Leaders in the voluntary sector have a knack of engaging and motivating people to work for free. Marla Tuchinsky and Thomas Hughes find out how these strategies can be successful in a corporate setting
Imagine if every December you had to recruit, motivate and organize 7,000 volunteers working in two-hour shifts to sort, wrap and correctly tag almost 67,000 holiday presents for kids – a specific present requested and delivered to each specific child. And that’s after having collected, assembled and distributed close to 15,000 back-to-school backpacks just a few months before. Queen Elf of Family Giving Tree, Jenn Cullenbine, and her team do this year after year. They are so successful at getting people to donate their time, effort and money, that Cullenbine actually has more volunteers every year than she can use.
Alternatively, imagine you were responsible for constructing a new church building, but had little money to pay for most of the work on the $3 million project. Yet, you still managed to get it built on time, on budget and with half the labour coming from people who didn’t even belong to your congregation. Reverend David Bradbury of the Anglican Church did just that.
How do these leaders get people to work hard, doing what needs to be done, in their personal time, repeatedly and for free when many managers cannot even coax their paid employees to do the jobs they were hired for?