In the era of two-career households and jam-packed schedules, where does volunteerism fit it? If you are fortunate enough to have time to volunteer, you are likely to choose a non-profit organization with a mission that fits with your personal philosophy. Rarely, does one think about their HOA as a non-profit that is worthy of their volunteer time and efforts. However, the notion of volunteerism has been a part of American communities going back to barn raisings and quilting bees.
Today volunteerism is an industry. The most successful not-for-profits have extensive systems in place to cultivate and maintain their volunteer ranks. Non-profits leverage the internet and other forms of communication to provide training and information about the needs of the organization and the impact each volunteer has on the lives of others. Regardless of the organization’s mission, professionalism, and the opportunities it provides, if you ask active volunteers why they originally got involved with the group the answer is almost singular, “…because someone asked”.
Here are three tips for building a strong community association which will help attract and retain volunteers:
1. Give homeowners a reason to volunteer. Develop a mission statement that community members can identify with. The mission statement should not be written by the association board members. It should be based on the ideas and input provided by homeowners. Hold a town hall meeting to gather ideas and create the vision for your community. Do you strive to be a desirable place to live? A family friendly neighborhood? Develop a short statement or “tag-line” that can be incorporated into every piece of communication the association sends out. An example might be: “Viewridge – where neighbors work together”.
2. Provide training and education for volunteers. Pretty much everybody enjoys learning something new – so make the volunteer experience rewarding. Expend a small amount of money to join a group like the Community Association Institute. CAI offers books and seminars at discount prices that self-managed community volunteers find invaluable. This small investment is well worth making; as well trained committee volunteers can often be cultivated to serve as future board and committee members.
3. Lastly, no matter how healthy your association is, don’t expect members to flock to volunteer. You will have to ask them. Don’t expect a huge response when you ask for volunteers to step forward at large group meetings, annual meetings or on message boards. The request must be personal, neighbor to neighbor.
Posted on November 16, 2008.
HOA can gain a lot by foster volunteerism.Share