Knowledge, Not Luck, Makes a Committee
Investing in volunteer training doesn’t have to break the bank, but it pays off big
By Kirk Murphy, Vice President of Western Operations
It’s not luck or coincidence that finds an RMEF chapter replete with large committees and hosting extremely successful banquets.
These are the chapters that have done an excellent job of engaging not only new committee members but all committee members and providing key training and mentorship. They use the tools at their disposal and make an effort to train their volunteers. It’s a step that ensures everyone can be a successful part of the team.
For example, numerous chapters provide a new committee member with a two-pocket folder full of information about RMEF, our mission, core values, projects completed in the state, and more. They also provide mentors to help new committee members answer questions, solicit donations or help with whatever task they may be working on.
Engaging volunteers and providing training on banquet technology is a key component of chapter success and vitality. Providing technological tools with training makes a chapter more efficient and saves time and energy that can be used for other priorities. Regional directors provide valuable training to chapter ticket chairs on the use of the Event Invitation System (EIS), as does RMEF headquarters in the form of training webinars. Regional directors also coach finance chairs on the Finance Package that is completed after each fundraising event.
Another key factor successful chapters share is that they run efficient and effective committee meetings. These are organized meetings that stick to the agenda and include minutes that are recorded and sent out a day or two after the meeting so that even those not in attendance remain in the loop. Long, drawn out meetings are not effective, waste people’s time and lead to members dropping out of the committee.
Communication is key to chapter success. Meeting agendas, minutes and a variety of other topics can be covered quickly and efficiently via email. It’s a great tool to keep the whole committee informed of things like the tally on banquet attendance or ticket sales on a certain pre-event raffle or how many sponsor/life members have signed up for the banquet. Goals and tasks can be easily shared with the committee through email and, if additional help or a big push needs to be made before an event, this is an effective way to let everyone know.
Many states hold summer rendezvous events where much training and networking occur on a variety of topics such as RMEF’s lands and conservation programs, banquet raffle and game ideas or ways to improve an auction. The possibilities and topics are seemingly endless. Many chapters have benefitted greatly from attending these events, learning from other chapters and volunteers and sharing great ideas of their own.
Another way to get out on the road and learn new ideas is to have chapter members attend different banquets within the state or even in other states. Regional directors are a great source of information and ideas. Many chapters will engage directors outside of their own to gain new insight into ways of doing business or learn a new fundraising tip or technique.
Overall, the volunteer experience needs to be a fun and rewarding adventure that makes people feel good about their accomplishments. Successful chapters are like championship teams—everybody wants to be a part of a winning team, so showcasing successes is a great way to say thank you to volunteers for a job well done.