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Captains of Our Destiny Strategic Key Volunteer Account Management

So, here’s the question: If we identify key volunteer accounts, how will this help us in the management of all volunteers and correct the misconception that we herd cats?

By reclassifying our work in terms of strategically managing volunteer accounts and key volunteer accounts, we will:

  • explain in recognized professional terms the vast work involved in cultivating and engaging volunteers
  • begin to prioritize our time in order to do the “key duties” such as recruiting, creating volunteer programs, relationship marketing, retention implementation, in-depth training and staff education
  • illustrate that focusing on key duties produces sustainable volunteer participation
  • more successfully require that all staff learn to manage volunteers, especially one time and episodic volunteers, therefore freeing us up to do the key duties
  • show potential volunteers that becoming key volunteers carries tremendous perks
  • free up the time necessary to educate ourselves, create programs and contribute in a more productive way
  • be able to demonstrate that not all volunteers produce the same results and that key volunteer account management creates key volunteers who will not only do the bulk of the work, but will also contribute in multiple other ways such as increased donations, resource allocating, community awareness, marketing, planning, trend setting, awards won, social media championing, recruiting, and program development
  • show that key volunteers will lighten staff workloads and free staff to work smarter
  • strategize the future instead of “handling” the present


As we move from herding cats to a more modern and professional structure, what are some differences between outdated volunteer management and the new strategic volunteer account and key volunteer account management?


Outdated Volunteer Management Strategic Volunteer Account Management Strategic Key Volunteer Account Management
Vols fill jobs defined by org Steps to assure vol role is successful Partner with key vols to assure mutual org growth
Retention by yearly luncheon, hours reported Vol contributions highlighted with real stats Key vols contribute to implementing programs of worth
Vols view volunteering as “I get more than I give” and that’s enough Vols are integrated as essential members of team Key vols are integrated as shaping future of org
All vols are just here to do org bidding Vol roles are created to meet changing needs of volunteers Key vols help shape the roles they wish to play
Vols should be grateful to be volunteering Orgs should show gratitude to vols for volunteering Orgs value key vol input, skills and ideas in a win-win situation
Fear that vols may “take over” or do something to harm org


Allow vols to accompany staff on important assignments Trusting key vols to utilize their proven skills and desire to further org mission

In order to be classified as a “key volunteer,” we most likely will be choosing those volunteers who are already known and trusted by fellow staff. This trust in a proven volunteer is the example you already possess to showcase the benefit for key volunteer designation.

In many ways, there is an iron grip of thought relating to volunteers and volunteer management. Words and terms mean something and by referring to our work in professional, respected terms, we will begin to show the in-depth work and skill necessary to create a sustainable volunteer program. We will also begin to illustrate that freeing us from herding cats to concentrate on key duties will produce a stronger, better volunteer program. (everyone in the organization is responsible for engaging and managing volunteers-the volunteer manager does not have time to run around putting out fires)

Let’s not be left behind in modernizing our profession. We are the Captains of our destinies.