Managing volunteers a critical task

To the editor,

Cultivating an exceptional volunteer base is a task that should be approached with a high level of both sincerity and support.

Great volunteers are recruited by great volunteer managers.

These administrators are trained in all aspects of volunteer management, participate in ongoing educational opportunities and belong to a professional network of other volunteer managers.

They also have developed a structured volunteer program that incorporates an application process, orientation, individual interviews, training and ongoing support.

Volunteer coordinators are also skilled at identifying unique talents and connecting them with real needs, creating mutually beneficial relationships between their organization and the public, and providing the flexibility necessary to bring on board volunteers from all walks of life.

Organizations that struggle are usually the same organizations missing the above pieces of the overall puzzle.

Nonprofits need to redefine their relationships with volunteers as being one of mutual respect rather than stereotyping volunteers as being “renegades” and “difficult to work with”.

Not every volunteer is appropriate to serve in a given capacity and it takes a highly skilled volunteer management professional to adhere to that policy.

Ineffective volunteers may be redirected to positions where they may be more successful or even fired when necessary.

Nicolette Ryan, community volunteer liaison, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, Dayton, Ohio

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