Working with volunteers
Volunteers are the life-blood of any chapter. Learning to recruit, train and most importantly keeping volunteers is essential for a chapter to be successful. GCSAA has collected some ideas and resources to help you strengthen your volunteer base.
Probably the most important thing to understand about recruiting volunteers, is to start at the beginning – why do people volunteer? If you understand their motivations, and can link that up with an opportunity in your chapter, you will find success in recruiting. GCSAA recently conducted an informal survey of superintendent leaders who had volunteered for committee service. When asked why they volunteered, they replied:
- Someone they respected asked them for help
- They felt the need to give back to their chapter/association
- They appreciated the networking and volunteerism provided
Do you have members in your chapter who fall into these categories? Have you reached out to them using the motivation that influences them?
GCSAA also asked the committee members what they perceived as the biggest hurdles to volunteering would be:
- Time away from their golf course and family
- Volunteering and then not being accepted
- Perception that the “powers that be” were cliquish
Probably the most prevalent reason to not volunteer is time commitment. Here are some tips for countering this recruiting pitfall:
- Create volunteer opportunities that take less time – can members volunteer for a task force? Can this task force communicate via email, webcast or teleconference?
- Give specific end dates – today’s volunteer doesn’t necessarily want to be a volunteer for life.
- Are your committees/task groups set up during a particularly busy time of year? Obviously, requiring a lot of time during a superintendent’s peak season isn’t realistic. Nor, should your chapter try to pack too much in around the holiday season, when members will have more familial obligations.
A satisfied volunteer, is a repeat volunteer
How do you get your members to continue volunteering in your chapter? A volunteer leader wants to:
- Know their contribution made a difference
- Be acknowledged for their responsibility
- Succeed at their task!
- Be appreciated
Does your chapter do a good job at showing its appreciation for service? Do you, as a leader, personally thank your volunteers? Keep these tips in mind, and you might be surprised at the results.
Do you have volunteer leaders in your chapter that are ready for the next step? Suggest they volunteer for a GCSAA committee.