Volunteers: Driving Association Success

The number of volunteers you have and how active they are establishes the bounds of what your organization can accomplish. But volunteering isn’t a member obligation – it’s a member benefit.


What makes associations successful is members who are so passionate about the mission that they’re willing to donate their time and talents toward making us a success. In most cases, the extent of what our associations can accomplish is based on the volunteer pool we have to get things done. We know we need volunteers to accomplish the goals of the association, but having productive volunteers is rarely its own goal.

Establish KPIs for volunteer engagement

One key performance indicator should be what percentage of our membership participates in a volunteer capacity. By tracking it and putting an emphasis on volunteer participation, you are:

  • working toward increasing your organization’s capacity;
  • increasing your members’ commitment toward the association’s goals; and
  • providing opportunities to have an impact on a goal the members care about.
Volunteering is a member benefit

This shouldn’t be something you need to twist someone’s arm to do – it’s an opportunity and benefit of membership. So how do we increase our number of active volunteers?

The major factors for why members don’t volunteer are lack of information and bad communication.

  • Do your members know what your volunteer opportunities are? How are you communicating those opportunities?
  • Can you describe what the task entails?
  • Do you have opportunities for different skill sets so you take advantage of all potential volunteers?
  • How much time will various opportunities take? Are there opportunities for different levels of engagement?
Don’t settle 

Volunteer recruitment must be a constant effort. While it may be easier in the short run to do things yourself, what you can accomplish in the long run will be limited by a small volunteer pool. Make it a goal to get more people involved and your volunteers will grow your association.

Learn more about making the most of your volunteer “workforce” with this RGI webinar on volunteer management.