This is a very interesting topic. I think the main way to get people to volunteer is to make it easy and risk free. I remember the old HC days, I wasn’t very active, but I remember you were instantly greeted and there were prompts everywhere for you to take action. There was even a list of things you could do to help, first part things everyone could do without making any serious commitment like joining events, sending emails to promote it to newspapers, creating your own events and so on, and then more serious tasks that required a long term commitment and required joining the volunteer team. Why I think this is important? Because it breaks the wall between “them and us”, meaning the team and the user: we all contribute, small or big, we all make it happen togheter, we are all part of the team. And once you helped, it’s easier to feel part of something.
Of course HC is prehistoric times nowadays I guess it would involve social media, but the principle stands: everyone can help, even if it’s in a small way, everyone is important and every contribution is needed, from tech guys to the the person hosting a dinner or a walk, we are all doing this togheter.
Same happened with CS in the old times, that’s why people became advocates: it’s personal, we are not just users but we were it.
How to accomplish this? I don’t know. I guess carefully planned communication and marketing. The thing is: in here, at the moment, there’s no integration between the team and the users, there’s no way for us to contribute other that this forum, unless you are a developer or something like that, wich I’m not. I am aware that it’s because we don’t have a website yet, and I love all the work you guys are doing, I’m just saying that this is hard to accomplish untill we have a platform everyone can contribute to