Volunteers can have an invaluable positive impact in your HOA. Volunteerism saves your HOA money while creating a sense of true ownership and community pride. However, recruiting volunteers isn’t always an easy task. Here are a few tips to help mobilize your members.
Communicate the need. A common complaint from HOA members is a lack of communication from HOA leaders. If you want to recruit volunteers, you need to keep them informed of what your HOA is doing year-round. By staying in contact with your members, you’ll gain their trust and increase their sense of community.
Break the ice. Many people don’t know their neighbors. To enhance volunteerism, you need to bring these neighbors together. People are simply more likely to help improve a community that they are emotionally invested in. As well, a shy person may hesitate to volunteer, for fear of interacting with new people. If you take away the barrier and stressors of interacting with an unknown group, your members will feel more connected to each other and your community.
Set the example. The board must express a spirit of volunteerism. No one will be inspired to volunteer if they feel that the board is simply pushing off tasks on them. Don’t be boastful, but be sure your members know how much you do for the community. Your work ethic will set the tone for your entire community.
Be well organized. Outline objectives for volunteers from the start. Always give your volunteers clear instructions and be sure they have the resources that they’ll need to succeed. Otherwise, your volunteers will quickly become frustrated and will be less likely to volunteer again. No one wants to follow a leader who has no direction.
Don’t waste their time. Be sure that volunteer meetings have clear agendas so that you can move through all topics quickly. Respect your volunteers’ schedules and offer a variety of projects at different times that work for different people. Offer one-off volunteer projects that do not require ongoing service. Many people hesitate to volunteer because they worry about the time commitment. Don’t overschedule volunteers or they may not see their job through to completion.
Just ask. A face-to-face conversation can go a long way in recruiting volunteers. Be genuine. If you know one of your members has a flair for party planning, approach him/her in person and let them know you are impressed with their talent. Then, ask if they would be comfortable sharing this talent with the community by volunteering to plan the next community party. The worst that can happen is that they say no, and that’s really not so bad. They weren’t volunteering before you asked, so nothing has changed. But, the member will walk away from the conversation knowing that their skills are appreciated, and they may even consider volunteering in the future.
Keep your ear to the ground. Pay attention to what’s happening in your HOA. People are always learning new skills that could benefit your community. New members are a great source for volunteer recruitment. If you keep in touch with your members, you’ll have an easier time matching volunteers to new projects as they arise.
Honor every effort. Volunteers need to hear that their work is not going unnoticed. You don’t need to host a fancy awards banquet to make your volunteers feel appreciated. Honoring your volunteers can be as easy as a simple recognition during regular meetings, or a heartfelt thank you included in HOA communications. Don’t save the recognition for big jobs; make sure that even the smallest tasks are commended.
By engaging your members, being respectful of their time and honoring volunteer contributions, you can help your HOA’s bottom-line and strengthen community morale.