In speaking to other young professionals who have spent time volunteering on boards, committees or an executive, almost all have run into the same problems time and time again; there is not enough capacity to deliver objectives; members are busy; there often is a scramble for extra volunteers at the last minute. In a perfect world, anyone who becomes involved in an organization at a governance level also has the time to commit to board activities, however; life gets busy and often things fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast and alternative tactics can be employed to ensure continuous growth of the organization or group.
For those who tirelessly work in order to keep the magic happening, time may be better spent by trying to engage individuals from the general membership in order to share the workload rather than an active board member potentially “burning-out”. Here are some quick tips on how to engage members to add capacity to an already strapped board of volunteers:
- Create subcommittees – offer a volunteer opportunity to your membership through the creation of subcommittees. Whether it be planning an event or helping with the review of your YPN’s bylaws, there are strengths and resources in your membership and many members are happy to help and get involved. Subcommittees increase your capacity and offer volunteer opportunities to members which are priorities for most YPNs. Win-win.
- Give it away! – Encourage members to make their volunteer experience their own. By incorporating simple accountability practices, members have the tools to ensure progress of their project. Accountability also offers ownership of a project. Allowing time on board agendas for subcommittee updates promotes leadership and gives members the opportunity to make their initiatives their own while contributing to the YPN as a whole.
- Recognize – If your YPN is fortunate enough to have members who are willing to step up to the plate and pitch in when needed, it is important that those members are recognized. Whether it is through a short speech at your AGM, or through a formal award, volunteers are an excellent resource, so it’s best to ensure those individuals feel valued and stick around for next year.
- Offer more – An engaged member is a valuable one. Encourage them to become even more involved by letting them know how to run for a seat on the executive or mentor them for other governance opportunities (e.g. YPNO).
An engaged membership is a great membership. Offering volunteer opportunities to members increases capacity, but more importantly, shows commitment to helping young professionals reach their full potential through hands-on experience. Opening the doors to the boardroom encourages dialogue for new ideas, partnerships and promotes lasting memberships.
Communication Director, YPNO