As a result of COVID-19, we are seeing retail stores and restaurants close, artists postpone concerts, and large events such as festivals cancelling. What should you do about a conference you may have scheduled for next month, or even three months from now? Vicki Thein, Director of Events at Ewald Consulting, has a few thoughts on what to consider before cancelling your conference:
1. What does the venue contract say? Carefully review the terms of your contract with the venue. Check to see if force majeure applies and what it covers. If it does not apply, determine the costs of cancelling and if those funds could be applied toward a future event. Additionally, closely monitor the conditions of the venue location and try to get a sense of how many attendees may cancel in order to help you state your case to the venue if needed.
2. What do your vendor contracts say? Like venue contracts, review contracts with your vendors. See if force majeure applies, the costs if it does not and if they could give you credit in the event of a cancellation. The flexibility on cancellations with vendors will vary, so be sure to look at each contract closely.
3. Is there cancellation insurance? If you have cancellation insurance, get in contact with your insurance agent as soon as you can as they are very likely becoming overloaded with similar requests.
4. Are you able to distribute the content virtually? Are there opportunities for your conference material to be put into a virtual conference, podcasts, or other forms of content? Brainstorm what this might look like and if you think it could be successful.
5. Financial considerations Can your organization afford to go without a conference this year? This will be a major factor in your decision. Considering alternative conference options like the ones mentioned above could provide potential sources of revenue.
When building or assessing your board, it helps to understand what to look for in board members. Board members with the following traits help keep meetings on task and more engaging.
They possess the right context Forbes states that there are four key areas of knowledge: industry, business model, stage of growth and a specific field of function (sales, marketing, etc.). Board members who have knowledge in each of these areas can offer better insight.
They understand how to communicate This one may seem obvious but having the ability to communicate with others is an essential trait in a board member. This is not just having the courage to speak up when needed, but also the ability to thoughtfully listen to others and respectfully respond.
They have a positive outlook Jay Love, the co-founder of Bloomerang, a non-profit software company, stated that the heart of the board often is not the most knowledgeable. He believes having a positive spirit is contagious and will help move your organization forward.
They have a deep passion for the organization According to Love, passion is more important than knowledge. A board member who is constantly rooting for the organization and pondering how it can be better is far more valuable than the person who knows everything about the organization but can’t commit wholeheartedly. There is no use in recruiting a great player if they do not want to be on your team.
They want to learn more A great board member is aware that they do not know everything. For them, working with others is an opportunity to grow and they are eager to take advantage of trainings and professional development opportunities.
Heidi Christianson, shareholder and firm president at Nilan Johnson Lewis, recently gave a presentation for Ewald Consulting staff on the top legal issues pertaining to non-profit associations that her law firm handled during 2019. Here is a short recap.
Certification Many associations provide certification programs and/or certificate courses, offering specialized education for members and others. Heidi reported that there has been an increased focus recently on international standards, especially ISO. It is helpful if associations can demonstrate separation between the testing and educational aspects of a certification program. In marketing education programs, the association should not imply that people will perform better on a certification exam by taking courses offered by the association. It is also helpful for an association to have a process for any complaints about the certification program.
Member Demand for Special Meeting Generally, if at least 50 members or 10 percent of the total membership of an association request a special meeting, the association must call a meeting of the members, even if the members request successive meetings. Obviously, holding member meetings requires the commitment of significant cost and time on behalf of staff and the board of directors. Heidi recommends that when member concerns arise, associations set up listening sessions with members rather than trying to shut them down or writing them off as disgruntled. Many times, special member meeting involve perceived conflicts of interest or appearances of unfair benefit within the association. Listening sessions and transparent communication with members can sometimes head off larger-scale member demands. Association staff and leaders should be aware of bylaws provisions regarding special meetings.
Antitrust Concerns It sometimes happens that one or more association members demand that another member (a competitor) not be allowed to exhibit, sponsor and/or advertise with the organization. Heidi stresses that all members (and non-members) should be treated fairly. Unless a member company has violated a law or regulation (and the association has some type of hard evidence that the law or regulation has been violated), the association should allow that entity the ability to advertise, exhibit or sponsor. It’s OK to charge more for non-members, within reason. Denying a member company the ability to advertise with an association probably would not rise to the level of impeding the ability to do business. Association boards should be cognizant of antitrust issues, and thoughtful about when an association’s decisions may impact a member’s ability to compete in the market.
