Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

A place to provide all of NCI and NCI leadership with questions, suggestions, comments, or any other kind of feedback.
Post Reply
Trinity Coulter
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:09 pm

Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

Post by Trinity Coulter » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:38 pm

"We must become the change we want to see." - Mahatma Gandhi

I easily could have titled this article, "Managing Volunteers." I don't believe that you manage' volunteers, I believe you lead' volunteers. There are two kinds of resources for a non-profit, financial resources and human resources. Volunteers can be one of the greatest resources for a non-profit. A volunteer resource is probably the greatest resource because a volunteer can literally do everything that an employee can do, except for no pay and without any kind of a commitment and no strings attached. Non-profits are faced with a problem when they work hard to recruit volunteers, because once they find them they have to find a way to keep them. How they keep volunteers is by practicing excellent volunteer leadership. Below I will outline several ways to improve your volunteer leadership potential.

"Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their jobs done." - Peter Drucker

Back in August of 2007 I volunteered a day of my precious and valuable time at the local Kaiser Permanente health fair day. This is where Kaiser gave free health care to anyone who had a valid U.S. ID card. I showed up at 6:45 AM ready for a great day of service and volunteering. By 9:30 AM I was ready to leave, not because I wasn't having fun, but because I had not done a single thing. I was sitting around because there was no job for me to do. Everyone else was busy, and I found myself to be helpless since there was nothing that I could assist with. I quickly realized that an important part of leading volunteers is to keep them busy. Make sure you give them some kind of responsibility that they can be in charge of. Then comes another effective volunteer leadership principle, never keep the same volunteer doing the same thing for more than about three hours. All tasks and jobs are fun at first. Even a job at McDonald's is fun for the first couple of weeks, then it gets boring and old because you're doing the same thing day after day. Be sure to keep their jobs fresh & interactive, never let them get bored.

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - George Patton

When leading volunteers we need to be a good example for them to follow. Whatever job that you are going to put your volunteers in charge of, it's best to do it first, and show them what you want done. However there is an exception, you don't have to show them 'how' to do it, just show them 'what' to do. Volunteers will find a way to get it done, and letting them mess up a couple of times is what builds character and will make them more competent at what they do.

"People are more easily led than driven." - David Harold Fink

Leading volunteers is a difficult task. You must approach them in a way that you can give them a job that they can do, and trust them to do it. It's best to place your volunteers by matching them to the skills and abilities that they have. You don't want to give a volunteer a job of building a new website, when it's a 65 year old lady who has been an accountant for 35 years. Give them a job that they will enjoy doing where they also have some skill and experience. If you focus on leading' volunteers instead of managing' them, you will have soon develop a successful base of volunteers that continue to come back to your non-profit to help make a difference.

Afon
NCI Officer
Posts: 154
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:18 pm

Re: Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

Post by Afon » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:03 pm

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - George Patton

General Patton never worked at my place of work. The usual refrain is 'We haven't been trained', and some of their 'ingenuity' is extremely baffling and can take quite a bit of work to fix. :?
Any sufficiently advanced information is indistinguishable from noise.

Trinity Coulter
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

Post by Trinity Coulter » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:31 pm

I think George Patton was echoing the same idea found in this quote.

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

SHIPPOU OUD
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:50 pm
Location: Clarksville IN USA

Re: Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

Post by SHIPPOU OUD » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:20 pm

Train the folks how to do the job, and let them do it, with out micro management, usually yields the best results.

Most folks in NCI like helping folks, with out "reward". Not much variety. A Helper can expect the same thing day in and day out. Same with LO, and teacher. I can not see much "mixing it up".

I've been with NCI for a while now, and still like the "job" at paw, though I wish I had a stable internet and schedule so that I could nudge my way back into teaching.
I love teaching folks who are new, though at the moment internet / scheduling problems are a major problem.
The reward in teaching is to see the light bulb in the student turn on, and a whole new world is opened to them.

I have a rhetorical question
You ever note some folks give you directions / instructions in very simplistic style, almost like your mentally challanged?


I've noted this, and irked me some times , until I realized I do it to. After answering the same question over and over, with different folks having different responses, I've found I word my answers in the most simplistic / detailed way I can to avoid what I call the "what are you talking about?" responses.
SL Land Specialist
Click me for my blog ( non SL related )

Quite Oh
NCI Officer
Posts: 180
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:21 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

Post by Quite Oh » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:58 am

Trinity Coulter wrote:"We must become the change we want to see." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their jobs done." - Peter Drucker

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." - George Patton

"People are more easily led than driven." - David Harold Fink
Quite's Private voice:
I note a certain irony. Has the gentle reader become the change she wants to see? Is she making it difficult for the board to get the job done? Are people telling us how to do things rather than allowing us our ingenuity? Are we being insistently driven to take action, rather than being led by example?

I wonder how many others who have been beating the board with their chosen way are in effect applying them to themselves first?

I sometimes consider that another may often be a reflection of our own selves.

Afon
NCI Officer
Posts: 154
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 5:18 pm

Re: Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

Post by Afon » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:23 pm

'for every quotable quote, someone will come up with a contradictory quotable quote, including this one' - Afon Shepherd, just now.
Any sufficiently advanced information is indistinguishable from noise.

Imnotgoing Sideways
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:14 pm
Location: Morbidette, SL
Contact:

Re: Leading Volunteers First, Managing Them Second

Post by Imnotgoing Sideways » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:29 pm

"If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions." - Rule 34 =^-^=
What would life be like in a world without nipples? =^-^=

Post Reply