Thursday, October 20, 2011

Volunteer Acceleration Curve

I have been tardy in my blogging due to....2012 annual planning.  I know - not the best excuse, but within the plans emerged an idea for a post.

One of the components I am building into my plans for the coming year is a Volunteer Acceleration Curve.  This is built off of the idea that C. David Gammel presents as an Engagement Acceleration Curve.  Gammel's curve constructs a model where associations can incorporate their activities, products, offerings and involvement opportunities in a single measure that runs from low-value/commitment to high-value commitment.  For associations who are trying to connect the dots of offerings and opportunities and the united value they connote, this is a great strategy to take.

One of the goals for the coming year that I am tackling is to help our chapters with their ongoing problem of not enough volunteers, and volunteer burnout.  For many of our chapters their leadership structure looks like this:

A small number of opportunities with the vast majority of responsibilities falling on a few volunteers.  For new volunteers who want to get involved, moving straight into this kind of job is overwhelming - no wonder it is difficult to find new blood!

Instead for the coming year this is what I am presenting to our chapters:

In this model there are a large number of bite sized volunteer opportunities that are always available.  When someone new comes into the chapter, they are asked if they would like help stuff badges, or perhaps they would be willing to help with registration.  A small task - no big commitment, and no previous knowledge needed.  The concept is that once a volunteer has a positive experience with these smaller opportunities they will want to get more involved - perhaps with aspects of planning a program.  From there they can join a committee to take on a larger task and may eventually become an officer or the chair.

Not everyone will go the full length of this path - and that is okay.  The goal here is not to have everyone be chair, but to provide a way that anyone can become involved.  This path gives time for leadership training and to learn more about the community.

We will see how it turns out - but I am confident that it can help with volunteer burnout, and getting more hands on deck to help with leadership roles.