Please note that the information provided here does not constitute legal advice; please consult with your own legal counsel on your specific situation.
The issue, as anyone who has served on a board or managed a board can tell you, is that most board meetings are boring and ineffective. They tend to focus on reporting instead of using their time to discuss important matters and to make effective decisions. The International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals (IARP) is no different, with five different sections and several committees that all want to ensure their work toward ongoing objectives is shared with the other board members. As a result, this reporting took approximately three-quarters of each meeting—leaving little time to work together to solve issues or to further develop their strategic plans.
The leadership and staff spent a great deal of time discussing how to more effectively use staff and volunteer time before, during and after board meetings; so in June 2018, they began utilizing a standard report template that each board member would upload onto their Higher Logic folder/file system. A file system had been built within their Board of Directors folder system with a folder for each board meeting and within those, folders for an agenda, board reports, financials as well as additional items. Each month, a reminder email would be sent to the board 5-7 days prior to the meeting that included the directions on how to upload the file. This process has worked extremely well and has saved staff many hours working to obtain, compile and deliver board reports. This process was well received and has had very positive feedback
With the standard report process in place, the leadership decided to take things a step further and proceeded to re-organize their board agenda. In June 2019, they eliminated reporting items and requested from board members agenda items that would drive discussions. They worked with staff to build a new agenda template and new processes which included requiring board members to read through all of the uploaded reports prior to each meeting to be prepared.
The first step that was implemented involved staff working with the board to establish a roll-out timeline to coincide with one of IARP’s three in-person board meetings where a full explanation of the reasoning could be shared, and a complete review of the materials and processes would be communicated. The reason for the in-person explanation and directive was to ensure that each board member understood the purpose and the new process, which would then lead to greater participation.
The second step included developing thorough explanations and directions for the new process and tools. Many board members were unsure about their ability to work within the new system—but with consistent messaging and patient assistance, we have been able to ease them into the new process. We have worked closely with our volunteers for the first few months to coach them how to think differently and to establish timelines and consistent directives.
The final process included a reminder email sent by staff 5-7 days prior to each board meeting. The reminder included directions on how to upload their reports as well as a request for discussion/decision agenda items no less than 3 days prior to the board meeting so the agenda could be uploaded with plenty of time for review.
As a result of implementing this new agenda, the IARP board meetings now consist of meaningful dialogue and effective decision making. We have received very positive feedback as the board has been able to focus more time on strategic plans, future objectives and necessary discussions/decisions. They have seen less wasted time and consequently feel more involved and capable of leading others.
To manage ongoing effectiveness, the board will assess the process annually and will correct course as necessary.
You keep hearing the phrase “content hub”, in articles and maybe even from your marketing communications team, but what is the hullabaloo about, isn’t it just a library? The answer is yes, and no. First things first. What exactly is a content hub?
According to Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel Digital, “A content hub is a destination where website visitors can find branded, curated, social media, user generated, or any type of content related to a topic.”
Content Hubs are a great way to manage all your phenomenal content in a user-friendly manner. A well-designed content hub can neatly and aesthetically display your cumulative pieces in one location. They help you avoid the headache of multi-located content such as training videos only on YouTube, blogs on your WordPress site, and articles residing only in your journal or newsletter. Through content hubs, all these rich pieces that represent your brand become accessible in a single place!
How is this different from a website? A website contains all the information a user may need to know about your brand and organization, including specific calls to action. A content hub is a resource area of a website, a one-stop shop to finding articles and media regarding a specific topic or by topic area. It’s also more encompassing than a blog, because there are multiple authors and different media formats, including articles, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and videos.
Ewald Consulting is also working on content hub strategies and launches with our nonprofit clients using different technology platforms. We will be expanding our content hubs across our clients to better share resources, thought-leader articles, blog posts, enews, webinars, video, discussion forums and more.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what a content hub is, let’s talk about the benefits of having one.
You work hard on the content that represents your brand. We have learned in past blog posts that carefully curated and tailored content communicates to your target audience that you are a thought leader in your industry. A content hub strengthens your brand, identity, and your authority in the field. By focusing on topics, your site becomes more relevant in search engines.
Building Connections and Engagement
It’s a community! When you have multiple authors and a multi-media hub it generates a following from audience members who prefer social posts, or podcasts, or people who like to comment on blog posts. A content hub can reach all of these audience members. Content Hubs promote engagement. Instead of an article living in a newsletter that’s read and forgotten, users can directly interact with the piece. A content hub is ideal for reading, commenting, sharing, tweeting, buying and so on.
