PSEL: Recruiting Volunteers

Since I am supposed to be writing about stretch experiences…

My local embroidery group is part of a national organization with very formal rules, including election of board officers. In the past few years, we already “knew” who the officers would be because many were running on a second term.

But our bylaws do place term limits on offices, and as luck would have it, this year we are due to elect three new people to fill upcoming vacancies, including chapter president. The task of leading a nomination committee would be particularly challenging, but mysteriously, I volunteered to take charge.

This is a task that may be relatively simple for some people, but not for me. As established in previous posts, I identify myself as an introvert and am rarely confident in my skills of persuasion. But volunteering was a way I could help the chapter get to the next stage.

The good news is that it worked out well because of two strategies. I did of course send messages out through email and in person. I reminded people that this was an important change coming, but also promised that cocktails at meetings was an option. My second strategy was to rely on the group to do its own informal recruiting.

The current president offered to step in to another position, so really it was only two offices to fill. One member talked with her friend about being president…and her friend realized how much she could contribute and volunteered to be the next president. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly this worked out. That left only secretary which is a fairly light position. Soon enough (with additional promises of light duties and learning dark chapter secrets), another member contacted me to volunteer.

I’m not sure I can always replicate this, but I was glad this opportunity worked for me. At Penn State, many people without a title need to persuade people to volunteer to help with certain tasks. Explaining what the task entails is very useful to helping people make an informed decision. Pointing to potential benefits is also useful (this is a tip from an EI tutorial that has actually stuck with me).

This is also a time when you need to tap into your network. If your network isn’t as strong as it could be, you may be able to find others with good connections.

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