I passed a friend in the hallway of my church on Sunday, and I nearly fell over laughing. He had attended a conference over the weekend and was decked out head to foot in branding from that event. He was wearing a hat, a jacket, and a t-shirt. If you didn’t know before, now you did. He had been a part of that conference. And he was proud of it.
It’s called “basking in the reflected glory,” and it’s the feeling of publicly announcing one’s associations with successful others or being a part of something you find remarkable. It plays on our psychological need for social identity and group identification.
You see it in sports the day after a big win. Team shirts, hats, and jackets appear in full force. People are proud of their team, and they want to show it. They wear the apparel proudly because they want you to know they are a part of something special. They are claiming the win as their own.
Now, imagine having volunteers like that. Picture your team sporting a t-shirt, sweater, or hat with your logo. Envision them posting on their social media about your company’s big win. What if your team was so fanatical about your organization that they acted like living advertisements?
It’s possible to get your team to that level of fandom. It just takes a little strategy. One way to attract that kind of support is by focusing on the idea of BELONGING.
Creating an environment where people feel they belong right away is critical. Keep the emphasis on welcoming and wanting people. Make them feel a part of the group as soon as they come. Use words like “Our,” “We,” and “Us.” Engage with everyone in the circle, so they all feel included. Not everyone has to partake in conversations or activities, but be sure to make everyone FEEL like they are participants, even if it is just asking someone to nod or express an opinion. “That project was tough, but I’m glad our team figured out how to solve the problem, right Amber?” The action of including people in conversations and activities gives them a stake in the group. Those feelings of acceptance convert to volunteers who are loyal and passionate about your brand.
VOLUNTEER UNIVERSITY NEWS
We recently released our new book: VOL U 101: Introduction to Volunteering. It may sound like an introductory course in volunteer management, but don’t let the title fool you. The book covers everything from volunteer recruitment to retention and everything in between. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone who leads teams. Get your copy HERE.