons they belong to your association. Networking is likely to appear on every person’s list. Whether it is at an association-sponsored event, through a membership program, or by serving in a committee role, networking experiences are a consistently beloved membership feature regardless of industry. Volunteer opportunities provide a clear path for members to build their personal and professional networks by rolling up their sleeves and working alongside fellow industry leaders. Volunteering is a natural ice-breaker and is an outstanding way to meet colleagues by serving a common purpose.
Association leadership opportunities often allow members to gain a new perspective of the association itself by simply being exposed to new elements of the organization. Volunteering with the association can allow your members to brush up on skills in marketing, finance, event planning, government affairs, governance, operations, and more. Even the most polished professionals can learn from spending time with industry peers.
Contribute to the Community
Members are there to associate with one another, to benefit from the power of a group, and to learn. Engaged members are open to sharing their time and talent to better their industries. Remember, not every volunteer leadership experience must be a year-long commitment. Consider creating ‘microvolunteering’ opportunities that are less time-intensive to garner participation from talented members who are not able to commit to a long-term, committee-type role.
As you build your volunteer program, think about how you can create volunteer experiences for your members that help them connect with peers, develop their professional passions, and give back to their communities.
To learn more about leveraging your volunteer program to benefit members and the association, read our eBook, Membership Development in Focus.