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The 5 Stages of Volunteering Expand / Collapse
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 1:09 AM



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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The 5 Stages of Volunteering

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Post #427257
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 5:46 AM

Old Hand

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Great topic Steve!

The Richmond Virginia Developer Community suffered when a charismatic leader got too busy with other things. Since then, the leadership has worked hard to put leadership committees in place. The committees have grown organically and are working great!

We've found when folks are ready to get involved, they ask about more involvement. That's how we've grown leadership for the Richmond .Net Users Group, Richmond SQL Server Users Group, and Richmond Code Camps (now planning RCC5 - can you believe it? Five!).

We build in enough capacity to sustain operations and events even if we lose 60 - 75% of the leadership. This happens, it's best to accept it. Last year, we had someone step back because of a fire in their apartment. How do you plan for something like that? The truth is we can't. But we can be realistic in our expectations of leaders. It's all a volunteer effort, after all.
This also dovetails into sucession planning. The developer community should be able to continue if it loses someone - anyone - no matter how much of a "rock star" that person is.
In addition, it's the responsibility of every leader - especially if they're a rock star - to mentor and grow new leaders. It should be the top priority. Things are going to change - the group / community needs to be able to go on with minimal interruption.

Since we implemented this philosophy, we've seen steady growth. It's been just over two years, and things show no signs of slowing!

:{> Andy

Andy Leonard
Data Philosopher, Enterprise Data & Analytics
Post #427374
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 6:03 AM


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One of my core beliefs is that it's easier to keep a group going if you keep the overhead low and stick to a formula. I spend perhaps 45 minutes a week on business, and probably an extra hour the week of meetings to get things ready, and I count on volunteers to help out with the running of the meeting (sign in, order pizza, clean up, etc), but not as much in between meetings.

Steve, I think you're on the money about people rotating in and out of groups. It's normal and everyone should understand that!

The time commitment part I think relates to perceived value. Our group ( meets bi monthly. We did this originally to reduce the stress of finding speakers, but it turns out our members love it because it does reduce their time commitment without making them feel guilty about skipping meetings!

There's huge value in having a chance to sit in a room with people from the same profession but different employers and just talk. Not everyone sees that, and not all groups do a good job of fostering it, but it can easily be as valuable as whatever technical topic is presented. If user groups work at providing value - think of themselves as a mini business - I think they can survive and even thrive.

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Post #427385
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2007 9:46 PM



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Now isn't that odd... aren't those the same stages as a job? ;)

--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

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