No matter how big or small your community may be or where in Alberta it is located, your condominium corporation can always use more resident volunteers. For a range of reasons, most communities have a shortage of volunteers. Residents may be short on time, unsure how they can make a difference or simply apathetic.
So what can you do to encourage more involvement? Here are some suggestions for increasing volunteerism in your community and making it a positive experience for your residents.
  1. Do more to promote your volunteer opportunities.
You probably feel like you already ask for volunteers too frequently. However, if you are using just one communication channel, you may not be reaching enough residents. For example, do you announce volunteer opportunities only at meetings? Homeowners who do not attend regularly will not necessarily be aware that you are seeking volunteers. No doubt, many residents would be happy to step in if they knew that their help was needed.
Try using a variety of communication methods to reach residents. Post volunteer openings in your community newsletter and on your website. Send out emails, and put up flyers in communal areas (for example, near mailboxes or on a bulletin board). Be sure to do this on a regular basis. A great condominium management company can provide you with other methods for communicating with members of your condo corporation. 
  1. Get personal.
Asking for suggestions and ideas is one way of encouraging residents to get involved. It gives them a sense of personal ownership, which in turn makes them more likely to want to take action.
Homeowners are also more likely to get involved if they know at least a few of the other volunteers. It can be intimidating to join a committee when everyone is a stranger. Sponsor activities where residents can become acquainted, such as picnics, potluck dinners or holiday parties. Your condo manager can also offer suggestions for events that will help create a sense of community. 
  1. Make the work matter. 
None of your volunteers will be happy if they feel like they are wasting their time. Plan ahead so that you know exactly what each volunteer will be doing. Assign specific roles and objectives, provide a clear to-do list and set reasonable timelines and budgets.
  1. Recognize volunteers’ hard work. 
Even people who chip in out of the goodness of their hearts appreciate a little recognition. Take every opportunity to praise the efforts of board members and committee volunteers. Formally recognize what they have done during meetings, on your website and in community newsletters. Also remember to acknowledge volunteers who do smaller jobs or who provide ongoing contributions. Not only will your current volunteers feel valued, but other residents will be more likely to want to participate if they think that the work will be appreciated.
  1. Be a motivator.
From board leaders to committee members, everyone can be a cheerleader. Whether you have a leadership position in your condo corporation or you are a fellow volunteer, do whatever you can to motivate others who are working for a common purpose. Keeping spirits high can make any job more fun, inspire volunteers to continue to participate and encourage other homeowners to get involved. 
Having plenty of volunteers can make a condo corporation’s many tasks much more manageable. Follow these five steps to increase your community’s level of commitment and engagement so you have the help you need.
Want to learn more ways to increase volunteerism? Contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s leading condominium management company. 
Thursday September 29, 2016