As a board member, you know that committed volunteers are the backbone of a community association. From serving on committees and helping at neighborhood gatherings, to sitting on the board of directors, there are various levels of involvement needed to help your community thrive. Here are eight simple ways to assemble a team of volunteers that will want to serve on your association’s board of directors in the future.
1. Promote a positive image of your community.
People like to volunteer in places and for things that make them feel good. To attract volunteers, you should always promote the charm and overall unity of your community in all communications, ads, and websites.
2. Ensure a comfortable environment.
People tend to steer clear of conflict and awkward situations. Residents will be more likely to volunteer in a comfortable environment where they know they'll be treated with respect. It’s hard to be the new person in the group, so always take the time to learn people’s names, welcome visitors with open arms, and let them know they’re appreciated.
3. Stay organized and efficient.
When your community’s board meetings are disorganized, last longer than two hours, or board members show up unprepared, it discourages people from volunteering. If you want residents to volunteer, it's essential to prove that you're efficient and respectful of their time. It helps to always schedule meetings in advance, have an agenda, and prepare for questions ahead of time.
4. Personally reach out.
Don’t wait for volunteers to sign up—actively recruit and reach out to them first. People tend to respond to a personal invitation rather than filling out a form. If you don’t have time to reach out personally, form a welcome committee that can help you.
5. Keep it short-term.
Ask residents if they'd be interested in volunteering for a short-term project, like planning a community event. Short-term involvements help build relationships and make people feel comfortable and connected to the community.
6. Conduct orientations for new residents.
Not all community members understand how the board of directors operates. Hold orientations for new residents to help them get to know their neighbors and understand the community. The more people know, the more likely they’ll be to volunteer.
7. Be open to suggestions.
Don’t immediately dismiss suggestions from new volunteers. If they suggest something that has already been done or didn’t work, provide background information, and work together to find a new solution. People want to be heard and feel like they're making a difference.
8. Recognize volunteers.
Thank and recognize your volunteers and their efforts regularly and publicly. It can be as easy as highlighting achievements at board meetings or hosting a volunteer appreciation event. A little bit goes a long way!
These tips will help you attract new volunteers and keep your regulars coming back again and again. Want more ways to increase homeowner participation in your community? Check out our blog post, “5 Ways to Increase Homeowner Participation in Your Community.”