The key words for me are magnetism, attraction, polarity and creative energy. If we apply them to an organisation let's see how we can use these principles.
To create a magnetic field within an organisation there has to been some attraction, energy or excitement to make a person want to volunteer. So what draws people to each other?
The image of any organisation is paramount. People will not be drawn to an organisation that is perceived as being old fashioned and out dated, or where volunteer jobs are viewed as dull, colorless and boring.
Volunteers can and do have lots of energy, so it is up to the Manager of Volunteers to harness that energy and direct it into something creative. Volunteers tend to have lots of ideas about how to do things and how to make things happen. It takes skill to direct the energy into volunteer work without losing the momentum or vitality.
Organisations tend to develop their own ambience and culture. If there is a can-do atmosphere, a willingness to make things happen and some allowance for spontaneity, energy and enthusiasm, volunteers will want to return to see what's new. Where there is a warm welcoming feel about the place people will want to stay and
enjoy it, while if it is difficult to get accepted, or people form cliques, volunteers won't want to return.
Humour in the workplace is also very important. As someone once said, "Humour is a great lubricant for teamwork." While humour should not be used against people, it can be effective in helping to build a sense of fun and spark off creativity and imagination. In our office we cut out topical cartoons from the paper and place them on
the notice board.
It is also good to share your passion for the work you do with one another. So many volunteer programs started with a person who had a passion, and passionate people will go to extra ordinary lengths to make things happen or to forward the vision of the organisation. People with a passion often seek each other out and help to encourage and support collective activities, so take time to nurture that passion.
By Rosemary Sage.
Reprinted from Turn Your Organisation Into A Volunteer Magnet, 2nd edition (ed. Fryar, Jackson & Dyer) 2007
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