Don't ask me to volunteer if you're not going to use me

I received an email from a software company whose software I use. The software vendor asked “Can we share your story” and went on to explain that they have hired a writer to write about the successes of some of their clients. So far, so good.

Then the email goes on to say: “…if you don’t hear from us, it doesn’t mean we don’t think your story is worth sharing! But we’re getting a ton of interest in this, there’s only one [writer]…”

In other words, send us your story, and if it’s better than the other stories, we’ll use it. If not, too bad, we won’t even give you the common courtesy of saying “Thanks, but no thanks.”

How do you ask your members to volunteer? Do you send broadcast emails like the one above? Or do you target the message based on who the member is, based on their interests, based on how THEY would value the volunteer opportunity? Better yet, if you really want them to volunteer, call or send a very personalized email. Do NOT ask everyone and then in the same sentence say “Oh, by the way, we may not even respond to your volunteering!”


About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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