Monthly Archives: June 2015

From Matchmaker to Counsellor and Everything In Between

From Matchmaker to Counsellor and everything in between? What is the role of a Volunteer Administrator?

What is our actual role in developing and managing volunteer programs?

Why are our roles so diverse and our titles so different? Are we our own worst enemies?

The needs and expectations of a volunteer program are so diverse that it is hard to define a specific category for the field.

There are many hats that we wear and it is important to define these roles for not only our own needs but also to communicate them to our supervisors and the leaders in our organization.

We are matchmakers, gatekeepers, risk management specialists, counsellors, sales and marketing experts, facilitators, evaluators, special events coordinators and the list goes on.

So what are the steps to plant seeds of success?

Below are some of the core competencies that we need to look at:

  • Managing People
    • Supervision and Human Resources
  • Managing Projects and Programs
    • Management and Operations
  • Leading Organizations
    • Leadership
  • Managing Self
    • Our Traits and Core Competencies

How can you reinforce that you are the subject matter expert and leader in your organization?

  • Keep up to date with current research on volunteerism and volunteer management
  • Ensure that your volunteer program meets the appropriate standards and practices of the field
  • Educate yourself through volunteer management/leadership courses and build on your skills
  • Learn more about what is happening elsewhere in your organization
  • Engage conversations from top –down
  • Develop concrete infrastructures to support volunteers
  • Take it to the next level and challenge yourself
  • Look for a mentor or a coach to help guide your leadership plan
  • Evaluate and make a plan for growing and communicating your program goals
  • Understand where you/the organization is at this moment and reach out to your leadership with ideas
  • Involve other program staff in your planning
  • Understand where you want to be, when, why and how you can get there
  • Plan development towards where you want to be
  • Communicate, involve, enable and facilitate others

Make a plan, set some goals, involve others and keep reading articles like these to help you when you have hit that wall.


Goal Setting: Do you have them, do you reach them?

Setting goals for your volunteer program are key to creating successes that you can manage and celebrate.

How many of us get stuck in the day-to-day management of our volunteer programs and don’t really think about where we want to be in 6 months, 1 year or 3 years. How many of actually create a strategic plan for our departments?

It is time to consider doing this if you have not done so already.

There are many tools and resources available to read on strategic planning and setting goals but there are some key points to remember

  • setting goals in not a solitary activity: you need involve others (stakeholders),
  • ensure that your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, accountable, reasonable and timely)
  • review your current state and know where you want to go (try a project logic model exercise)
  • celebrate small milestones (tell stories, show the quantitative and qualitative data)
  • know what you want to accomplish and make sure that you have the tools to do so (be reasonable)
  • create an action plan with specific dates to ensure that you are moving forward (GAANT charts help)
  • know who needs to be involved in the process (RACI charts help)
  • get advice and talk it out, setting goals can be hard for many people especially when you are stuck
  • ask for professional help if needed (having external expertise helps move activities along)
  • don’t be discouraged if you get sidetracked (create a colourful chart that you can look at regularly) just get back on the path
  • get out of your comfort zone and set a goal in an area of your volunteer program that you have not focussed on in the past
  • talk about your path to your leadership team, let them know where you are and where you want to be (they are your voices at the top)
  • finally, keep reaching and challenging yourself and your volunteer program, that is how great volunteer initiatives are born

For more information or consultation, contact me at

Upcoming Volunteer Management Workshop (Volunteer Management 101)

Volunteer Management 101 for the 21st Century Volunteer
June 17, 2015 in Toronto*
This full-day workshop will help volunteer administrators who want to re-energize and re-evaluate their programs
Click Here to Register!
The world of volunteer management is rapidly changing. As administrators of volunteers, we need to understand and develop systems to work with the “new” volunteer such as those found in schools, corporations and community groups, while still supporting our “traditional” volunteers. This exciting workshop will take the basic model of volunteer management and shake it up for administrators who want to re-energize and re-evaluate their programs.

Join us and learn:
1. how to respond to the changing volunteer environment
2. the key ingredients in the volunteer management cycle
3. targeted recruitment strategies
4. what motivates volunteers
5. effective screening tools
6. how to revitalize your volunteer recognition program

This workshop is appropriate for new administrators of volunteers, and those looking to re-energize their programs.

Date and Time: June 17, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: 970 Lawrence Ave. W, Suite 104 Toronto, ON M6A 3B6 Map and Directions

Workshop Fee: $169. (includes materials and lunch)
Special OCSA Member Workshop Fee: $155

Registration Options:
1. Click here to register online
2. Please print and fax this form to 416-256-3021

Please review our cancellation policy before registering.

About Your Workshop Leader:
Lori Gotlieb is the President of Lori Gotlieb Consulting as well as the Co-Developer and Curriculum Lead for Humber College Volunteer Management Leadership Certificate program. Lori is an internationally published author and and was a contributing author of the recently published academic book The Volunteer Management Handbook, 2nd Edition. She has worked in a variety of social service sectors in volunteer management. Lori has facilitated numerous workshops to many different audiences across Canada. She is the 2012 Recipient of the Linda Buchanan Award for Excellence in Volunteer Administration

*Not close to Toronto? No worries, we can come to you, anywhere in the province. Please contact for more information.

Questions? Please feel free to contact us at—june-17.html