How to Lose a Volunteer

Sleep’s a luxury for the over-committed.

Sometimes my schedule gets so busy, I wonder how I’ve made it through the week intact. Family, clients, and meals compete with friends, travel, entertainment, and personal time.

On the outskirts of this scenario sits participation with non-profits, inspired by my noble aspirations. Driven by my desire to give back to the community, I’ve invested years into Rotary, my temple, politics, and other groups, hoping to make a better world.

Recently I was referred by an unimpeachable source to a cause I was willing to carve out time for. Checking their website, I drove 30 minutes for a lunch meeting on a weekday, my dearest time on the clock.

So imagine my surprise when I arrived, only to be told by the restaurant’s hostess that the meeting had been canceled. Their website still announced the regular weekly meeting (with speaker), but nobody outside the membership knew of the change.

Irritated, I returned to my office to recapture the day as best I could. No networking, no speaker…just a waste of time and gasoline.

In the interests of improved communications, I notified the organization’s secretary and explained what happened. Her heartfelt apology re-instilled my faith, and I decided to give them another chance.

Three weeks later the exact same thing happened, with the hostess laughing upon my arrival: “Oh, it’s YOU again.”

I left this second canceled meeting knowing I’d never return, but recognizing a valuable lesson for any non-profit seeking to grow its membership.

That website you take for granted is your most valuable tool for communicating with prospective members. Just as I appeared unbidden for a meeting and speaker, others are doing for your group.

Anyone making the effort to attend your meeting should immediately be deemed a hot prospect. Your failure to fulfill your website’s promises will send them scurrying to more stable ground.

Your website communicates to the world your offer to provide certain services, sell items, provide camaraderie, etc. Making those promises raises hopes; keeping them raises membership.

Holistic messaging is important regardless of the cause you’re representing. Tie together your website, social media, and fulfillment to make…and keep…your promises, expand visibility, and grow membership.

Failure guarantees you’ll never see any of us at your door again.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Free marketing advice to help your organization grow.