Mobilizing Active Members for Leadership Positions

  1. Define what you expect in terms of participation and leadership roles.
    • Meetings, projects and committee participation - required, desired?
    • Specific hours?
    • Specific programs?

  2. Consider establishing volunteer job descriptions. Think about:
    • Both continuous, on-going assignments and also short-term and one-time work projects.
    • Things individual volunteers can do, and also what teams of two or three volunteers or larger groups of people can do. This may even include families volunteering as a unit or such concepts as "job sharing."

  3. Involving New Members
    • Time your meetings properly. Make sure it is possible for new members to come to your meetings. Strive for "ease of participation" because people will probably become involved with the group that makes it most convenient to attend.
    • Consider appointing a few volunteers as designated hosts/greeters at all meetings and functions. The host greets and introduces the new person to current volunteers within the club, provides additional information about the club and encourages them to attend a future meeting or event.
    • Obtain information on new/potential members - perhaps by getting them to complete a profile or interest form.
    • Create a "mentor system." Mentor systems work off the buddy principle in which each new member is teamed with a more experienced member. The senior member is expected to get to know the new member, invite them to participate, and determine the best way the new member can get involved in the club.

  4. Developing your club leaders.
    • Honor leadership, not always "do-ership."
    • Consider developing a leadership committee to gather membership profile data, update volunteer job descriptions and develop recognition ideas.
    • Think about the manner in which you ask people to fill leadership positions- For instance, you wouldn't want to say "who wants to be President next year?"

  5. What sends people out of organizations?
    • Poor use of time - not serving in a role that is pleasurable for them
    • Poor leadership and organizational skills
    • Friends leave
    • Only a handful of people do the work of the organization -No one new is asked to get involved in projects, programs, events
    • No appreciation or recognition
    • Stagnant
    • And on and on……..

As seen in the California Alumni Association's Online Resource Leadership Center. Originally appearing in The Non-Profit Resource Center, Betty Stallings, 1995