Here’s the secret to successfully attracting and nurturing volunteers or new club members, according to author Jill Fox: “Pull a Henry.”
The “Henry” in this case refers to Henry Ford, the Ford Motor Co. founder who is credited with developing the assembly-line technique of mass production – in his case, producing automobiles.
You don’t need to know much about cars to be great at recruiting and developing volunteers. But like Henry Ford you need to have a system, an “infrastructure,” says Fox. And, you need to be successful with all of the necessary steps, which are:
- Build the Team
These are steps that Fox shared April 27 with leaders of local nonprofits and civic organizations as part of The GIVE Gathering volunteer fair and volunteer-management training held by the Foundation and Eden Prairie Schools’ Community Education.
About 100 people attended this first-time event, where more than two dozen clubs and nonprofits shared volunteer opportunities with the public. During the evening event, about 18 leaders gathered with Fox in a classroom to learn the “best practices” of attracting and developing new people – either nonprofit volunteers or new club members.
In addition to growing Wooddale Church’s army of volunteers while there, Fox has also co-authored two books on volunteering. Now a pastor at Westwood Community Church, she also serves as a consultant to churches and other organizations looking to build their volunteer programs.
Among the other nuggets of advice shared April 27 by Fox:
- “You get the best volunteers from who you know.” In other words, tap your networks for people who have interests like yours.
- Tell your organization’s impactful stories of success in order to get people interested.
- Shadow your new people through training or orientation – and beyond – to make sure they’re comfortable in their new roles.
- Know each new person’s skills and strengths, and match them to projects accordingly.
- Celebrate the accomplishments of your newest people, and let them know they’re appreciated. They’re more likely to stick around.
- Finally, use your new volunteers and club members to work yourself out of a job … the best leaders do!
The Foundation is proud to have played a part in organizing The GIVE Gathering, and we thank Jenni Ebert and Julie Menk of Community Education for helping make it happen.
Watch for another GIVE Gathering in 2018!