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Trying to figure out what event to plan next? Contact another chapter to see what worked well for them! » Chapter directory

Working with Volunteers

Thank heavens for volunteers because they’re at the CORE of all Chapters. Here are some things to remember when working with your volunteers:

Celebrate
Helping the chapter/branch can involve a lot of hard work and recognizing that work is essential. Here are some ways you can recognize your volunteers: public recognition at a meeting, thanks on a website, a gift of appreciation, certificate, pin, etc. The volunteer will appreciate the acknowledgement and it will motivate other members.

Organize
Running a chapter involves all members, so make sure to involve everyone. Avoid the tendency to rely on the same people—actively involve new members to benefit from diversity and new ideas.

To keep people motivated and feeling included, it’s important that tasks such as lining up speakers, publicity and registration are divided equally among the members. Large tasks may need to be tackled by a few volunteers. Also, get to know your volunteers and find out which tasks interest them.

Allow volunteers to take ownership of their role and to use their creativity in solving problems and issues. Work towards consensus among the volunteers rather than passing down a decision. Recognize that if the volunteer quits, the chapter/branch has lost a potential future leader and you may end up doing their work.

Recruiting
Asking for volunteers at a meeting may not be as effective as a one-on-one request when the committee leader can discuss why a specific volunteer is the best person for the task. Identify the strengths and skills of your volunteers and assign tasks according to that person’s skill set.

  • Friends
  • Referrals
  • University records
  • Faculty/Department instructors, chairs, deans
  • Send an email through the Alumni Office
  • Spread the word at your next event
  • Post a call for volunteers on our York Alumni Facebook or LinkedIn group

Expectations
Family, work, and community activities compete for our time, so it’s important to recognize that some people will be able to commit more time than others. Regardless, you can provide a great volunteer experience through communication and timing.

From the start, be clear about the expectations for the tasks being delegated to ensure everyone is clear about what is needed. Schedule your meetings to accommodate people’s schedules. And talk with any volunteers who have stopped coming to meetings to see if time is a challenge. If someone misses a meeting, touch base with them and give them an update.