Motivating volunteers is the work of patience. Encouraging words, thoughtful goals, and kind reciprocation can make volunteering fun and meaningful. While motivating volunteers can take weeks, months and years, a few seconds is all we need to demotivate volunteers.
Volunteers can become disillusioned, angry, and disconnected when associations:
- Blame them
- Fail to give thanks
- Assign meaningless work
- Give unclear goals or direction
- Do not use the work they produced
- Switch goals or direction mid-project
- Underestimate the time commitment
- Try to sell them something they don’t need
- Mess up the administration of the meetings
- Restrain volunteer team members from forming relationships
If your association relies on board members, chapter leaders, committee members, writers, speakers, mentors, and other volunteers make sure the association is not accidentally demotivating volunteers.
Amanda Kaiser is a member engagement specialist for the association community. Amanda writes a popular weekly blog at SmoothThePath.net.