Volunteer-Recruitment-Strategies-That-Work-with-Brent-Collingwood - Meeting Leadership Podcast Episode Image

If you’re a leader who needs some great suggestions about how to find new volunteers then MLP #028 is must-listen.

That’s because in this episode you’re going to learn a variety of volunteer recruitment strategies that work from guest Consulting Expert, Brent Collingwood.

In this episode you’ll find out how to:

  • Change your attitude toward volunteers so you can win them over
  • Properly engage a volunteer from the beginning
  • How to set clear expectations and more

And once you learn these techniques then you can find more great volunteers that will help you grow your organization and serve your clients at the highest level!

Brent Collingwood

Brent Collingwood - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

Brent Collingwood has been assisting leaders in the non-profit sector for over 10 years through strategic planning, Board governance education, and maximizing their volunteer recruitment and retention strategies. 

Brent is a Certified Facilitative Leader and holds an M.Ed. degree in Leadership and Change. Brent has worked with professional associations, faith based organizations, family and community support services and volunteer action committees. Brent has been Board Chair of multiple organizations and has served in many capacities as an active Rotarian.

You can get in touch with Brent Collingwood at Collingwood Consulting – http://collingwoodconsulting.com/

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00:00 – Show Opening

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast with Gordon Sheppard.

00:27 – Start Here – Podcast content starts here!

Gordon Sheppard Speaking

Gordon Sheppard:    Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast, where we help professionals just like you to build your leadership skills and learn how to run outstanding meetings. And if you are the type of leader who likes to give back, let’s say you volunteer on a board, or maybe you’re just out in the community forming up groups and making sure that things get done, you know how important volunteers are when you go to build a team. And these days, you also know how tough it is to get a great volunteer.

Gordon Sheppard:    And that’s why today we’re going to be talking about volunteer recruitment strategies that work. And to help us get this done at the highest possible level, we’re bringing on an expert. His name is Brent Collingwood. He’s a consultant and a guy with a lot of depth in the non-profit area. I mean, he’s been a leader in formal roles, he’s supported, he’s out in the consulting zone now. He’s the type of person who’s got a lot of answers if you’re in the non-profit area, if you’re a leader who’s looking for those tips and tricks to make sure that your volunteer situation is as optimized as it can be.

01:26 – Interview With Brent Collingwood Starts

Gordon Sheppard:    And without further ado, here’s the interview with Brent Collingwood.

Gordon Sheppard:    Brent Collingwood, welcome to the show.

B. Collingwood:     Glad to be here.

Gordon Sheppard:    It was just such a great opportunity knowing that someone with your breadth and depth on sort of helping volunteers was willing to come on to the show, but I know a lot of people in the audience aren’t going to know a lot about you, so take a moment to introduce yourself.

B. Collingwood:     Well, thanks Gord. Brent Collingwood, I’ve been involved in governance and governance education for many years working at the University of Alberta in their executive education … on the director’s education program. So I’ve been involved in governance both on the board role serving as chair of many organizations, but also in management as an executive director. So I’ve got a pretty good grasp on some of the challenges that are faced by all not-for-profits, all boards, no matter what.

Gordon Sheppard:    And I know that before this episode, we were talking about today’s topic, which is volunteer recruitment strategies that work. Now, the impression that I have there is, is the old way of recruiting volunteers kind of dead, in your opinion?

02:25 – Volunteer Recruitment Strategies That Work #1 – Don’t get married before you date

B. Collingwood:     Well, I think the problem is that most people want to recruit volunteers based on their own personal experience, so a passion for an organization, an enthusiasm to jump in. And sometimes we overwhelm those that we think might be good volunteers. I kind of use the phrase we like to get married before we date. And I think the key here is that we need to start softly. So we have this belief that there’s no volunteers left, that they’re all taken, there’s nobody out there. And that’s of course not right. But it’s not the fact that we ask them, or even if we do ask them, but it’s how we ask them. And we overwhelm them, and we often chase them away instead of bringing them into organizations where they could bring a real service.

