Volunteer Leadership – A Horse of a Different Color
The first time I retired, I reveled in the freedom of having successfully grown a start-up from pre-revenue to profitability. I felt complete, satisfied, and ready to work on my golf game and settle in to our new home in the Valley of the Sun. That didn’t last very long. Soon I found myself at the helm of a local non-profit, managed and run completely by volunteers.
This community-based charity was 16 years old, and while the mission was still very pertinent, the image and fundraising methods were tired. In some respects, this felt similar to a start-up in need of rebranding and a new round of investment. With the Chair position came a set of opportunities that were new to me — leading an all-volunteer Board and workforce. Also, collaborating with people who had been successful in their own careers, now retired, and wanting something to keep them engaged but not necessarily “do” any heavy lifting.
Successful executives often find themselves in charge of a non-profit — the company’s United Way campaign, the Youth Group fundraiser at church, or the golf tournament for the local Children’s Hospital.
Practice these three strategies to help you straddle the divide between corporate executive and leader of an all volunteer effort.