So, you’re wondering how to conduct effective volunteer meetings for your nonprofit organization. You’ve come to the right place.
We’ll admit, as volunteers, we have never been stoked on the idea of volunteer meetings. However, there is an approach you should know to make these fun, engaging, and effective for all participants.
Below, we have outlined several steps you can take to make sure you are using everybody’s time in an appropriate manner and to get the most of these scheduled/ regular volunteer meetings.
10 Ways to Hold Efficient and Effective Volunteer Meetings
Here are ten ways we have found have been effective and conducive to holding our volunteer meetings:
1. Stick to a Concise Agenda
This is part of the prep work that must be done prior to the meeting. Sit down and consider what your meeting’s central message will be. Each week (or month – depending on how often you hold your meetings) can be focused on something new.
Don’t allow your message to become stale – plan your meeting agenda and stick to it. Keep things interesting!
2. Remember their Time is Valuable
To go along with the above, remember that your volunteer’s time is valuable! Not just their personal time, but their work time as well. Have this thought in mind:
Would your volunteers’ time be more well-suited to the cause if they were doing their duties or present at your meeting. Make sure your message is important enough to take their time away from their duties!
3. Involve the Volunteers
Let the volunteers speak! Let them share ideas and opinions but make sure the meeting stays conducive. That means while letting them be heard, you must find a balance in keeping the control of the meeting and not being the only voice heard.
4. Define the Goal
Each meeting should have a specific goal in mind. If the purpose of the meeting does not have a goal, find one or perhaps the volunteer meeting is not necessary. Don’t get stuck hosting a weekly meeting if there is no goal!
5. Assign a Moderator
To keep things moving on task, one of the ways many meeting managers decide to do this is assigning a moderator. This is usually a staff member who is responsible for keeping track of the overall goal you’ve pertained to the meeting and making sure the conversation doesn’t move too far off-track.
6. Utilize Technology
If a meeting is only 20 minutes long and some volunteers have to commute longer than that just to get there, doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of the technology this century has brought us?
Video calls and other methods of getting your message out there are super efficient and often preferred by your volunteer team. Talk to them – ask them how they would like you to get your message and goals across to them.
7. Give People Tasks and a Way to Make Meaningful Contributions
In a word, get people motivated. Set each and every volunteer’s eyes on personal goals and don’t be afraid to assign them more than they think they can handle. Keep them striving to find solutions to the cause. Make sure each volunteer understands their individual focus.
8. Get Everyone on the Same Page
This could be done by clarifying decisions made, explaining what processes are in the works, etc. This should be a sort-of conclusion to your meeting and a statement that clarifies every topic you discussed. Even if it is seen as a review of the meeting, make sure you are clear of what you want, what has been decided, and what the future will look like.
9. Follow Up with the Meeting Topics
Allow your volunteers time to digest the information, study it, and follow up with them to see if there are any confusions or ideas stemming from what was said. Get a conversation going regarding the topics discussed in the meeting.
10. Keep Written Record of the Volunteer Meetings
Some might assign a person in the meeting to keep ‘meeting minutes’ (a detailed list of what was discussed) so that those who did not make it to the meeting can be briefed and progress can be tracked on a week-to-week (month-to-month) basis.
You can also send your meeting minutes to everyone in attendance so that everyone can get a visual on your vision.
Congratulations on Managing Successful Volunteer Meetings!
Now you know the steps you must take, go out there and impress your staff and volunteers with some of the most meaningful volunteer meetings you’ve ever conducted.
You’ll be surprised at the response and results of these meetings if you prepare for them and engage your audience (your volunteers).
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