If you’ve ever wished you had more chamber volunteers, you’re not alone. But how do you get them and how do you keep them? It’s not as difficult as you think if you follow the basics.
Chamber Volunteer Recruitment 101
Publicizing the Need
You’ll never get any chamber volunteers if community members don’t realize you need them. Some people in your community may assume you need to be a member to volunteer. If that isn’t the case, start publicizing the fact that all are welcome as volunteers. Volunteering is a good way for people to get involved on a trial basis to see if it’s something they’d enjoy.
If you currently have a standing ad or editorial with your newspaper, put a plug in there. The demographic you’re hoping to reach (one with lots of time) probably reads the paper. If your local high school has volunteer-hour requirements for graduation (often high school kids want to add hours to their resume for college admission as well), see if you can’t leave something with the guidance office. Retirement villages are also sources of people looking for ways to get involved. Some have vans that could even drive your volunteers over.
Breaking Down the Jobs
There is nothing that turns off volunteers faster than having nothing to do. If you are asking for volunteers you better be ready for them. Some chambers make a list of needs. From ongoing volunteer positions, like answering the phone, to temporary activities like hanging fliers, cataloging your needs is a smart use of resources.
Make an in-depth list of chamber volunteer needs along with the approximate time each task will take. This is helpful to volunteers who have a limited amount of time. It also gives you the upper hand when someone says “I don’t really have the time.” If you have jobs broken down by time required and place (not every job needs to be done at the chamber, some can be accomplished virtually), you can tell your would-be volunteer about a fifteen-minute task you have. You’ll be happy because you’ll have one less job to divvy out, and the volunteer will feel like she helped even with a limited schedule. Plus she’ll be more apt to volunteer again.
Chamber Volunteer Recruitment and Member Recruitment Should Live Under the Same Roof
Often someone will turn you down as a member because “it’s not in the budget.” When this happens, ask them if they’d like to volunteer instead? Sure you’d like to see them join but if you have a need for volunteers why not recruit them for one in the hopes it will lead to the other. If you decide to go this route: make sure you are explicit with what would be required of him/her. A volunteer membership is only effective when the person actually volunteers.