Truth be told, after sitting thorough many hundreds of volunteer events and meetings, you develop a serious conviction that at least half of the administrative work assigned to volunteers is completely unnecessary. It exists because it always has or because nobody bothered to look for another way. The first instinct ought to be hunt down the unnecessary and kill it. In governance, smart people can find a lot to stop doing and nobody will ever miss it.
Some things, however, just have to be. There are numerous volunteers who think planning discussions are boring - clearly something that remains necessary however dull they find it. When the dull is indeed necessary, reinvent it.
One option is to reassign to staff the work the volunteers don't like or don't want to do. It is a terrible waste of volunteer time, and a waste of available resources having volunteers do anything the staff can do as well and in many cases better. Reserve volunteers for work that requires their skill set or experience essential to get the best results. That presumes you have staff resources to pull it off - a condition many associations and association chapters don't enjoy. Where that's the case, there are other changes you can make to alleviate volunteer boredom.
Another possibility is to more carefully match the volunteers with the roles they will play. Not everyone has the same take on what is boring. People with highly creative jobs in their professional life are more likely to embrace creative association volunteer work. Dreamers and visionaries are far less likely to rhapsodize over budgets than folks who are by profession financial managers. And there are those souls who actually enjoy highly detailed work like writing bylaws amendments. It's a matter of giving people work that suits them. Associations committed to volunteer development are facilitating that by developing member data elements to track volunteer role preferences, skills and experience. Having that data at hand makes it easier to match volunteers with human resource needs.
For meeting agenda content where the dull can't be eliminated, it can at least be alleviated by interspersing the boring bits among the more interesting ones; always starting and ending with an interesting one.
Another trend on the upswing is to select and groom chairs who have the personality to lift people's spirits and fully engage colleagues regardless of what kind of work is at hand. That requires an organizational culture that sees chairs not just as agenda managers but as people managers, recruiting and appointing chairs accordingly.
Yet another approach is to lighten up volunteer gatherings by coupling them with some fun. That takes some real creativity but can have huge payoffs. Use short, entertaining games and contests as starter exercises to put some life into committee meetings. A recently observed meeting was preceded with 15 minutes of 'Committee Jeopardy' where questions and answers were worded humorously but dealt with topical areas on the committee's agenda. The volunteers laughed their way through it, and it engaged them in ways other than the boring agenda approach.
Some associations include some form of personal or professional development activity that either precedes or follows volunteer engagements, adding value to offset the less than inspiring work.
There's an association chapter, for example, that couples volunteer business meetings with community service events. Tricky, but they made it work and the business meetings are offset by something the volunteers find more satisfying than the business meeting alone would have been.
The solutions are as unlimited as the will you have to eliminate the unnecessary and the creativity you can muster to jazz things up.