So the Chairman of the Gala Committee does a wonderful job, but her meetings are boring, consist of endless reports, and don’t leave the right people with the information they need.
Not your problem? Of course it is! The meeting attendees are all, if not your donors, then your best prospects. She may be leading the meeting, but you stand to lose the very people you’re working so hard to attract.
“I can’t tell Sally how to run her meeting,” you say. Well, you’d better think again. (Maybe you don’t “tell” her, you show her.) There are tactful ways to encourage a volunteer to do a better job.
Here are four tips to make meetings (from the Board on down) work for you in attracting and keeping the friends of your organization:
- Make sure there’s an agenda in advance, and that you stick pretty close to it. This may mean meeting with the chair ahead of time—well worth your effort. The new member can plan her time and reports; your meeting won’t throw a wrench in her day.
- Encourage members to report on a regular basis and in a useful way. In advance, provide them with samples of good reports, model the length of time spent giving the report, show how the interlocking of reports creates a whole picture of the project and its progress.
- No “downers.” Don’t let negative talk go on in the meeting; you don’t want to turn off a first-time attendee.
- “Uppers.” At each meeting, plan some accomplishment to report—latest results from last year, or new donors/prospects joining through the project, or latest news from elsewhere in your organization.
Once again, it’s not about you! It’s about making time spent with your organization truly a benefit to the recipient. What excites the attendees sends the message that the organization really wants their involvement, values the attendees’ contributions, is willing to put forth the effort to make their participation worthwhile, does things professionally, and knows how to make projects successful.
When volunteers have raised their hands to help you, make it pleasant for them. They might resign on for the next project as well!