In an previous post, Get In Sync with Your Volunteers, I presented a series of question that staff and volunteers should explore together to promote a greater harmony and a higher level of collaborative performance. In this post, I propose two questions I believe staff must ask of volunteer.
"What are the two or three most important
things you want me to know about you so
I can help you succeed as a volunteer?"
"What are the biggest questions or concerns
on your mind that need to be addressed
by me or someone else on staff?"
Asking these questions at the beginning of the staff-volunteer relationship puts into place two building blocks necessary for a trust-based partnership. You will notice the first question is about what the volunteer thinks (s)he needs to succeed, thereby laying the groundwork for a "win-win" relationship.
The second question demonstrates concern and empathy for the volunteer (who is likely to have some doubts about his or her ability to do a good job). In the course of numerous interviews with volunteers, from many different associations, the refrain I often hear goes something like this, "I just don't want to screw up during my tenure as Chair." In other words, most every volunteer feels a bit insecure about their role, it's only natural. The second question provides staff with the insights they need to reassure and support the volunteer.