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30 Minute Volunteer
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The 30 Minute Volunteer – Rethinking Member Engagement!

Kim Karagosian, Senior Director of MarCom, AH


It’s a trend that’s been accelerating - long-term volunteer commitments are harder to come by, replaced by short-term task forces, or “micro-volunteering”. Micro-volunteering, defined as ‘easy, quick, low-commitment actions that benefit a worthy cause’, is emerging as the smart way to expand your volunteer pool and build engagement among your less connected members. Providing these opportunities is attractive to members who find specific project work more appealing than serving on a broader committee, or who want to contribute without making a multi-year commitment.


Breaking the mold after years of classifying volunteer options through the traditional board and committee structure can be a challenge. But it helps to start by identifying where the association has specific needs that when filled, will move the organization forward. Some thoughts to get the ideas flowing include:

  • Writing or editing webpages
  • Participating in a focus group
  • Being an active social commentator on an association platform
  • Researching other associations in your field to compile trends or benchmarks
  • Mentoring new members at an event
  • Fundraising for a specific initiative

Promoting volunteer opportunities

Once you brainstorm the volunteer opportunities, make it easy for your members to find them. Create a page on your association’s website which lists where they can make a difference, with short descriptions and timelines, then publicize this through all your communications channels. Your descriptor could read:


The choice is yours. Volunteer commitments vary depending on the opportunity and you. We currently have three categories of volunteer opportunities:

  • Committee Volunteer Opportunities (2-3 yrs. commitment) Term-based volunteer opportunities related to XYZ association committees. Committee members serve 2-3 year terms. 
  • Task Volunteer Opportunities (1 yr. or less commitment) ​Task-based volunteer opportunities are usually project specific and typically have a short term commitment of 6 months to a year.
  • Micro-Volunteer Opportunities (6 months or less commitment) Micro-volunteer opportunities are easy, quick, and low-commitment tasks or projects that allow members to contribute feedback or expertise and talent in small increments. These opportunities usually have a short term commitment of 30 minutes - 6 months.  

When promoting the different volunteering opportunities, communicate it in a way that people can understand clearly and concisely. For example, for micro-volunteer opportunities, make it known that 30 minutes, or whatever short duration of their time, will help make a new member feel welcomed at an event, or provide invaluable feedback on a new website initiative you are starting.  

Most associations know that there will always be a place for boards and committees; the smart associations will also add micro-volunteer opportunities to tap into the broadest possible volunteer base. 


What does your organization do? We’d love to know.  Email kkaragosian@ahredchair.com or visit www.AHredchair.com and give us your insight.  We only want 3 minutes of your time.

AMCI Partners

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