There are volunteers, and then there are volunteers.
Our community has great causes and great needs that can only be addressed by great volunteers. Being average and offering to put in time on occasion is not the way to create sustainable and deep impact.
Last week, Michael Lindenmayer wrote an article for Forbes that hit the nail on the head. It was called 7 Traits of Amazing Volunteers. Here is his list.
• Amazing volunteers are “results driven.” My question to volunteer managers is, do we evaluate what we do in such a way that we can share our results?
• Amazing volunteers exhibit “passionate professionalism.” Do we draw the best out of people by supporting their skills and experience, setting standards and trusting their passion?
• Amazing volunteers have a “collaborative tribal mindset.” I mentioned trust. Are we as volunteer managers willing to engage a sense of team where excellence in partnerships might develop in ways we originally did not foresee?
• Amazing volunteers “make no excuses.” Do we set out expectations so that volunteers know what is required? Do we expect follow through? Do we provide ways they can find their own replacements when necessary?
• Amazing volunteers are “constant champions.” Do we give volunteers enough information so that they can talk intelligently about our organizations even when off duty?
Are their volunteer experiences with us satisfying so they want to brag about our joint work? Do we ask them to share through their social media networks?
• Amazing volunteers are “energizers.” Do we value their contribution, support their enthusiasm, allow them to have fun and let them know how they have built us up?
• Amazing volunteers are “a match.” Do we help people recognize their contribution to others so they can focus on that, instead of themselves?
We all want to be and to recruit amazing volunteers. Volunteer managers have a definite role in making that happen.