Moths give off “pheromones”, a scent that attracts mates from many miles away. Oh, that it were so easy to attract volunteers at a homeowner association. Just spritz a bit of Eau de Volunteer about and stand back! So what does it really take to attract good volunteers? Here are a couple of suggestions:
Develop a communication system.
A frequent complaint of members is not being kept informed. To draw out volunteers, it’s critical that they know what’s going on. Also, some members develop a suspicious nature about board motives when kept in the dark. Suspicion breeds volunteer resistance. The board should strive to do business transparently. Let them know what you’re up to early and often! A newsletter and flyer distribution box (the kind used by real estate agents) is an inexpensive and convenient way to get the word out. Email is free.
Give credit where credit is due.
People love recognition.
Make sure that directors, committee members and volunteers are given formal recognition for their efforts at meetings, in the minutes and newsletters…every opportunity where there is an audience. Seek out particular members that show superior abilities. Award certificates of achievement at the annual meeting.
Provide social opportunities.
People tend to want to help those that they know personally. However, many are shy and don’t make friends easily. The HOA can promote several social events each year to facilitate the process. Consider a spring clean-up party, pool party or just plain old potluck. It will help create real “community”.
Assign real jobs to do.
It’s been said, “A committee takes minutes and wastes hours.” There is nothing more frustrating than a job with no substance. There is real work to do at each homeowner association. Directors and committee members should have clear marching orders detailing exactly what the objectives are, the time frame and the money available to help get the task done.
Have meetings scheduled well in advance. Have a proper agenda, run the meeting in a businesslike way and limit your meetings to two hours. Save cocktails, if any, until after the meeting to avoid endless rambling meetings which are a real turnoff to successful people (the kind you want as volunteers). Your meetings should be decision oriented so things get done.
Be an encourager.
It is incumbent on the board to take the lead in promoting volunteers. The successful leader motivates by persuasion and not authority. A servant leader does not lower himself but elevates others.
Since common scents don’t work with humans like they do in the animal world, use common sense by making the volunteer position too attractive to resist….like a moth to a flame.
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