Probably THE key asset to your association is the volunteer corps; and THEIR key asset is their time. So, to use time wisely, and make them value the time they spend with you (or working on association business), here are five tips to maximize the effectiveness of your volunteer interactions, especially in a meeting setting.
- Time is valuable, so don’t waste theirs. If an issue takes five minutes to discuss and decide, don’t give it 15. The more you move it along, the more professional you’ll appear, and the happier your volunteers will be.
- No agenda = no meeting. Just because the “tradition” has been a committee meeting every 60 days doesn’t mean that’s a terrific idea. If there’s no real agenda items to discuss, don’t hold the meeting.
- Use alternatives to in-person meetings when appropriate. If there’s a 20-minute agenda, and your volunteers have to commute that long or longer to get to where the meeting is, utilize technology to eliminate travel and down time. Conference calling and video-conferencing are always winning ideas with busy volunteers.
- Provide adequate “study time.” Getting the agenda item details to your volunteers in a timely fashion allows them proper time to digest the issues and know their decisions are made using the best information available.
- Timing is everything. If your volunteers are “morning” people, consider a breakfast meeting. It accomplishes two tasks at once (eating and meeting), and makes the time together more enjoyable. Time the gathering for what your volunteers like to do, and they’ll enjoy giving you their time.
Remember to send your volunteers a hand-written “thank you” note for their gift of time and talent. That gesture says, “I value you and your time.”