Peggy Hoffman, FASAE, CAE
Peggy Hoffman, FASAE, CAE, is president of Mariner Management in Columbia, Maryland.
In order to address your volunteers’ changing expectations and experiences, associations need a new strategy. Doing will not only benefit volunteers but also organizations.
Some 20 percent of your association’s workforce has been remote all along. However, we haven’t always equipped them with the best technology or tools. While they average 90 hours of work per year, some never get orientation or training. Fortunately, 90 percent are well-educated in their field.
Who is this workforce? It’s your association’s volunteers.
They provide direct labor, which, in many cases, is highly skilled support through leadership, content creation, mentorships, and other high-engagement activities. In other cases, they serve as additional hands-on help at events, make phone calls, or provide other low-commitment services.
We know all of this from the ASAE Research Foundation’s Mutually Beneficial Volunteer Relationships research conducted by Mariner Management and Whorton Marketing & Research in 2016. One of the surprising findings is that volunteers provide 20 percent or more of an association’s labor hours.
Volunteers make up the fabric of today’s associations and are essential as we move forward. This is also evident in ASAE’s ForesightWorks research initiative, which identified 50 drivers of change that will affect the work of association professionals and volunteer leaders.
One of the newest drivers—Volunteering—is dedicated to examining the cultural, demographic, and technological changes that are altering volunteer expectations and experiences. One of the main takeaways: If association want to remain relevant and better engage their volunteers, a new strategy is required.
An effective volunteer strategy will transform how we engage and support our volunteers. The benefits for reigniting our strategy are plentiful:
Transformation of our volunteer systems requires adoption of the traditional human resource management system to volunteer management and rethinking our governance structure. Here are some ideas for getting started:
Remember, the future of volunteering at your association will be bright if you’re willing to take advantage of demographic shifts, technological advancements, and work preferences.