More effective leadership for all-volunteer groups

If your Democratic club is coming up on an election of officers, here are a few things to think about. Like a lot of all-volunteer organizations, Democratic clubs can be sadly dysfunctional. Leadership is too easily captured by the loudest or pushiest person around. Self-important individuals suck all the energy out of the organization, demanding attention for themselves rather than the bigger mission of winning elections and building a stronger party and a stronger nation.

If you have not seen these forces at work in the organizations you participate in, you have been fortunate — and ought to be vigilant to keep them from creeping in.

Even if you haven’t seen negative patterns in play, motivating volunteers to do actual productive work can be challenging. It’s not like, an employer-employee relationship where the person who fails to do the work risks losing a source of income. A volunteer’s pay is $0 either way. Instead, you must dispense other sorts of rewards such as recognition and engage people with camaraderie.

I went looking for a few resources on better management of all-volunteer organizations, and here is what I came up with. None of these are specifically directed at political groups, but the principles could apply to any volunteer organization.

Author: David F. Carr

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