Essentially the article talks about the need to engage the bookend generations, millennials and boomers, and how traditional methods of "managing" volunteers won't work as we move forward. Both of these groups are looking to be empowered, not managed.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
"I encourage you to examine your current volunteer culture at your next staff meeting or meeting with your
volunteer leaders or board by asking these questions. The questions are designed to evaluate if you are engaging a new breed of passionate, slacktivist, episodic, knowledge-worker, empowered, volunteers.
- Are your recruiting methods perceived to be asking for marriage (a life-time commitment) rather than a date (a short-time experience)?
- Are you using events to meet new episodic volunteers as a first date that may turn into marriage (the long-term highly effective volunteer)?
- Are you empowering your volunteers or managing them? The new breed of volunteers does not want to be managed—they want to be unleashed.
- Does your marketing for volunteers awaken the passion for your mission?
- Have you stated your mission in a mantra—one that can fit on a tee shirt? Mantra’s are so 21st century.
- Are you still depending on your posting for volunteers to get volunteers?
- Are you building a network of recruiters? Remember the principle of networking—it’s not who you know. It’s who they know.
- Are you mastering the use of duct tape? Do you practice the 80/20 rule of listening 80% when you interview your prospective volunteer leader to ensure that the leader you are recruiting will be best to fill the role you are seeking so that you don’t end up with a high maintenance volunteer?
- Are you providing flexibility? Today’s volunteer wants to be an asset when they are present, but not a liability when they are absent.
- Are you open to entrepreneurial volunteers who want to create new programs to help you accomplish your mission, instead of just offering the same old volunteer jobs? In order words, do you put out some of your needs and ask for volunteers to come up with creative, new ideas to meet those needs? It is scary, but are you open to it?
- Do you have any recruiting and management systems that limit the creativity and passion of your volunteers? Think of ways to streamline these systems.
- Are you offering on-line training for your volunteers? If so, is it effective and easy to use?
- Do you have opportunities for the virtual volunteer? Can you expand this type of opportunity?
- Are you using web 2.0 instead of traditional e-mail such as wikis, texts, tweets, and instragram?
- How are you communicating to this tech savvy millennial smartphone generation who can’t go 3 minutes without checking Instagram on their new phablet?
- How are you engaging a new breed of empty nester and retiring boomers who don’t want to volunteer in the traditional ways?
I will be challenging some of my colleagues to think about this new culture of volunteerism and how we can adopt it into our organization. We are doing okay in some areas, but could raise the bar and start fresh in others.