Section Chairs are the leaders of the AAC Volunteer Network, and are the ground level facilitators of the AAC’s Volunteer Program to Recruit, Train, Engage and Thank local volunteer corps.
A section chair will work with the National Volunteer Program Manager and any local staff (should there be any), to recruit their own corps of volunteer, and identify and recruit potential chapter leadership within their Section.
Sections and chapters go hand and hand. A vital aspect of being a successful Section Chair is growing responsible chapters within a section. As the club grows, local communities within a Section may start developing their own core group, seeding the need for a new chapter. If Section leadership is too far away to be effective, it may make more sense for a new chapter to launch in that city/town/campus/user group; contact Eddie Espinosa ([email protected]) to start the process.
Recruiting other volunteers comes in a variety of forms. This may be face-to-face interactions at an event, the crag, or gym. It may come through an email or Facebook message from someone wanting to get involved. It can also come as a recommendation from someone else in the Section or Region. For those sections that haven’t developed a robust volunteer corps, it may be time to send a targeted email to the section with a “call to action.” Whatever method of recruitment you use, it will serve you well to keep track of those individuals and contact information.
Now that we’ve recruited some good folks, they need to know what they’re doing.
Within the Volunteer Toolkit you’ll find a ton of resources. Everything from Mailchimp tutorials, how to use square, FAQ’s about the club and setting up an event table is all included. These are for section chairs and chapter chairs because we want to make sure you are more than adequately trained on the in’s and out’s of representing the club as volunteer leaders. We also want you to be able to train your own chapter leadership and corps of volunteers.
As you recruit chapter leadership and other volunteers, it’ll be imperative to train them specific to what position or role they’ll play in your network. This can be done in a variety of ways.
Event Specific Training: Before each event it’s important that everyone knows what he/she is doing. Make sure and plan for an adequate volunteer meeting beforehand (usually, this coincides with an appreciation meal and/or drinks)
Recruitment Training: Once you’ve recruited someone for a certain role it may be easier to spend time emailing/calling/in-person meeting with them to answer their questions and give them relevant material.
Regional/Sectional Volunteer Summits: Just as we have the National Volunteer Summit for Section/Chapter Chairs in Golden every year, think about banding together with other Sections to have Regional Volunteer Summit or banding your Chapter base together to have Sectional Volunteer Summit. This is a great way to not only train those volunteers, but engage and thank them at the same time. Center it around a climbing weekend and plan out the next year of events, identify conservation projects in your section and develop a strategic plan for recruiting more chapters/volunteers/members.
Now, you’ve got some chapter leadership and a corps of volunteers trained and ready to go. It’s time to deploy.
Engaging volunteers can often be crux of developing a successful volunteer strategy. Making sure that volunteers feel that their time is being spent doing something for the organization and their local community is imperative.
Here’s some ideas for serving your Section, Chapters and communities that will get volunteers engaged in the process. Whenever possible, hand off whole events to volunteers to organize.
- Section Annual Dinner
- Regular Social Events: Happy Hours, BBQ's, Pint Night, etc.
- Crag, Bouldering Meet - Ups
- Slideshows, Movies, etc.
- Climbing Events
- Gym Nights
- Trail, Crag Stewardship projects
- New Member Outreach Project
- AAC approved Education Initiatives, Clinics, and Classes
Whatever events are planned, you want people to know about them. Here are the information channels at your disposal:
- Mailchimp - Emailing platform to reach your members
- Regional/Sectional/Chapter Facebook pages
- AAC.org Events Page
Everyone appreciates a pat on the back for a job well done, especially a volunteer. Volunteers give their time, energy, and money to help their local AAC community and we couldn't do it without them. So, thank your volunteers early and often. Toss them some SWAG, tickets, or introduce them to the keynote speaker at your event. Let's make sure our volunteers feel welcome and want to come back for more!
For more info on the various Sections and their Chapters, click on the boxes below.