Volunteer for the ICE.
I recently read an article that struck a chord, it claimed: “An indication of a healthy association is finding members keen to sign up and volunteer for committee work and projects.”
So I thought it fitting to stress how critically important the role of volunteer ICE members is in delivering the Institution’s vision. Volunteering touches every aspect of ICE’s core activities; from formal governance on Council, committees and panels, to offering support as experts, speakers, ambassadors or reviewers.
As an eminent member of ICE East Midlands insightfully observed, many members are probably more willing to volunteer for a “lifed” panel - delivering a defined time bound output - rather than what they might consider a “life sentence”, for example on a standing committee.
The reality however, is we need volunteers for both, and there are opportunities to suit everyone, but we need to ensure we advertise in a way that appeals to our members.
In doing so, we need to acknowledge the barriers to participation, most significantly, time pressure. To facilitate involvement, perhaps we need to breakdown roles into clearly defined, time-limited tasks, so input is short-term and high impact. We could also increase the number of fixed-term committee positions, providing continuity through outgoing members supporting new members for a fixed period. Time can also be saved by working smarter - having volunteers input from their home or office - appealing to members who want to contribute but have a heavy schedule.
ICE’s volunteer pool needs to be constantly refreshed and members sometimes respond best to a focused request for help connecting with an individual’s expertise.
At a recent ICE East Midlands executive board meeting, while discussing the “professionalism” strand in the business plan and how to encourage engagement post qualification, it was interesting to note that three-quarters of the board members had been actively involved with the ICE as a result of a letter from former chairman, Nick Thomson, asking for support to “deliver the vision”.
Consider this my “open letter” with a request to get involved. Consider what you want to do and can contribute and contact your Regional Support Team or Committee.
It’s your Institution and you can drive change through volunteering. My involvement with volunteers over the years has been overwhelmingly positive and I have been able to observe the beneficial effect it has on individuals, both personally and professionally.
- Malcolm Jackson is regional director, ICE East Midlands