Last night, I was unanimously* elected to a third term as president of Lake Park Estates Neighborhood Association, Inc.
That quarterly meeting went well: I did little talking. I had people lined up for each of these tasks:
- Community policing representative from our local police substation (arranged by our crime watch chair)
- Discussion of Volunteers In Patrol program initiative by our crime watch chair
- Discussion of a nascent crime camera committee by its chair
- Report on our membership drive by our treasurer (we’re at 33% of the neighborhood, the highest I have ever seen it since I lived here!)
- Running the election (two people I appointed at the last minute)
- Room arrangements made by our VP
- Snacks arranged by our Welcome Committee chairwoman
It was a well oiled machine for a small neighborhood association.
I know that the “textbook answer” to leadership is to help people be motivated to take on projects. However, when talking about small volunteer organizations, translating that into practice is an art. Small nonprofits have scarce resources and limited zones of success (too many parties to please), and we compete for volunteer attention. In other words, you have to provide an unusual amount of motivation and direction to achieve success.
I wrote “art” because leadership techniques vary wildly depending on personalities, the organization’s mission, community support, etc.
I really appreciate people who are given direction and take off with it. At the meeting, I recognized three people who did a fantastic job:
- A lady who started a pet watch program from scratch.
- A lady who revived a defunct welcome committee.
- Our treasurer who provided exceptional support for our membership drive.
The award is sincere but has a farscial title: YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITY. Here’s what it looked like:
The reference is from a South Park episode named Chickenlover. I did a bad imitation of Cartman’s “authority” line, making a fool of myself. The attendees enjoyed it even though most didn’t get it.
*One person wrote in Cartman for president but scratched it out and voted for me. Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I was the only nominee for president.