By now you know that your website analytics are a treasure trove of information that can break down how people are coming to and interacting with your website. Content hubs can help you further understand your audience’s interest! By tracking the performance of different pieces on your hub, you can discover which topics interest your audience, what’s driving traffic to your site, and preferred content types, then use this information to further tailor your content to meet the demand!
Take it from us, content hubs done well are complicated and need to be mapped out carefully within the right technology platform, site architecture and taxonomy. Without a clear plan from the start, things can go awry quickly. So now that you know what content hubs are and how they can help you elevate your organization, here are some quick ways you can get started:
Define your goals: Be clear about how you want to utilize the hub and how you will measure the use of the platforms.
Define your audience: Examine your analytics and your target audience profiles. Create a hub that will fit the styles of communication preferred by your audience.
Assess your content and your access to new content: What content do you have now that should migrate to the platform and what can be left behind? Determine a schedule and responsibilities for the creation and posting of new content.
Create a strategy to organize your content: Make sure that you organize the content in a manner that is understandable, the best way to do this is usually done by topic and/or by the type of media.
Determine which platform suits your needs: Maybe it’s your current website, maybe it’s a sub-domain, whatever it is use the above evaluations to help you determine the best fit for you.
Design and Launch: Create your design layout and go for it!
Maintain it! Determine how you will continue to add new content on a weekly basis at a minimum to keep the site fresh and vibrant. Don’t forget to track your analytics to fine tune your content to your audience’s needs.
Content hubs can give your organization a strategic advantage with your customers and stakeholders and a new way to drive engagement, community and conversation.
Analytics can be confusing, but they don’t have to be. As we learned in our previous post, “How associations can use analytics to boost membership,” web analytics are vital to associations when it comes to retention and recruitment. Once you are utilizing your analytics to help retain and grow your membership, the next step is to determine if your association’s site is performing well.
According to Neil Patel, measuring the success of your webpage’s analytics will vary due to several factors including your business type, industry, and audience. To get this data, you need to consistently monitor your analytics to set your sites baseline averages and then work from there.
We conducted our own case study on association websites to help us measure association analytics. We pulled analytics from a sample of 42 associations from July 2017to August 2018 to gain insights into what the baselines were and gain perspective on trends. Here is what we discovered:
Users vs. New Users We discovered that, most web visitors are new to the website and have lower engagement than returning visitors. It is important to keep in mind that a new visitor is counted as someone who accesses your site from a new browser or device. Visitors will also be counted new again if they clear their cache and cookies. While determining if a visitor really is “new” is not completely accurate, this data indicated that associations needed to focus on being more welcoming to non-members on the site instead of only advertising to members or people familiar with the association.
Sessions & Pageviews The case study showed that most web visitors will only visit once or twice, but they engage in multiple pages per single session. Considering most web visitors are new, the session to visitor ratio was not surprising and roughly correlated with a ratio of 1:1. Pageviews, however, demonstrated that the average visitor engaged with the site since they are visiting multiple pages per session. This was a great data point and an indicator of drive on the websites.
Avg. Session Duration & Avg. Time on Page Throughout the study, we found that web visitors who stayed on the site have terrific time durations of engagement. For average durations and times on page, we recommend aiming for least 1 minute, 30 seconds per session and 30 seconds per single page. These time stamps created a nice baseline that indicated some sort of interaction occurred.
Bounce Rate A hard truth was confirmed by the study, associations tend to have higher bounce rates. In the Brafton 2017 Content Marketing Benchmark Report, they calculated the average bounce rate across sites to be 58.18%. In their data sample, they found that B2B had higher bounces than B2C. Our study calculated that the sample websites were averaging a bounce rate of 55.12% –very similar to the findings of Brafton.
So why do association sites have higher bounces? In general, these sites are loaded with multiple calls to action (CTAs) meaning they require the web visitor to have a strong actionable item (e.g. Read our Blog, Register Here, Join Today). Not many associations are selling products outside their events and membership, unlike most B2C websites, so visitors will either decide to engage with what that they see or leave if it’s not what they’re looking for in the current moment, thus creating a bounce.
What does this all mean? Don’t let all of the options and metrics overwhelm you so nothing is measured. Start with a few analytics, understand the implications and expand into deeper data after starting with key metrics.
