How many deadlines do your component leaders miss? How many times do you get a request for the same document or a checklist from multiple (or repeat) volunteers? How’s your “trust meter” with your component volunteers?
The last question is included because too often the answer to the first two questions creates a staff-volunteer relationship that is transactional. It doesn’t build trust. What if you could step out of the transactional role – out of the nagging role – and move into a coaching role? What if you double or triple your support in answering “where is” and “how to” questions by empowering volunteers to jump in and support each other?
While it can’t guarantee to solve all problems, a robust leadership portal will turn around your conversations and go miles in building a trusting relationship. The bonus is expanding your “team”.
Looking to build a portal?
We love the mantra “forever beta” and believe it should be applied to resource portals. Let the portal become a collaboration of volunteers and staff, refreshing content and shifting focus as priorities change. Here are four steps to consider.
- Identify gaps in available resources and identify potential sources.
- Create a content outline and portal map. One rule of thumb for mapping the content is follow the volunteer – not your HQ staff
- Review your volunteers’ training/resource needs, including cataloging current materials and resources. To clearly identify needs, consider a poll to volunteers and assembling a workgroup of component leaders.
- Initiate a rolling launch to provide volunteers to test, kick the tires, and provide feedback and suggestions. We recommend forming this ad-hoc group. Initially, we will suggest you actively reach out and invite leaders. The group can then convert into a community to provide ongoing feedback and ideas (see ASAE’s Collaboration Site Feedback group as a model).
Check out these examples for more ideas: Promotional Products Association International’s Regional Resource Portal (cool headline captures the pain point solved: “AKA THINGS EDs AND VOLUNTEERS DIG THROUGH INBOXES FOR” and IEEE Volunteer Resources and American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition’s Volunteer Portal.