We just bought a house in a neighborhood with an HOA, and we recently attended our first HOA meeting. About half of the people there had been in the neighborhood since it was built. They raised their kids here and may soon be looking to downsize. The rest of us purchased our homes within the last four years. We are young couples with young families who plan on being in this neighborhood for a long time. The old guard ran the meeting, explained the neighborhood’s financial position and shared a big vision for the future. They saved a lot of money last year by doing the maintenance, landscaping and pool care themselves.
The vision depends on the neighbors volunteering to serve so that our funds can be used to expand the clubhouse, build a splash park and put in new playground. The new families bought the vision and are excited to help, but the meeting ended with each committee leader asking and begging for help.
Each of them said, “We need help, all kinds of help. Any help will be a big.”
With that, the meeting ended and many are afraid the vision may die. The people who want to help, have no idea what to do and the people who need help don’t know who is willing.
It was disappointing. We have a lot of work to do and we have a lot of people who want to work; but, there’s no connection between the two.
How can a group of people who are committed to seeing something great happen and are willing to put in the time and energy it takes, only to see their vision fail?
We’ve all witnessed the same thing in churches across the country. Churches with great vision and great people fail because a compelling vision and willing workers are not enough to get the job done.
The key is having volunteers connected to the vision. So, how can this be done? Here are 11 Steps To Connect Your Volunteers To Your Vision.
1) Share Your Vision. Good visions are contagious, and if yours isn’t contagious it’s probably not good anyway.
2) Get To Know Your Volunteers. Find out their contact information, their skills, their interest level, and their availability. You need a database, and a way to communicate with them.
3) Break Down Your Vision Into Phases. Set goals for your phases, and create a task list for each goal.
4) Create Groups Around Different Parts Of The Vision. This creates ownership and changes it from your vision to our vision. Give these groups tasks.
5) Set Time Constraints For Tasks. Some things need to be done weekly, monthly, quarterly and/or annually. Some things only need to be done once.
6) Define Tasks In Simple, Yet Explicit Terms. Don’t say, “take care of the bushes.” Do you want them yanked out of the ground? Do you want them trimmed? Let people know.
7) Let People Serve In Areas They’re Skilled, As Often Or Infrequently As They’d Prefer. Some people will serve every month, but others will only serve once.
8) Set Healthy Rhythms. Don’t burn out your people. Encourage them to rest as well as serve.
9) Recognize People Who Serve. This doesn’t have to be public, but it should be meaningful. In today’s digital age, a hand written note holds a lot of power.
10) Revisit Your Checklist And Check In With Volunteers Frequently. They may give you valuable feedback that could improve the overall operation. Or, they may be ready for a break, and you need to start looking for a replacement.
11) Plan Big Days And Have A General List of Tasks. Lots of people will come out for one day, and some people may have a free weekend and be looking for something to do without wanting to commit to being part of a group.