A strong leadership team is essential to the success and sustainability of a club. Building a successful leadership team requires thought and planning around the following areas:
- Club Officer Job Descriptions
- Committees and Advisory Boards
- Succession Planning
- Stewardship of Volunteers
Volunteer Recognition and Appreciation
Club leaders should strive to create a club culture where volunteers feel valued and are recognized for their contributions. Alumni are busy; if they don’t feel valued, they will devote their time elsewhere. Establishing ongoing volunteer recognition and appreciation practices will help you increase volunteer moral and the likelihood that volunteers will continue serving and potentially take on more responsibilities. Additionally, recognizing the accomplishments of your volunteers will:
- Inspire other alumni to give their time and talents to the club.
- Highlight the achievements of the club in general- a win for a volunteer is a win for the club.
- Build a stronger community of alumni.
- Help volunteers form individual loyalty to the club.
- Demonstrate your leadership and instill trust in your capabilities.
- Remember important dates for individuals (i.e. birthdays, reunion years, year they started volunteering, etc.).
- Make announcements at club meetings to highlight these important dates or create a feature on your website to spotlight volunteer milestones. Publicly recognizing volunteers can also encourage other alumni to get involved.
- Host events that are volunteer focused, such as a yearly volunteer appreciation dinner or social event.
- Give volunteers special access to events and speakers.
- Make it a habit to take a step back and recognize contributions at the end of every event and project.
- Remind volunteers how their work connects back to the mission of the club and the School. People tend to volunteer to contribute to a larger purpose and give back.
- Create opportunities for leadership development and match individual interests with specific projects.
- Encourage volunteers to seek professional development through club leadership experience.
- Expertise in event planning, marketing, fundraising, etc. are great resume additions - show your volunteers what they can learn and apply to their career by being a part of your team.
- Keep more seasoned volunteers engaged by using their experiences as an educational opportunity for newer members and future leaders.
- Mentoring new volunteers.
- Creating an advisory board for past presidents and leaders.
- Showing appreciation and recognition serves as a good example for other club leaders to do the same and in time, will lead to a more positive club culture.
- Volunteering should be fun; provide volunteer opportunities that are actually enjoyable.
- Write personalized thank you notes for incoming and outgoing volunteers, but also acknowledge volunteers throughout their entire time of service.
- Always share results and outcomes. For example, if a volunteer makes calls for a membership drive, follow-up with a thank you and let him/her know how many new members joined as a result of the calls.