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Captains of Our Destiny The Key Volunteer Account Manager

As Captains of our destinies, we looked at some of the terms that define our work as Volunteer Account Managers. Now, let’s look at the responsibilities of the account manager and redefine them to fit our profession:

Volunteer account manager responsibilities:

  • Serve as the point of contact for all volunteer account management matters.
  • Build and maintain strong, long-lasting volunteer relationships.
  • Develop opportunities and programs for volunteer engagement.
  • Mediate volunteer challenges.
  • Communicate the mission and policies of the organization to all volunteers and prospective volunteers.
  • Recruit new volunteers, volunteer groups and develop relationships with all volunteers through education, feedback, and progressive opportunities.
  • Forecast and track account metrics through volunteer feedback, community involvement, bench marking, research and continual participation in conferences and symposiums relevant to subject.
  • Prepare reports on volunteer contributions and trends.
  • Advocate for system changes when necessary.

Interpersonal skill set of the Volunteer Account Manager: (partial list)

  • Solution oriented
  • Communicates clearly
  • Innovative
  • Professionalism
  • Mediation skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Relationship marketer
  • Ability to research, monitor and predict trends

We can still go one step further and look at how organizations and businesses divide up the management of accounts. Does one person manage all accounts? Are some accounts afforded more attention than others?

In account management, the key account has emerged and with it, the key account manager. So if we are volunteer account managers,  what would be a key volunteer account?

Redefining a key account in terms of a volunteer key account yields: A key volunteer account is the volunteer or volunteer group who volunteers substantially in a sustainable manner and/or contributes greatly to organizational success. 

This begs the question: Do we have key volunteer accounts?

Do we spread ourselves too thin when we spend our time in a non-strategic soup? Do we run around, putting out fires, jumping from one scenario to the next trying to make sure each and every second of volunteer time is perfect? Are we really just herding cats?

Can we maximize our time by identifying and explaining the steps necessary to cultivate key volunteer accounts?

What are a few categories that might catapult a volunteer or volunteer group into key volunteer status?

  • dedicated on-going scheduled work that is vital to operations.
  • years of service and hours given.
  • the successful recruiting of additional volunteers and/or a community engagement champion.
  • leadership skills and/or the assumption of a leadership role.
  • dependability and the willingness to step up when needed.
  • highly trained or skilled in the mission and the ability to handle challenges.

We all have these volunteers. They are what we wish every volunteer could be. If we apply the Pareto principle (80% of the output comes from 20% of the input), then approximately 20% of our volunteers are producing 80% of the vital work. Is this true? And what about new volunteer potential? Should we not spend our time in the soup, cultivating everyone in case we might lose that potentially great volunteer? Should we just herd cats in hopes that a few of those cats turn out to be key volunteer cats or should we begin to think in terms of key accounts and key strategies?

Next time: How can strategic key volunteer account management help us manage all volunteers?