Test Time Here’s how to earn your CEU hour. Once you finish reading this CMP Series article, read the following material:
“Working With Committees,” an excerpt from Professional Meeting Management, Fifth Edition (PMM5), available at the CMP Series link below (or within Chapter 9 in the print edition, pp. 119–122). “Six Improvements for Your Conference Committee,” in this issue, on p. 40.
Then, to earn one hour of CEU credit, visitwww.pcma.org/convenecmp to answer questions about the information contained within this CMP Series article and the (PMM5) chapter.
The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a registered trademark of the Convention Industry Council.
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just 12 hours turned out to be “kind of overload,” Tomb said. Now, the association holds an annual two-day meeting in Dallas, which has proven to work much better. “The two- day format really helps, because it gives them time to mull over things overnight,” Tomb said. “Also, we break them into task forces or working groups, so…it is not just a big group of 30 to 35 people all throwing out ideas.” The meeting is broken up by an evening
reception, held every year at the house of a former NPGA chairman in Dallas. Tomb calls this event “the glue that holds [every- thing] together.” Not only do members from various working groups get to talk with members from other groups, cross-pollinating and expanding on ideas, but it also serves as a reminder that being on a committee is “not all business,” Tomb said. “It is also doing networking and get- ting to know our fellow members.” Tomb also pointed out that the volunteers feel special—
“something that we really need to work on.” She said: “How do you recognize people without really spending a lot of money, or how do you make it count?” One suggestion Lara made was to write a letter to a volun-
CERTIFICATION MADE POSSIBLE
teer’s supervisor, thanking that person for allowing the volun- teer the time off to attend and work on your event. Certificates are a more common form of recognition—but these mean different things to different people. One person may hang a certificate with pride on his or her office wall, while another may put it straight into the recycling bin. Another well-received idea Lara tried, the first year she was with AHA, was to send a copy of the book
Chicken Soup for the Volunteer Soul to each volunteer. Another subtle form of recognition—one that can have
recognized—because the reception is held at the private home of a prominent NPGA member, rather than at an anonymous off-site venue. But too often, recognition is overlooked, or treated as an afterthought, when it comes to volunteer committees. Anita Lara, CMP, manager of volun- teer resources and recruitment for the American Heart Asso- ciation (AHA), acknowledges that recognition is
“An awful lot of committees finish their year frustrated with a sense that they have accomplished nothing. Which should not be surprising given the fact that they did not start out to accomplish anything.”
the added benefit of improving future volunteer-committee experiences—is to survey your volunteers at the end of their term, asking them how their time on the committee went, and what else they feel future volunteers might need to serve effec- tively. As a direct result of such a survey, AHA is in the process of rolling out a resource website for its volunteers. “We do not want [our volunteers’ experience] to be just, ‘We are telling you what to do,’” Lara said. “We want their feedback.” But the most rewarding recognition,Waldron has found, is
when volunteers know that the work and time they put in had some lasting effect on the association they belong to, and clearly care for. “I think that is important to volunteers, understanding that there is reward for this at the end,”Wal- dron said. “It does not necessarily have to be financial or any- thing like that, but the idea is that there is some legacy that has been instituted.”