Solicitation and motivation of volunteers is the responsibility of the board. The board is selected by the community to make important decisions on financial, legal, administrative and maintenance issues that impact the appearance and property values of the community. Often, board members do not have the skills needed to accomplish all the necessary projects and functions. The board needs to extend this partnership to the members to share in maintaining the community. A board that portrays confidence and is inspirational will have a better chance attracting members to be part of the team. Being part of a successful team with a number of accomplishments under its belt is far more appealing than one that lacks direction and commitment.
To be successful, you must understand the reasons why members volunteer. It can be a social or humanitarian need, educational opportunity for career advancement, personal expression, social conscientiousness, sharing knowledge or simply giving back to the community. The purpose can vary from self interest to the overall mission of protecting property values and enhancing quality of life for the members. No matter the reason, it should be fun. Otherwise, you will alienate your volunteers.
Every community resident can be a potential volunteer, including absentee owners, tenants and new homeowners. Don’t overlook the talents that these individuals have to offer. Recruit them early before they make other commitments. A good way of doing this is through a welcome committee which can provide essential information about the community and surrounding area. This is a way of reaching out to let new residents know that a sense of community exists. Individuals who have a track record of volunteering in public service positions and service organizations and have performed civic duties are good candidates. Let them know you are in need of their help and they might be willing to find the time to serve the community.
More people would likely volunteer if the association advertised their accomplishments. Generally, people need to be appreciated and recognized for their efforts. Individuals often will volunteer for things that interest them. To motivate volunteers, leaders must provide encouragement and the necessary resources and tools for them to accomplish their mission. Clear and reasonable objectives and timelines must be set. Volunteers must be empowered to complete their task without too many restrictions. It is important that the association leaders match volunteers with their interest to ensure their success.
Volunteers provide a significant contribution to the association and should be recognized and acknowledged. A pat on the back, certificates, recognition at the annual meeting or a mention in newsletter go a long way in expressing the gratitude of the association for their time and effort. They deserve it.