One of the first places a potential member will look for information is on the website, so it is critical the website layout & content is reviewed and updated on a consistent basis.
Remember less is more! You don’t have to take away the feeling of exclusivity of your members. There are ways to make both groups feel catered to, including consistently refreshing your content to be relevant and simplifying the user experience. A confusing website will discourage people from exploring the site and can turn off potential and existing members if the messaging is not clear. We encourage you to utilize the baseline data from our case study to analyze your association’s website performance and discover where you can make improvements for your visitors.
If the image above is overwhelming, you are not alone. It is no secret that in the last few years there has been an explosion of marketing technology available. It is estimated in 2011, around 150 tools existed for marketing; in 2019, according to Chief Marketing Tech more than 7,040 marketing technology solutions on the market.
With such a large number of resources available it would be impossible for an organization to test them all, especially considering the multiple facets of marketing. Looking at the first image, you can see that there are generally agreed to be six areas of marketing technology: advertising and promotion, content and experience, social and relationships, commerce and sales, data, and management, all feeding into each other. If you have a strong data tool, you can then create better content and advertising for your target audience. If you have good content, you can build a social presence and create meaningful brand/client relationships online to inspire brand loyalty. No piece of marketing stands alone, but some need more attention than others to get you started, especially when it comes to content marketing. A content marketing strategy can establish your brand as a key resource and authority in the field, inspiring brand loyalty and driving membership. The cornerstone of this strategy of course is strong, relevant content that catches the reader from the start and draws them in. For many, the task of creating the content is daunting and overwhelming.
To help, we have curated some of the top content tools to help you get started. With these tools you can research hot trending topics and even make sure your headlines are optimized to drive traffic, shares and search results!
Quora Quora is a question-and-answer website where the public will ask and answer questions. Users can collaborate by suggesting edits to answers. It is touted as “a place to share knowledge and better understand the world.” For content creators it is a great starting point to see what questions are being asked about a topic or keyword. For example, a quick search for “content marketing” on the platform returns hundreds of results including “what are some common beginner mistakes in content marketing” that could drive your next blog post, white paper or podcast.
HubSpot Blog Topic Generator Similar to Quora, marketing and sales behemoth HubSpot has a blog topic generating tool. With a quick search of a noun, for example “analytics”, you can get a week’s worth of blog ideas.
Answer the Public This search query data visualization tool is a little tongue-in-cheek with a repeating image of a man waiting for you to type right on its home page. Even with this humor, Answer the Public can be immensely helpful in finding the questions you want to answer with your content. Simply type in a keyword or topic in the search field and sit back as it crawls search results for the top questions asked related to your search. The results are then categorized into 5 areas: questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabeticals and related.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer Once you have written and edited your piece, it is a good idea to run your headline through a headline analyzing tool like CoSchedule has created. You have spent the time to make sure your content is perfect — now make sure it has the perfect headline with a balance of keywords, power words and characters while measuring the sentiment of the headline.
Many content marketing tools are available to associations today; these four only scratch the surface of what you can find online. Take them as a starting point on your content marketing journey and go create!
Associations have a long history dating back to the 1800s. They are the original communities and influencers for professions long before social media became prevalent. This marks my 30th year in association management and I currently am the Vice President of Marketing Communications & Technology for Ewald Consulting.
When I started my career with the Builders Association of Minnesota in 1989, our technology tools were a fax, typewriter, pagers, lots of file cabinets for paper registrations and membership applications and a DOS database with the blinking bright orange text on a small screen, big box computer. No email, no website, no cell phone, no Microsoft Office – they hadn’t been created for the mass market yet. We launched the association’s first-ever website in 1996.
In 2005 when I joined Ewald Consulting, my first major initiative was to find us a new database and migrate our clients to Affiniscape 24/7. After researching limited options, we chose a custom database built in Microsoft Access. Every Friday, I would export the client data into 24/7 so they could have searchable directories and see their data online. A few years later, Affiniscape launched its M360 platform which integrated the website with a database providing a dynamic experience for our members.
A few years later, Affiniscape was bought by YourMembership (YM) and we proceeded to transition our clients from Affiniscape to YM. A few years later, Community Brands bought YM and several other platforms to have a suite of offerings for associations. Which summarizes the current platform environment of technology platforms – thousands of options plus mergers and acquisitions is now the norm.
