Associations serve as forces of change for their industries and provide members with essential resources to help their careers and businesses thrive. While association staff can manage the day-to-day operations and execute big picture plans, volunteers are the lifeblood of successful organizations. The partnership of association staff – who are experts at managing associations – and volunteers who are experts in their specific industries is essential for continued success.
Here are a few key ways volunteers contribute to the success of an association:
- Provide Industry Knowledge: Volunteers provide insight on the challenges and trends of the industry, therefore guiding association strategy to address key member needs. After all, nobody is more in tune with member needs more than members themselves. Volunteer leaders will let you know where member needs and industry trends align.
- Champion the Association: Peer-to-peer influence is stronger than any marketing campaign. Volunteer leaders serve as liaisons and champions for their association and will help both recruit new members and engage current members. Empower your volunteers to act as ambassadors to their personal networks, where they can make a great impact in bringing in new people to your organization.
- Influence the Industry: Associations seek to influence the industry they are connected to by providing resources and standards and by elevating the professionals that they represent. Volunteers, who are often already involved enough to be industry influencers, play a key role in promoting change. Take advantage of this unique position that volunteer leaders hold and let them be a bridge between your association and its specific sphere of influence.
- Stewards of the Association: Volunteer leaders serve as stewards of their association, ensuring that the organization remains relevant to members and continues to thrive. In partnership with staff, volunteers are responsible for creating strategies that will leave the association better than they found it. Don’t forget to regularly get input from your volunteers to continue to take the pulse of your membership.
April is National Volunteer Month! Be sure to take some time to recognize and appreciate the volunteers that help make your association successful.
On behalf of Raybourn Group International, thank you to all those who take time out of your busy lives to serve your profession through association volunteering. Your time, expertise, and commitment will impact your industry for years to come.