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Things to Do to Become an Effective Volunteer Coordinator

by Elise Wile

As a volunteer coordinator, you won't have a job if you don't keep your volunteer roster full. Not only that, you must ensure that the volunteers you manage are excited to participate in your organization's events and projects. Enjoy success in your job by consistently recruiting volunteers, motivating the ones you have and making sure everyone has a good time working for a worthy cause.

Set Goals

Perform a needs assessment for your organization and set goals based on your findings. This helps you avoid operating in a state of crisis management, where you're desperately seeking volunteers at the last minute for an event -- or even stepping in yourself. For example, if your organization holds a craft bazaar every December, determine your volunteer needs and start recruiting in August.

Savvy Recruitment

Always be looking for new places to promote your organization and its volunteer opportunities. Make networking part of your job, and you'll likely receive invitations to talk to clubs and churches and meet potential volunteers. Be honest with potential volunteers about the time commitment and energy involved. If you need someone to dress up like a lion in the middle of July for a booth at a street fair, let potential volunteers know it's a hot and sweaty job.

Loosen the Reins

Many volunteer coordinators were once themselves volunteers for the organization. This may lead to micromanaging, because you know firsthand what you want volunteers to do. An effective volunteer coordinator adequately trains volunteers, then steps away. To ensure good results, make your expectations clear and focus on the results rather than the methods that volunteers are using to reach the goal.

Have Fun

While people often volunteer for altruistic reasons, that's not the only reason. Chances are, your volunteers are eager to become part of a community working for a common cause, and are hoping to have fun and make some new friends along the way. Facilitate this process by regularly thanking volunteers with small gifts; recognizing them at luncheons; and holding events to allow them to get to know one another. Host a kite-flying event, for example, or feature several of them in your company's newsletter, then make certain each featured volunteer gets a copy.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

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