How are you treating different types of volunteers in your community?

10175026925_c569016e01_zI am reading Higher Logic’s new white paper about volunteering (available here):

Many organizations are witnessing declining retention rates due to lack of engagement and dwindling value propositions.

To that end, Higher Logic’s Andy Steggles and the ASAE Executive Management Section Council have spent the past two years researching how organizations can provide relevance through embracing different types of volunteerism.

Download our findings in The Changing Face of Volunteerism white paper and discover:

  • What types of volunteerism bring a greater sense of community
  • Practical case studies on volunteerism and improved retention rates
  • How to boost engagement and provide value with more flexible and targeted volunteer opportunities
  • Essential reporting methods to measure engagement, motivation and recognition

And the idea at the beginning of the paper that there are different types of volunteers got me thinking.  Namely, Andy Steggles describes:

  1. “term” volunteers – basically people who serve on committees with a minimum of a one year term.
  2. “task” volunteers – people who fill short -term roles based on a specific project or outcome
  3. “micro” volunteers – people who do some kind of volunteer action for the organization, like submit a session proposal, or write a letter to a congressman on your behalf, or complete a survey, or share a model or sample.

Now to those of us who work with communities on a daily basis, there is an obvious online community component to the idea of volunteering.  Many organizations have committee and task force groups in their online community, and use those as a place to archive meeting notes, agendas and minutes, as well as any documentation that the committee might be working on.  Some organizations have also embraced the idea of a volunteer bank, where volunteer opportunities might be posted in some central place.  And of course there are plenty of microvolunteering opportunities to be found all over online community discussions.

What would be interesting to me is to find out whether anyone is tracking all three kinds of volunteering as they appear inside a community (which of course has lots of measurable data) compared to how people find out about those same volunteer activities independently of the community.  I would bet that communities can serve as an exponentially better way to get people involved in any number of ways that suit them; and not only that, are uniquely poised to nurture a member along the path of getting involved more than once and in more than one capacity over time.  Anyone done any measuring of volunteer activity in their community that you’d like to share with me?  I’d love to hear about your experiences with this.

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(photo credit)

 

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