If you run a web search on “why volunteers quit,” you’ll find a string of articles, research, and posts listing common reasons volunteers leave.
One of the top complaints is a lack of organization from the person in charge of the volunteers.
(For a fundraising auction, we’d typically call this person the Auction Chair or Gala Chair.)
Years ago I recall a committee member complaining to me about the Auction Chair. “She doesn’t have her sh*t together,” the woman confided. Because the Chair was disorganized, it created some ill will among the committee.
Some volunteers will tolerate disorganization, but many just give up. When an (unpaid) volunteer role becomes too taxing, you can expect to lose some high-capacity volunteers.
Here’s an example of good organization.
One of my school auction client’s revamped the organizational structure of their fundraiser last year.
The auction had always been a volunteer-run effort, with minor directional input from the Development Director.
As the event grew, it became unwieldy. Finding parents who had the time and skill set to Chair the auction became harder. Even though the parents loved the school, it didn’t mean they wanted to take on the supersized role of Auction Chair.
The school responded by hiring an employee in the development office who (among some other things) had responsibility for overseeing the auction.
One of the first tasks undertaken by this new employee was to create an auction organizational chart.
(See it below.)
She was at the top of the chart, in effect serving as Auction Chair. Key roles or tasks fell into the columns and boxes beneath her.
She organized it according to what made sense for her school. For instance, the green boxes represented tasks managed by a school employee. The blue boxes were geared towards parent volunteers.
Though this chart might not be an ideal match for your own auction structure, it’s worth a review.
And if you don’t yet have an auction organizational chart, create one!
Not only is this a good recruitment tool, the visual depiction helps volunteers see how their work fits into the larger structure.
(Incidentally, the next step is to create volunteer job descriptions for each role.)
Do you use organizational charts?
What tips might you have for new Auction Chairs when it comes to organizing the team?
Share your ideas below.