Plan for Success… by planning your succession

20 Mar 2013 By Roger Devine

Chairing an auction is a huge commitment and an even bigger job - you are a hero for stepping up!

You took it on because you have a heart for the cause.

Your successor will take it on for the same reason; yet, despite the many intrinsic benefits of volunteerism, finding that right person can be a challenge.

It’s a bit of a Catch 22: few want to take on a leadership role without lots of help, but it takes leadership to get lots of help!

Fortunately, it is surprisingly easy to find willing volunteers for tasks that are well-defined and require limited time… which is the secret to recruiting next year’s team.

If you can’t readily find someone to take over the top spot – Auction Chair or Procurement Chair – focus your efforts on filling the smaller jobs. After all, who wouldn’t rather take over a well-run organization than a startup?

For instance, rather than scouting for a Procurement Chair, try asking for something defined and specific, like “Will you help support the auction by delivering this letter to these 3 businesses next week? or “Will you help us in our planning by making follow-up calls to these 3 businesses next week?”

Keep this in mind while recruiting next year’s team:

Make it Personal

Rather than posting flyers or mailing a long list, if you can make a personal ask the odds of getting a volunteer commitment increase dramatically. Teambuilding is all about relationships, so take the time to initiate personal conversations with people with whom you share a commitment to your school or organization and who you think would make good team members. When you ask for a commitment, be sure to also point out the reasons you think this person would be a great fit for the team, such as leadership skills, enthusiasm, teambuilding, etc.

Define the Roles

Increase your pool of possible team members by making each role less intimidating/overwhelming. Define and limit the responsibilities of each role, to spread the work around so none of the volunteers suffer burnout. Sneak peak: our next blog series will define these roles for you, so stay tuned…

Create Institutional Memory

This is a fancy way of saying get good at keeping track of everything related to your auction… so next year’s team has a track to run on. This must include a list of key team members who worked on this year’s auction, along with a clear and brief description of their roles, so next year’s team knows who might have answers to important questions.

Remember, many hands make light work.

That’s why we’re here,