ENSURING SUCCESS BY EMBRACING TODAY’S GLOBAL VOLUNTEER IT ALL STARTED SO SMALL, SO LONG AGO. FROM A SINGLE IDEA PLANTED BY MELVIN JONES A CENTURY AGO IN THE CITY OF CHICAGO TO OUR GROWING GLOBAL NETWORK OF 46,000 CLUBS AND 1.4 MILLION MEN AND WOMEN IN MORE THAN 200 COUNTRIES AND GEOGRAPHIC AREAS AROUND THE WORLD, LIONS HAVE DONE WHAT FEW OTHERS HAVE FOR THE LAST 100 YEARS: WE HAVE ENDURED. THAT ACHIEVEMENT CANNOT BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. Lions are still here today because what we do matters so much to so many. We have made great progress as Lions, but we have so much more we can achieve and so many more lives we can change. So where do we begin? By responding to the global changes facing Lions and every service organization today. THE VOLUNTEER LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING And it’s changing in profound ways. People today have more choices in how they give back to their communities than ever before. Millennials and Generation X have different attitudes about volunteering than the generations before them. Busy lifestyles mean there’s less time for everything, including volunteering. And globalization is changing the demographics of communities around the world, bringing in people of all ages, genders, races and faiths. AND WE NEED TO ENSURE THERE’S A PLACE FOR EVERYONE IN LIONS. To make sure we’re positioned for longterm growth and success, we will focus on key issues that are driving global change in volunteerism: Episodic Volunteerism – Episodic volunteers—periodic rather than ongoing volunteers—are the most common volunteers around the world. This means that we’ll have to provide greater flexibility to get volunteers engaged and keep them motivated to serve. “Causes” versus “Organizations” – Through the 1970s, people commonly joined an organization and became long-term members. But that’s changed. More and more people want to support a particular cause rather than an umbrella organization, unless it’s widely known for the particular cause or mission they want to support. Power of Technological Changes – The greatest trend affecting volunteerism is rapidly changing technologies. People can now find volunteer opportunities on smartphones, support a cause online and even raise money and awareness virtually. Technology must play a key role in connecting people through service. RESPONDING THROUGH LCI FORWARD Responding to global change requires vision. It requires the ability to see the Big Picture, to anticipate change and adapt to it. It takes a strategic plan like LCI Forward. LCI Forward is introducing marketing strategies and building new service models that will appeal to new markets and new generations of service-minded individuals. Some of the key strategies include: • Creating a new service model to complement the club model, focusing on episodic volunteers and how people contribute today. • Continued global expansion in strategic areas that offer opportunities to grow and bring new service to more people who need us. • Developing and promoting specialty clubs such as clubs centered on a social cause, profession, culture or sporting activity to give people new ways to connect and serve. • Forging service-focused corporate partnerships to engage employees and Lions in corporate social responsibility initiatives that benefit our communities and introduce Lions to men and women looking to serve. We know the only way to grow is to adapt. And the only direction to go from here is forward. We have been a global leader in service for a century, and we can continue this proud tradition by responding to the changing world around us. Nurturing the seed of service planted by our founder requires us to nurture the needs of today’s global volunteers. When we do, we can do more than endure for another century—we can thrive.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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