The marketing technology landscape is one of my favorite graphics that demonstrates the extensive proliferation of tools over the past 8 years. In 2011, there were 150 platforms. As of April 2019, there were 7040. There are plenty of tools to choose from now. So unlike the 1990s, options, access and affordability are no longer barriers to entry for associations.
Choosing a limited set of tools, learning how to implement them creatively and executing value are critical for associations to remain relevant. We are at a critical junction of technology and human behavior that will create our future depending on how we strategically implement our choices effectively with simplicity and clarity key for our customers.
With a plethora of platforms to choose from, our Marketing Communications Team is focusing on executing relevant and measurable marketing strategies for our associations. Key strategies include:
Building out a content marketing strategy for the long haul. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build awareness, generate interest from new audiences and expand our base. Our volunteers are our Subject Matter Experts (SME) for content for our conferences, blogs, social media and have a wealth of insights that are core to building our community. Generating content with context and driving conversations will keep the association vibrant and the go-to resource for professions. Going beyond conference and membership promotion is critical to drive the value proposition of being a part of the association.
Conducting website audits to ensure clarity, clean and creative design and coding for mobile responsiveness and effective Search Engine Optimization;
Creating strong landing pages for our home pages, membership and conference pages to have a strong and clear Call to Action, concise benefits, bullet points for scanning, original photography and call out buttons to prompt action;
Implementing marketing automation to build awareness and convert prospects to customers and ensure a clear customer journey;
Using an event mobile app platform for our clients’ conferences. With the technology development of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), we are looking at developing year-round mobile apps for our clients in the next year to connect our members year round.
Other initiatives we are working on include business intelligence, data collection and analysis and the implications of AI (Artificial Intelligence) for our clients. We are excited about the tremendous opportunities that nonprofit organizations now have access to and to implement best-of-class strategies to ensure their success.
We are excited to be implementing our own content marketing strategy based on our research and experience with our clients. Please email me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathie Pugaczewski is the Vice President of Marketing Communications and Technology. She has more than 30 years of association management experience with a focus on technology platform strategy, marketing communications, conference management, continuing education and certification programs. She joined Ewald Consulting in 2005. Previously, Kathie worked for the Midwest Association of Association Executives (MSAE) as Marketing Director and the Builders Association of Minnesota as Executive Vice President. She has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and completed the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame. In 2003, she earned her CAE designation. In 2009, she earned her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) designation. In 2019, she earned her Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) designation and her Qualified Association Specialist (QAS) designation.
Developing effective marketing strategies that drive measurable results can be tricky. It requires analysis, critical thinking and clear Calls to Action (CTA). This is vitally important for associations in an ever-increasing and competitive marketplace.
Associations often focus their marketing efforts on conference and event promotion without establishing the organization as the thought-leader in the profession. Before marketing events, webinars and conferences, we need to communicate the Value Proposition of the association to establish credibility and broaden our base and grow our community.
While for-profits have much big budgets and financial resources, content marketing can still be effectively executed for non-profits. And associations have a unique advantage when it comes to content marketing – Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the membership who can share their expertise and drive collaboration, conversation and community.
One of the biggest challenge’s associations face today is answering key value questions, like “Why should I join?” or “How will this association benefit me today?” As a large portion of our association base of members are nearing retirement which underscores the need to gain early and mid-career member base to remain relevant.
One key marketing strategy that organizations are effectively using is content marketing which can take many forms. With access to SMEs, associations can utilize this strategy to drive membership value and drive engagement. A content marketing strategy will be unique to each organization or association, but they share the same foundation.
5 Must-Do Content Marketing Strategies:
Fill in the “gaps” Before marketing conferences and product, provide context by creating awareness of the organization with relevant content through the website, webinars and highlighting the expertise of conference presenters. This will prevent a knowledge gaps and drive conversions. Associations provide value to members and stakeholders by being the “go-to resource” through sharing industry articles, writing blogs, developing newsletters, and sparking conversations on discussion boards and choosing speakers who are presenting on the most important relevant topics.
Meet members where they are It’s important to keep in mind that not all audiences are active on the same platforms. In order to provide useful, meaningful content and a valuable experience for members, associations must use platforms that are relevant to the audience and adopt a multi-faceted content approach by utilizing different mediums such as social, email, and direct mail.
Be adaptable and flexible Change is constant for our audiences. By listening and adapting to member needs, associations can provide value, creating a better experience that is appropriate for the audience.
