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.


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