American’s are not a classless society as we often think we are. This was observed by Michael Marmot in his book, The Status Syndrome, How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity. In this book he mentions that in their sports affiliations Americans break along class lines according to the size of the balls used in the games, with the smaller balls indicative of the higher status or class of society. So golf, tennis, baseball, football (American, not soccer) and then basketball designating the status of the fans. This is not true for other parts of the world, China or India or even in Europe.
This is interesting in understanding sports in America. Now polo is not mentioned, but rest assured it is so exclusive and expensive to participate in that it is also high status and very high class. The rest of the major sports played with a ball follow the pattern in the United States.
Canada’s issues in national pride, obstructed in unity by two languages seems to unite around their hockey teams. Soccer is the dominant sport in the rest of the world, bar local sports which are not world wide. Ever see a soccer fan without passion? Just as in America Green Bay Packer fans are avid, so are soccer fans around the world.
So how does this affect the empowered volunteer? Understanding the society which you are prospecting in is always a good idea. So how do you use this in your prospecting? Hopefully it was addressed in your SWOT analysis, but if not let’s try and help you out now.
When you are prospecting for members, some are going to have issues with regular times or even where the meetings or campaigns for the charity are held or some other thing. It happens with busy people and it happens with regular people too. They could be working some kind of swing shift or even working for themselves or as sales people who respond on a moments notice to help with the sale. Tons of American’s have varying schedules and that hurts your efforts.
In your SWOT analysis hopefully your group(s) put provisions for contacting community members who have influence to help your cause. The members may be friends of some of your membership and if so hopefully that person takes on the task of asking for joining your cause, whatever the capacity they can provide even if it is not joining and attending all of the functions. These include but are not limited to Mayors, city officials, county officials, members of other charities that in any way associate with your cause, and whoever else made the list.
Do not forget friendly faith groups, school officials and teachers, community colleges, universities near by, technical schools for adults, hospitals officials, and any other groups who are community minded and not in conflict with your message or cause.
Bottom line, all members of society can volunteer, some volunteer their money when they can’t volunteer their time. Both types are helpful to the cause, but the volunteer who gives of their time gains the connections and the social interactions which help their health. Use both types of volunteers to the best of your ability.