Guest Author: Lindsay Currie, Director of Stakeholder Engagement from the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS)
The traditional model of volunteering doesn’t always work for members, especially if you have a global network of chapter affiliates. To reinvigorate and reinvent the volunteer experience, one association created a new volunteer pathway.
I started volunteering at a young age. My parents were heavily involved in our community, and I saw firsthand the sacrifices they made to give back. They worked full-time jobs, were parents, and still found time to make the community a better place.
That left an impression on me and drove me to volunteer. It wasn’t always easy to find the right opportunities, and I also had to make sacrifices, but I knew how important it was to do the work. I still approach my volunteer opportunities the same way, but now I also work with volunteers and rely on my years of experience to inform strategies and tactics that help to make their work feel valuable.
But I realized that my staff did not have this same background. While they work with our volunteers daily, they lacked the understanding of what it feels like to be a volunteer.
Knowing how important that lived experience is, I encouraged my staff to take on volunteer opportunities and offered my full support, advocating for the time and budget for them to do so. I wanted them to see firsthand how volunteering could be mutually beneficial to the host institution and the individual. I believe this has allowed them to better understand how to serve our volunteers, creating more diverse engagement points that anticipate motivations, frustrations, and the desire to do more.