The New Volunteer Manifesto Series – Part 4: Creating a Learning Culture

As part of my New Insights from a New CAE weekly column on SmartBlog Insights, I’m delving deeper into my New Volunteer Manifesto that I published here. In Part 4 published last Thursday, I looked at Creating a Learning Culture.


The New Volunteer Manifesto: Creating a Learning Culture

Deirdre Reid, CAE is an association consultant, speaker and trainer focusing on member engagement and social media at Deirdre Reid LLC and Leadership Outfitters. Connect with her @DeirdreReid.

I recently published a call to action for associations, a New Volunteer Manifesto. Last week I explored keeping volunteers. Now I’d like to propose some ideas for creating a learning culture.

Create a culture of learning, not only through your educational programs, but within your leadership and committees. Commit to enriching the volunteer experience by providing opportunities to learn and grow through service.

We’re the organizational experts. It’s our job to share our professional knowledge with our members and give them the information and tools to lead the association wisely, take some risks and try new things. They may not have brought these skills with them and need our support.

Deepen the reach of leadership development programs. Don’t limit training to officers and directors; include any member who leads a committee, team or project. Set aside competition and control issues and partner with other organizations so you can offer more programs to your members.

Give volunteers something to take back to the office. Teach leaders to build learning moments into committee agendas. Take ten minutes to provide quick lessons on social media, networking, speaking, leadership, etc. Give your members the opportunity to share their skills with others during these learning experiences.

Conduct ongoing training for leaders on how to recruit volunteers, break up and delegate tasks, make meetings meaningful and enjoyable, and work in new ways that involve more people.

Encourage leaders to train other members to do the work they’re now doing. Encourage them to find others to help them accomplish tasks and share the work. The association will never run out work to accomplish; there’s enough for anyone who wishes to participate.

Members in the early phase of their career will have very different needs than those more experienced. Take that into account when planning programs, events and volunteer opportunities.

Recognize and reward those leaders who have led well by delegating and involving others. Make them the models for other leaders to emulate.

What do you think about these ideas? Have you tried any?


Today my fifth and last post in the series, New Ways of Associating, was published on SmartBlog Insights.

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Author: deirdrereid

Deirdre is a freelance writer for companies serving the association market, who after more than 20 years in the association and restaurant industries, is enjoying the good life as a ghostblogger and content marketing writer. Away from her laptop, you can find her walking in the woods, doing yoga, going to shows, journaling, cooking, or relaxing in a comfy chair with a good book and a glass of something tasty in hand.

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