The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
Find tips to oversee the work of volunteers and practical suggestions
to supervise them. Everything from ideas to help you work more
efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers
happy and productive.
on the phone can be tricky. Here is a self-assessment for volunteers
to check their "Phone Quotient." Have the volunteer do the
assessment and then talk with them about ways to enhance weak areas
Read the statements below in the left hand column. Rate your "Phone
Quotient" by marking one of the boxes below the appropriate
column heading. The purpose of this self-assessment is to help
you determine areas where some instruction might help improve
I respond to callers by name.
I project a positive image using enthusiasm.
I speak slowly to be better understood.
I encourage questions by the caller.
I stand periodically to get blood circulation and keep my energy
I speak clearly.
I repeat names and phone numbers when taking messages.
I do not interrupt callers when they are speaking.
I practice listening outside my volunteer assignment.
I use positive language when responding to inquiries.
I thank callers.
in more information on volunteer management and supervision? Check out
bookstore for One Minute Answer to Volunteer
Management Questions, authored by Mary Kay Hood and Handling Problem
Volunteers, by Sue Vineyard and Steve McCurley.
sometimes need a boost. A big event or project can be wearing, dealing
with certain types of clients or customers can sap energy, and some
volunteer work is hard. Here are some possible activities to boost
morale for your volunteers.
regular volunteers - give them a day off. Negotiate with them and
other volunteers for a "day off" from regular service. Encourage
them to do something special; shopping, movie, golf, naps, etc.
a special "dress" day. Have a day a year when you wear
an ugly sweater, or tie, or pants, brightest shirt, or wildest hat.
Have prizes for the people with the best examples of the "special"
the Baby contest. Ask volunteers to bring in their baby pictures.
Photo copy them and return the original. Then post two or three a month
and ask people to "guess the baby." They identify who the
person is now.
There is nothing more contagious than a smile. Managers of volunteers
who smile and are upbeat bring morale up.
a humor corner. Set up a bulletin board suitable for posting cartoons.
Ask volunteers to contribute their favorite cartoons. Keep it fresh
with frequent changes. Hint: this is an excellent task for a volunteer
in the field of volunteer administration is high. Budgets get tight
and the manager of volunteers is cut to half time or assigned other
duties. Survey after survey of nonprofit and voluntary organizations
throughout the world say that the thing administrators want most is
a fully functioning corps of volunteers, managed and behaving in a
professional manner. That cannot be done without professional volunteer
management. And keeping good people means paying them well.
you are a paid manager of volunteer programs or someone who is managing
volunteers for free (but know it is time for this to be a paid position),
here are some suggestions to build the case for a pay increase or
a budget to pay the manager of volunteers.
with a review of your job description. If you don't have one,
begin the process to get one. You cannot make a case for additional
funding without it.
your responsibilities increased since you started?
there duties that should be included that are being done
but are not on the job description?
a report with facts and answers to the questions above and
do people in similar positions make?
has the size and/or complexity of the volunteer corps
changed since you started?
you increased the things volunteers do or the number of
out how your organization make raises or pay increases. Get
your request in synch with that process.
your value to the organization.
things you have done to aid the organization, beyone the
management of volunteers. Put a financial value to it.
appropriate, do a comparison with people who manage others
in the private sector.
managers of volunteers run the single-largest department
in the organization, in terms of individuals supervised.
Translate that into financial terms.
the types of things that you do to enhance your skills
to be a better manager of volunteers; attend local workshops
on volunteer administration, read Volunteer Today monthly,
attend national training conferences like the Association
for Volunteer Administration conference.
to your supervisor why you cannot be replaced.
of volunteers generally need at least one year to understand,
let alone manage, the operation of a full-scale volunteer
the manager of volunteers every two or three years is
more costly than raising a salary and keeping someone
who has proven he/she can do the job. Demonstrate this
in terms of money. For example, the first year of managing
volunteers does not usually produce dramatic results,
as the person is learning the ropes. So the organization
is paying for a near-zero gain.
a meeting to report the results of this effort.
the supervisor with the information in advance.
to facts and financials in discussing the need for a raise.
positive and direct. Never apologize. You are worth every
penny you are asking for.
if the answer is "no," do not make threats or
pout. You are a professional (or trying to be one).
"thank you" for the time the supervisor took
to hear you out.
State University offers a Volunteer Management Certification Program through
the Internet. Individuals around the world can earn a certificate in managing
or coordinating volunteers, without leaving home. For more information,
visit Volunteer Today's Portal site, Internet
Resources. Look for the Washington State University listing. There
is a hot link to their Web site.