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Association Best Practices, Repeat Volunteers, Empathy Maps and More

Lori Halley 11 July 2014 0 comments

Is your ED or Board Chair trying to do it all alone? Have you challenged any association best practices lately? What motivates repeat volunteers? Have you tried empathy maps?

This week’s link love Friday round-up offers 5 posts with insight to help answer those questions and many more.

Here’s a taste of some of the freshest non-profit and membership posts that we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam this week.

Dear executive director: Don’t do it all yourself! 

Bill Kennedy (Hilborn Charity eNEWS) tells us:

The executive director: someone who does whatever is necessary to deliver the organization’s programs, but doesn’t do it all themselves.  When I saw an executive director cutting up raw vegetables an hour before the organization’s Annual General Meeting, I knew I had to write this article.

… You attend the official meetings with the board, the executive, the sub-committees, task groups and retreats. You chair the management meetings. You give tours to visitors and explanations to prospective donors. … Occasionally you take time off to be with your family, but even when you are on vacation, you leave instructions about how you can be reached. 

This problem is wide spread. You are not alone, so take a deep breath and realize that you can’t do it all.  It’s time to step out of the picture and re-strategize. 

You need volunteers!

Kennedy offers some tips to help you prepare for and attract volunteers.

Survey:  What Motivates People to Become Repeat Volunteers? 

Janna Finch (The Able Altruist) reports:

Twenty-five percent of American adults volunteer, but that number is at a 10-year low—putting extra strain on the 85 percent of nonprofits that rely exclusively on volunteer staff to manage the services constituents depend on. For this reason, it’s more important than ever that nonprofits figure out the best ways to attract and retain volunteers.

In our 2013 profile of the Red Cross, we described several methods three large nonprofits use to reduce volunteer churn. We wondered what other incentives nonprofits could offer to encourage repeat volunteering. To find out, we asked a random sample of 3,020 U.S. adults what incentives they thought would be most motivating.

However, 59 percent of respondents said that none of the choices provided would motivate them to commit to multiple volunteering engagements. So, this report focuses on the responses of the 41 percent who did share a preference. Here’s what we found.

Finch offers insight such as that “Convenient Scheduling” and “Proof of Impact” are top incentives for repeat volunteers and that “testimonials from beneficiaries are highly motivating.”

Who will create the Fosbury Flop for Associations?

Steve Drake (SCD Group) tells us:

Prior to 1965, the "best practice" in the high jump track & field event was the straddle jump.

Then, along came Dick Fosbury.

… Fosbury ignored the old best practice for high jumping and created what became known as the Fosbury Flop. He first used it in 1965. Then he won the gold medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics.

The rest is history. The flop became the dominant style of the event and remains so today. In fact, this new “best practice” for the high jump is so dominant most people no longer call it the Fosbury Flop.

…It seems as though associations are in the position that Dick Fosbury and high jumpers were in back in the mid 1960s.

Drake offers three suggestions for association leaders who want to experiment with new ways of doing association work.

Using Empathy Mapping To Create Conference Target Market Personas

Jeff Hurt (Velvet Chainsaw’s Midcourse Corrections) suggests:

We could all use a little more empathy…and a little less yelling!

And your organization could definitely cultivate more empathetic team members who help plan and design your conference and education offerings.

Hurt suggests that using empathy mapping to help you in “identifying and describing the top three to five target markets for your conference is critical to your conference success.” If you haven't heard of empathy mapping, check it out, since it has implications for member recruitment and engagement, as well as events.

8 Ways to Make Social Media Matter

In a post on the Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Nancy Schwartz (GettingAttention.org) notes:


You feel it. I feel it. Every nonprofit communicator and fundraiser out there feels it. Social media pressure, that is.

Whether the source of this anxiety (Am I keeping up? Do I have a billion Facebook likes or Twitter followers? Is my Instagram strategy driving action?) is your immediate boss, board chair, or colleague in programs, it’s there. The pressure to generate a social media miracle.

Nancy offers 8 helpful tips to help “boost marketing and fundraising impact,” and “deflate that pressure.”

That’s it for this week’s link round-up - want more non-profit and membership links? 

That was just a taste of some of the membership and non-profit posts and articles we’ve bookmarked on Apricot Jam lately. For more, you can check out the latest posts on topics such as: Membership, Volunteers, Communications, Events, Social Media, Leadership and Fundraising.

You can also find additional articles and guides on non-profit and membership topics in our Membership Knowledge Hub.

Image source:  Bicycle chain heart - courtesy BigStockPhoto.com

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 11 July 2014 at 9:24 AM
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