Mobilizing Volunteers, Mentoring Leaders
Most non profit organizations carefully consider ways to recruit volunteers, and then select the best of the best to develop leaders and volunteer organizers. But, have you considered how you can use public relations communications to mentor leaders and develop volunteers?
According to Ronn Torossian, one of the key developmental factors of solid PR is developing relationships. To make it happen, you need to create opportunities for leadership development. But, setting up events and just turning people loose can lead to disaster.
Ronn Torossian has some suggestions for how to communicate in order to open up controlled opportunities for volunteer leaders to shine.
First, you should communicate a willingness to listen to your volunteers. In many cases, just asking them for help will create a culture of intentional ownership. Volunteers will begin thinking about ways to make the operation better and they have a boots on the ground perspective you will find invaluable. But only if you can arrange, and maintain, a clear line of communication.
Once your volunteers begin to show initiative, talk to them about where they believe their strengths lie. Are there volunteers who are accustomed to leadership? If so, you can ask them to take a leadership position in your organization. If not, then you can begin to develop willing volunteers by giving them specific responsibilities during certain projects.
Involve Volunteers in Decision Making After Events
Even follow up is a vitally important factor for connecting with both volunteers and those you have helped. No matter what you do, the right volunteers can help you turn that follow up into a very effective step in your charity service activities. Make them responsible for critiquing an event, and ask them for ways to improve. When you find the people who are already thinking about these things, you have likely found some leaders.
Torossian says these are just the first steps. You must have the systems in place, even if they are simple systems, to develop those leaders. Identifying leaders, and then overwhelming them or tossing them into chaos is a surefire way to get them to quit.
Provide effective administration and leadership and you will help you find some terrific talent among your volunteers to help you achieve the greatest good.