For years I have been encouraging managers of volunteer programs to function as in-house consultants; building commitment, capacity and competency of all staff that interface with volunteers in their organization. For too many years, I have seen the leaders of volunteer programs laboring diligently, trying single-handedly to manage volunteer programs in organizations where there was little buy-in, support or appreciation for their efforts. This has taken its toll on them and on the programs they have led.
Training tools/modules have been developed to help managers of volunteer programs train all staff in skills needed to work effectively with volunteers. But, staff training alone does not solve the problem. Although upper management is increasingly endorsing staff training in supervision of volunteers, they themselves are not always modeling good volunteer management at the top levels of the organization nor are they understanding and performing the roles necessary for them to contribute to a strong volunteer-friendly organization.
Without a synergistic exchange among the management team (including a manager of volunteer programs or those who provide shared leadership for the volunteer program), the organization will never achieve an optimal volunteer program.
Betty Stallings makes the case for developing a volunteer program management team, with solid advice for convincing agency executives this is best for the organization – and for them personally.