The Importance of Volunteers
by Ron Unger, CIC, CRM | Kocman Insurance
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any community. This is especially true for community associations. These individuals give their time and expertise to help make their community a better place to live. Some go as far as serving on their board of directors, and some help run a community event like a “Fun Run.” Without the support of volunteers, communities would not thrive. The board of directors can only do so much on their own. Without the assistance of committees, such as those that review a community’s financial figures and architectural review items (just to name a couple), much of the business side of the community would be drawn out.
While volunteers are essential for any community, the difficult part is finding volunteers willing to serve. Not everyone has the time or energy to serve on their board of directors or on a committee. Others feel as if they do not have the skills necessary to serve in their community. Finding volunteers isn’t the only problem; some communities find it just as difficult to retain volunteers. Once a volunteer has been discovered, it is important to keep that individual in the stable of active volunteers.
So how do you keep volunteers? Making a volunteer feel appreciated will go a long way in retaining their services. Something as small as a write-up in the community newsletter can be a catalyst for keeping existing volunteers coming back. This can also help in finding new volunteers, too.
In my large-scale community, the board of directors hosts a volunteer appreciation party each year. During the annual fireworks display, the board blocks off the recreation center closest to the display. Volunteers who have served on committees over the past year are invited, along with their families, for a night of food, fun, and fireworks. Food is catered and the volunteers have a front row seat for the most anticipated event of the year. This event allows the board, as well as management staff, to remind volunteers how important their service has been to the community.
Perhaps a community is not quite large enough to host an entire event for volunteers, but something as simple as a thank you in the association newsletter or recognition during a board of directors meeting can help ensure that volunteers understand that their service is appreciated and necessary. Volunteers will tell you they do not need the recognition, but letting people know they are appreciated is always a welcome endeavor.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Unger, CIC, CRM is a producer with Kocman Insurance Group, based in York, Pennsylvania. Mr. Unger previously worked in the Washington, DC metropolitan area where he was an active member of CAI Washington Metro. Since moving to Pennsylvania, Mr. Unger has become involved with the Pennsylvania & Delaware Valley Chapter of CAI and currently serves as a member of our Communications & Content Committee. Mr. Unger can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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