Cater to the audience – personalize! A crucial part of providing value is understanding who the members are and tailoring to their specific needs. Use a style, language, tone, and even content that is familiar, meaningful, and relevant to them. By giving the audience exactly what they need, associations can show the members their value.
Be consistent Consistency is key in content marketing. When content is scheduled and shared frequently, associations can start to build a following. Not only that, but they also gain trust and are seen as a reliable source of information. By consistently posting content, associations both build brand authority and provide value to the audience by sharing useful and meaningful resources.
Through all five of the rules, there is a common theme: a focus on the members, both current and prospective. In order to provide the best, meaningful experience to the audience, associations can adopt this holistic approach to membership. So it is time to refocus and watch your association grow for the better.
This year’s American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Leadership Retreat focused on methods for engaging members deeper into the professional community. We discussed “the power of purpose” as a compelling way to communicate why a professional should join and engage in an association. Association membership and engagement promotions should have as their underpinning a strong “why” message related to the individual’s ability to contribute to the greater cause being championed by the profession. This connects the individual’s personal mission for having chosen this profession for him/herself to the mission of the organization and its ability to serve as a vehicle for personal/professional fulfillment. If your association has a strong cause-related mission, you should focus on the need for each professional to commit to “advance our profession’s impact on [insert important societal challenge that the profession aims to address].” Associations must go deeper than this as well. A cogent message needs to be accompanied with examples of how your association manifests this message throughout its activities and member benefits. For example, frame the annual conference as a forum to bring together the most influential, innovative, and successful minds in the profession to shape its future. Articulate how participating in part of an online learning series will empower an individual with a clear understanding of the issues impacting practices in the profession and tools to address them. Describe how participants in the online discussion group lead the conversation about topics shaping the next stage/future of the industry and accompany this with testimonials.
The “Staff/Volunteer Dyad”
A strong relationship between staff and association leaders is critical to the success of a member engagement plan. A key component to this relationship is clarity of roles. Associations should have written chairperson position descriptions that include delineation of what the chair/committee is responsible for and what s/he can count on staff to provide (staff will… volunteer will…). Staff need to entrust areas of industry subject matter expertise to the association leaders and association leaders must respect the specialized knowledge, expertise and talent of the staff. Having someone “from the profession” in a staff position comes with positives and negatives. It can be a faster, more dependable source for content and industry perspective but there must be an expectation that the individual has significant time dedicated to garnering feedback from industry leaders and is not the sole source for content ideas, insights and guidance.
A recommendation toward achieving more overt and intentional attention to member engagement on an ongoing basis was to change the “Nominating” committee to the “HR Committee” responsible for identifying resource needs and the recruitment, engagement and assessment of all unpaid human resources to address those needs. The HR Committee is complemented by a “Council of Future Practices” that reviews industry data through the lens of the association. The Council of Future Practices provides a report to the board of directors based on industry data and their individual/combined experience. This report serves as a forecasting guide to portend the impact that trends are expected to have on the profession and what the association should do to address this. Once the board determines the action the association should take and whether to resource with staff or volunteers, the HR Committee begins its work anew.
Measuring volunteer performance is the best way to optimize a volunteer-dependent system. That being said, ASAE leadership agreed that insufficient metrics exist for tracking volunteer performance/engagement. A model based on HR best practices would make sense — but none of the association leaders engaged in the discussion had a working model to share.
Rather than attempting to tackle the problem at once, it was recommended that associations start with a “Simple Assessment” solution:
Have chairperson rank each volunteer’s performance on a scale of 1-3
Have staff liaison rank each volunteer’s performance on a scale of 1-3
Average the two and give feedback to each volunteer (most in writing; conversation where necessary)
Six Drivers of a Quality Volunteer Experience:
Quality of staff coordinating their activity
Receptivity of staff to give their input consideration
Quality of orientation/introduction
Quality of the volunteer leadership
Ability to debate/discuss issues
Time and timing
Why are you choosing to engage further?
What gifts do you have to offer to the organization?
What do you want to gain through further engagement?
What don’t you want to do as you get more involved in the organization?
4 levels of volunteerism (example from ISACA):
Micro: one-time tasks
Short-term/limited: e.g. support for an event or publication
Annual commitment: serve on the XYZ Committee
Below is an example Volunteer Engagement Model that was shared from R.A.P.S. using the Higher Logic online community tool: