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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

V.T. readers ask questions about volunteer management and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com

~December 2003~ Topics

Dear Connie:

Please send me some concrete reasons the volunteer coordinator should be part of the management team. Volunteers serve in every part of this organization. I'm trying to decide if I really want to advocate for this designation and the responsibility that accompanies it. Thanks so much!



Dear Anonymous:

I encourage you to think seriously about advocating to become part of your management team. Regardless of any additional responsibility, which probably means you’ll have to attend more meetings (yikes!), you’ll find that it is in fact easier to do your job, it will be more rewarding, and you’ll grow professionally and personally. Now let me jump off my soapbox (grin) and give you some “concrete reasons” why I think a volunteer coordinator should be part of an organization’s management team:

1. You will receive information first hand and not filtered through anyone. This means that you can respond on the spot with information needed for decision-making.
2. You are the voice of volunteers during critical discussions and decision making. This means that you can identify activities or plans immediately that will impact volunteers and resources necessary for implementation.

3. Most likely, you manage the largest “staff” in your organization (dozens or hundreds of volunteers) that works in all parts of the organization. So, in order to do your job most effectively and help achieve the organization’s goals, you need to be a direct part of the process that affects and utilizes your “staff.”

4. And then there is the financial impact of the volunteer program. While the program isn’t generally a direct revenue center, it comprises a corps of loyal donors, potential contributors, contacts to significant contributors, and last, but not least, a cost saving resource for your organization.

5. You are a multi-purpose resource for your organization because you have experience in:
  • adult education (volunteer training)
  • public speaking (presentations to the community)
  • marketing (recruiting)
  • financial management (you have to build and monitor several budgets)
  • supervision (remember, you probably have the largest “staff”)
  • special events (your annual recognition event or even a fundraiser)
  • publishing (brochure, invitations, etc.)
  • communications (see all of the above!)
So, why not be in a management position to share your skills and experiences with your colleagues?

6. You are a leader already! One of my colleagues, Mary Merrill, says it best. “As leaders, volunteer administrators facilitate relationships and support systems that allow volunteers to make significant contributions to the organization's mission.” (http://www.merrillassociates.net)

7. You are in the unique position of understanding all of your organizations services, needs, and volunteer opportunities. As a member of the management team, you can help avoid duplication of efforts and identify gaps in services or activities to meet your organization’s mission.

8. The volunteer program gains rightful power and influence when you are part of the management team.
9. You are a change agent because you are constantly reinventing yourself and the volunteer program to meet changing needs in today’s environment.

10. Finally, one of my clients recently said it best – the volunteer program is the organizational integrator. Since volunteers serve in most every area and activity of an organization, it means they are an essential resource for the organization to achieve its mission.

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Do you have a question? Now you too can ask an expert!

Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources, has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association for Volunteer Administration.

Send your questions to Connie at AskConnieP@cs.com.
Connie Pirtle
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
10103 Edward Avenue * Bethesda, MD 20814 * VOICE: 301-530-8233 * FAX: 301-530-8299

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