The relationship of community leadership

I’m continually reminded that each person’s interest in volunteering is different. It’s different based on a number of factors, including such things as family upbringing personal surroundings, education, social status, employment, career path, age and personal/professional goals. Each one of us is different, yet we all share something in common…a better world.

Midway through a presentation I was giving on community leadership this evening, I caught myself wondering how each person was interpreting my comments. “What’s their voluntary interest” and “what role does volunteering play in their future” bounced in my head. Most of the audience of aspiring community leaders had very little experience as volunteers, which made my analysis intriguing. Here I was, a person so passionate about community leadership, trying to preach the good word, while conducting an analysis of his audience. It was both exciting and eye-opening.

What I concluded was this: each of us develops personal relationships with his/her own benevolence.

For the person interested in becoming active with the community, the process can be similar to dating. There are many organizations affecting different causes…most all of which are led by caring and dedicated leaders. Based on personal interests, passions, and connections, some organizations will fit more than others. Providing leadership in different ways, from general operations assistance to program/event leadership to skills-based support to board governance, it’s a process of discovery, peaks-valleys, and excitement. And as I shared this evening, it’s similar to romance.

As with dating, some of us will travel the path on our own, without assistance, until we find “the one”…the organization which presents the ideal fit. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that journey.

For others, getting set up (like a blind date) or using a little guidance (like matchmaking) there may be strategy involved. Recognizing the causes which link the greatest interest and passion, and identifying which organizations affect those particular causes, will provide the volunteer-seeker with the right foundation.

There are many organizations in our communities looking for great leaders, who represent diverse backgrounds and bring different skill sets. That’s the excitement that volunteerism brings – you never know how the relationship will look. More than not, it’s all positive, as we’re all seeking greater things for our communities. From where I stand, it’s incredibly rewarding to watch (or help create) successful matches come together – everyone wins – especially those who are ultimately affected by the organization’s missions, programs, and…volunteer leadership.