6 Ways to Re-energize Volunteers


Jason E. Ebey, IOM

In the life of a sponsorship campaign, there are natural peaks and valleys. Most campaigns start off strong, but some experience a lull around the mid-point. The key to a successful campaign is how chambers handle that mid-point lull and how they re-energize volunteers.

1. Keep in Contact

Maintaining close contact with your volunteers is crucial at every point in the campaign. If your staff has been communicating well with your volunteers, then you will want to continue to do more of the same.

But if you take a critical eye to your communications thus far and determine that more can be done, consider these tips.

  • Contact your top producers every couple of days. Just check in with them and see what they are working on and offer any assistance they might need.
  • Those volunteers who have made some sales but not many should be contacted once a week or so. Make sure they know that you are there if you need them and that you are counting on them for their sales, but don’t call or email so often that they begin to see that communication as an annoyance.
  • Lastly, look at how you are communicating with those volunteers who have not sold anything to date. Make sure that you haven’t begun to ignore them because they haven’t sold anything. Remember that all volunteers have the entire Campaign timeframe in which to sell. They may be working on something you aren’t aware of unless you are checking in with them regularly.

2. Be Positive

It’s really easy to be excited and encouraging with your volunteers at the beginning of the campaign with things are fresh and new and when sales seem to be happening every time you turn around. It is the really forward-thinking chamber staff member who can remain positive with volunteers when sales begin to slump.

But if you aren’t presenting a positive message to your volunteers and expressing to them how much you believe in their efforts and appreciate their endeavors, they aren’t going to be motivated to succeed. This is the time for chamber staff members to make that extra effort to really encourage volunteers to make a difference.

3. Throw a Party

Rarely does anything get people as energized as a party atmosphere. A mid-campaign rally might be just what your volunteers need to get that second wind to propel them through the remaining weeks of the campaign.

Just like when you had your initial campaign kick-off event, make this a fun event. Send invitations and hold the event at an enjoyable location. Have heavy hor d’oeuvres and beer and wine instead of a full meal.

When thinking about your agenda for this event, consider ways to make the atmosphere festive while still providing both key information and motivation for each volunteer.

  • Have a speaker.
  • Give away door prizes – include sponsorship leads!
  • Play Chamber Trivia – everyone who correctly answers questions about your chamber wins prospect leads.
  • Announce competitions.
  • Have strategy/team building time.

4. Action Breeds Action

Competition is important. It brings in sales and new memberships. Take a few minutes and recognize your top producers. Mention the top teams. Show those who haven’t sold anything yet that the prime sponsorships – or just the sponsorships they might have been working on – are being sold. It is important to tell people that they need to act quickly.

As part of that, create a few fun competitions to motivate your volunteers. Pit team against team. Offer cash prizes or tickets to local events for the top sales person for the next couple of week or for the top team.

Specifically create incentives for those individuals who have not sold anything to date. Once they begin to see how easy it is to sell sponsorships – and memberships! – and feel how rewarding it is to begin getting that recognition, you will be surprised at how quickly people go from not selling at all to becoming top producers.

5. Provide Strategy Time

Encourage teams to meet together, whether at a mid-campaign rally event or on their own. As they work together to discuss what businesses they are working with, they will begin to brainstorm new ideas. Everyone on the team will benefit.

6. From Slump to Goal

With just a little planning and effort on the part of the chamber staff, a mid-campaign lull can be transformed into a rallying point in no time. It’s all in how you approach it.

Is this your “oh well” moment or is this your “let’s make it great” moment? How you answer will determine the remainder of your campaign.

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