Ideas for NOT getting more volunteers

This week, I want to share some smart ideas about NOT getting more volunteers. In with all the ideas about getting more volunteers were two people who talked instead about priorities–either their own priorities or setting priorities for volunteer projects. That struck me as pretty smart here are those two emails.


Hi Becky,

I see this in my volunteering, both in NJ and NC — I used to pitch in and do everything but got burned out. I eventually learned to step back and let other people work, too. I also see it with my clients (owners of digital marketing agencies), who get burned out when they try to do everything themselves.

Your latest newsletter inspired a new blog post: (Let volunteers vote with their feet on which projects and ideas get done!)

I’ve never lived in a rural area (always in metro areas of between 1 and 20 million people) but I enjoy your newsletter — plenty of transferable lessons for any business.


Becky, I love your posts, thank you for letting me participate.  Because I read your story “on the plane”  I am changing two slides I will use when I speak to the Paonia, CO Chamber of Commerce meeting next week.  I have been a big city boy all my life, but have always gotten on a plane and then rented a car to drive to a small town to work with independent pharmacists.  So, to your serious request for ideas on too many ideas, not enough people/resources/time/money I would make this comment.  That is what management is all about – selecting from various options and choosing to support the ones with the most positive impact.  This is a bit, but only a bit easier in a commercial operation where people get paid and listen to their boss (or at least know they need to pretend to do so).  For a volunteer, civic or not-for profit it is a bit tougher but still must be done.  Someone needs to have the guts, ability, diplomacy to say, “that’s a great idea boy would that be fun/exciting/beneficial; but!!!”

Every organization needs to find ways to not do something so it can do something else very well.  Less but better is more.  More is less when it comes to being effective.

I hope this helps in some small way.  Thanks for your leadership and passion.  I hope we meet some day.
God Bless
Elder Bruce Kneeland
Volunteer Senior Missionary
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

So. Great thoughts. What if the problem really isn’t about enough people, it’s about doing the right things?

I’ll be away from email for the next couple of weeks, so I’ll see you again at the end of the month.

Keep making your small town better,

PS – Have you caught the 7 Strengths of Small Town Businesses series? Catch up right here.