Moths give off “pheronomes, a peculiar scent that attracts mates from many miles away. Oh, that it were so easy to attract volunteers to the Board. Just spritz some Eau de Volunteer in the air and Nellie bar the door! Okay, that won’t work because it’s neutralized by TV waves but what does it take to attract good volunteers? Here are a couple of suggestions:
Develop a communication system.
A frequent complaint of members is not being kept informed. To draw out volunteers, it’s critical that they know what’s going on. Also, some owners develop a suspicious nature about Board motives when kept in the dark and resist being involved. Let’em know what you’re up to early and often! Repeated pleas for help will have their effect. A newsletter and flyer distribution box (the kind used by real estate agents) is an inexpensive and convenient way to get the word out.
Give credit where credit is due.
People love acknowledgment. Make sure that directors, committee members and homeowners are given formal recognition for their efforts by way of the meetings, the minutes and newsletters...every opportunity where there is an audience. Point out particular owners that show superior landscaping abilities. (They are obvious candidates for the Landscape Committee.) Consider awarding certificates of achievement at the annual homeowners meeting. Remember also that not all tasks have an end and many faithful volunteers doing more mundane tasks often get overlooked. It is a wise board president that makes a point of recognizing effort for its own merits.
Provide social opportunities.
People tend to want to help those that they know personally. However, many are shy and don’t easily make friends. The association can promote several socials annually to facilitate the process. Consider a spring clean-up party, pool party or just plain potluck. It will help create a real "community".
Assign real jobs to do.
It’s been said, "A committee takes minutes and wastes hours." There is nothing more frustrating than a job with no job description or substance. There is real work to do at each association. Directors and committee members should have clear "marching orders" detailing exactly what the objectives are, the time frame and the money available to help get the task done.
Have meetings scheduled well in advance. Have a proper agenda, run the meeting in a businesslike way (save the wine until afterwards) and limit your meetings to two hours. Endless rambling meetings are a real turnoff to successful people (the kind you want as volunteers). Your meetings should be decision oriented so things get done.
Be an encourager.
It is incumbent on the board president to take the lead in promoting volunteers. The successful leader motivates by persuasion and not authority. Remember, "A servant does not lower himself but elevates others".
Since uncommon scents don’t work, use common sense by making the volunteer position too attractive to resist....like a moth to a flame. For more techniques in attracting volunteers, .