Gordon Sheppard:    Well, and I know in relation to some of the work that I do in this area as well, we don’t need another unhappy volunteer. I mean, that’s so, so important. And I was wondering, can you give me an example of how to ask a volunteer when you’re recruiting them?

03:18 – Volunteer Recruitment Strategies That Work #2 – Start with small steps

B. Collingwood:     Sure. Oftentimes, our first ask of a volunteer is to serve on a board or a committee without a real understanding of the organization, what its goals are, what its purpose is, so that puts up a bit of a barrier right out of the gate. What I recommend is that you start with something very small that speaks to the skill set that they have, the knowledge that they might have, or the interest that they might have, so that we can maybe capture an hour or two hours of their time, so that they can start to learn about the organization, and we can benefit from their skill and knowledge. If you introduce that on a smaller scale, you then might have the potential to bring that person onto a committee, and maybe ultimately onto the board.

Gordon Sheppard:    And when you say smaller scale, you’re talking about bite-sized chunks. Is that correct?

B. Collingwood:     That’s correct, an hour of time. If you were to say to somebody, “Hey, we’re doing, could you give us an hour of your time to help us set up,” you’re not asking them to commit for a full day, you’re not asking them to sit in a committee. When they get to meet the people, have the camaraderie, the sharing of the interests, those are the things that will spark people’s interest to saying, “Hey, I’d like to learn more and maybe get more involved.”

Gordon Sheppard:    I think this is so important, especially from a senior leader in volunteering perspective, right? If you get this right and you start to have the ability to recruit people in a way that they’re going to get engaged with your organization, then you’re not going to be spending your time on recruiting, you’ll be spending your time on doing.

04:45 – Volunteer Recruitment Strategies That Work #3 – Success breeds success

B. Collingwood:     Absolutely. And the other thing that spins off of that is success breeds success. If you’re able to recruit strong volunteers who bring a real passion and understanding to the organization, that speeds out, that filters out into different sort of spider’s webs, and success breeds success because volunteers want to be a part of an organization that’s successful.

Gordon Sheppard:    This is fantastic advice, especially, again, from that senior leadership point of view of changing the old way of recruiting volunteers and moving into sort of the way that’s kind of realistic for the way that today’s volunteers are being brought in.

05:20 – Volunteer Recruitment Strategies That Work – Recap

Gordon Sheppard:    I’ll take a second to recap your main points. And those were, people think there’s no more volunteers, but they are, but we have to learn how to ask, and we really want to be clear when we’re onboarding people.

B. Collingwood:     That’s absolutely correct. And it’s understanding of the organization, its intentions, its goals, so people with the skill set or the knowledge can find a way to contribute to the success of that organization.

Gordon Sheppard:    This is super valuable. And, Brent, if people want to get in touch with you, how can they do that?

05:46 – How To Get In Touch With Brent Collingwood – http://collingwoodconsulting.com/

B. Collingwood:     collingwoodconsulting.com is my website. I actually do speeches and talks and workshops on this topic, so would be happy to hear from anybody, and offer any service and help that I can.

Gordon Sheppard:    Well, I really appreciate that you were on the show. Thanks so much.

B. Collingwood:     Thank you very much, Gord.

06:02 – Conclusion

Gordon Sheppard:    You know, I think any non-profit leader would get a ton out of the interview that we just heard. The big takeaway for me was, learn how to ask a volunteer to do a bite-sized task. I love that idea of just an hour, come in, try it out, get to know each other, and then maybe that’s the way people will start to stick around and do even more for your organization.

06:21 – MLP 049: Why You Need To Blow Up Your Volunteer Meeting Agenda – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/49

Gordon Sheppard:    And if you’d like more of Brent’s great suggestions, then check out Episode 49 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast, it’s called Why You Need To Blow Up Your Volunteer Meeting Agenda. And you can get that by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/49.

06:37 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy

Gordon Sheppard:    And I also want you to know that this episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. If you’re looking for great options to help you grow your volunteer leadership capacity, then visit meetingleadershipinc.com/academy. And, as always, thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

06:58 – Podcast Outro

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. And don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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