Thursday, May 5, 2011

How do you become a Volunteer Manager?

Since discovering it just over 12 months ago I have to say I love blogging. For me it’s a bit of a hobby. I get to write, express a view, have some fun along the way and if I am giving encouragement to anyone then that’s a bonus.

What I find very interesting is that I am able to track a number of things such as from what counties people are visiting, what pages they read most and how they got here. I am particularly interested in how they found me through a Google search. For example I know that a lot of people find me by googling “Thank you speeches for volunteers” and others from googling “Volunteer Management jokes” Please resist your own attempt at humour there!

Other examples are Google searches for “DJ Cronin” “Volunteer Management” and “leadership” etc.

Today I found one that prompted this particular post. Someone had found my blog after googling “How do you become a Volunteer Manager”

It stopped me in my tracks really and caused a bit of introspection.

Because really, It’s quite a good question and one that I hadn’t really thought of before. For so much of my writing and advocacy work in this sector is aimed at people already in the field.

I am confident many of us are asked “How do you become a volunteer?” I know I have. Truth be known though I’ve never been asked “How do you become a Volunteer Manager?”

If you are asked this question tomorrow how would you respond?

I contemplated this question as I took the train ride home tonight. In my own state of Queensland here in Australia Volunteering Queensland offers a Certificate IV in Volunteer Program Co-ordination.

So I guess part of my answer would be to advise someone to take this educational pathway into Volunteer Management. Would that answer suffice?

This brings up many questions:
•Would you point to an educational pathway into Volunteer Management?
•Does such a pathway exist where you live?
•Are such qualifications necessary in order to become a Volunteer Manager?
•Can anyone become a Volunteer Manager?

As with other some other blogs I write I sometimes feel that a book could be written on these matters!

Stay with me as I try my own googling experiment. What happens if I Google “How to become a Volunteer Manager” I got 10 Results! And guess what?? All of these results come from the same website! Out of interest – when I googled “How to become an HR Manager” I got 9,300 results! Hello? “How to become a volunteer coordinator” got me 7 results by the way.
And what type of results did I get when I googled “How to become a Volunteer Manager/Coordinator”?

Interesting. To say the least.

Employment Crossing, a website in the US, which appears to be a job site, gives over a full page under the title “Volunteer Manager Jobs – How to Become a Volunteer Manager”

Here’s an excerpt:

“The volunteer manager jobs are full of challenges. This is because it requires interfacing with different kinds of people doing pro bono work in a non-profit organization. Volunteerism is a noble act and although all of us are called to do voluntary work at one point in our life or two, only few among us are blessed to be given the chance to actually become a volunteer. Volunteer manager careers are also varied depending largely on the organization but in general, volunteer managers are the ones responsible in the recruitment, training, recognition, and support of volunteers in an organization.”

I see.

I could argue a few things here but might save it for another blog or wait to see some of your own comments.

They go on….”Some organizations may prefer to hire volunteer managers that have an undergraduate or graduate degree in non-profit management or someone with extensive experience in marketing or maybe someone who has exceptional communication and people skills.”

I get some of that but not all. And finally

“Qualifications needed for volunteer manager jobs include experience volunteering, managing a volunteer database, team leading personality, and knows how to choose volunteers. Being involved in the program will result to volunteers respecting your volunteer work and urge them to work harder.”


So this is the only information available on the World Wide Web for someone who Googles “How to become a Volunteer Manager” Don’t even bother searching the “How to become a volunteer coordinator?” You’ll get nowhere.

Because of the title of my post and my several references to “How to become a Volunteer Manager” I expect that many more people who Google that question will get to this blog. Simply because there is hardly anything else there.

Is this a good reflection on our field, on us?

In our echo chambers, as we debate this and that about our profession and this and that about volunteer definitions etc, do we forget that there might be people looking into our goldfish bowl as we swim around with our issues, who think “I wonder what’s going on in there?”

The lady or gentleman who googled “how do I become a Volunteer Manager’?” would be no wiser after that search. There’s something a little sad about that. What does that say about us? And what can we do to rectify that situation?

And what would you say to anyone who asks you “how do you become a Volunteer Manager?”


  1. Good question. Our members come from all different types of backgrounds.

    On a related note… A new book has been published recently on Volunteer Management entitled- Volunteer Administration: Professional Practice. It is considered by many to be the first comprehensive textbook on the Volunteer Management profession, and is endorsed by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration.

    I think this is a significant step towards answering the question of how to become a Volunteer Manager. Volunteer Management is still a relatively young field, and the research and history just aren’t there. This text book is a step towards developing an educational framework around our field of work. That at least can be considered encouraging.

  2. Thanks for your reply ADVR. I did not have much knowledge on the publication you mentioned. Thanks for pointing this out. For those of you interested in finding out more you can copy and post this link

  3. As a new 'Volunteer Manager', though that is not my job title at the moment, I came to the role through being a volunteer myself for many years and then managing volunteers as part of another position. I love working with volunteers, though it can be challenging. I think the primary skills required are empathy and problem solving skills. I have been one of those people googling Volunteer management and that is how I came across this blog. I am finding the info here useful and enlightening!
    keep up the good work.

  4. hi Jennyv...sorry I didn’t get back to you much earlier...because your perspective is vital to our sector. As a newbie we would love to hear more about your journey. What does it feel like to be a new volunteer Manager? Do you feel supported by your work colleagues and by your sector?

    Do you consider yourself part of a profession? Have you formed networks? Were you aware of networks? You googled Volunteer Management: what else did you get and discover and what were your impressions?

    Very often we hear the voice of those enshrined in the sector.

    My challenge for you is to post a bit more here sharing your honest views of what it is like entering the sector and your first impressions.

    Because I know we can learn from it.

    Welcome to volunteer Management Jennyv.

    If you need to discuss anything you have my email


Featured Post

The simple act of kindness.

How we learn from our children! This post was inspired by an act of my daughter. When her mum arrived at work today she found this...