Leadership 2016: Prep now for committed volunteers

Road Through Great Smokies ca. 1980s-1990s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA
cathy-c

Cathy Crossfield, RCE
Executive Director

The holidays are fast approaching and, with them, a new year and new volunteer leaders.

Are you prepared for the change?

And, better yet, are your incoming leaders prepared for the road ahead? Have you given them all the information and training they need to be successful leaders for the association? Have you properly prepared them for the level of commitment they are facing?

Most of us would probably answer in the affirmative. But, more importantly, do your volunteers feel the same way?

Have you ever heard the comment, “I didn’t know this was something I was responsible for,” or perhaps, “No one told me I had to do that”? These are common comments that I bet most of us hear each year.

But the problem is, did we just “hear” the comments — or did we “listen” to the comments? If you’re “hearing” them year after year, then you are obviously not “listening.”

One easy step to make sure that you and your volunteers are on the same page and fully understand the requirements of the position is to write a detailed job description for each volunteer position.”

This is a plaintive cry for help from our volunteer leaders. The one thing that you must remember is that these volunteers have their own lives and job responsibilities as well as association duties to which they have committed. If you are not properly preparing your volunteers, you are doing them, the association and yourself a huge disservice.

One easy step to make sure that you and your volunteers are on the same page and fully understand the requirements of the position is to write a detailed job description for each volunteer position. Be sure to outline all the duties and responsibilities for that role.

Be completely honest about the required time commitment, especially if the position requires travel. You could potentially lose a volunteers if they don’t understand the time commitment. But isn’t it better to realize they can’t fulfill that role now rather than later?

Trust me. Your volunteers will thank you for taking those extra minutes to fully prepare them, and you and the entire leadership team will have a much smoother and successful year.

Here’s to the best year yet!