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Volunteer Coordinator Needed read the fine print

Have you ever looked at recruitment ads for volunteer coordinators? What do our organizations think we do and what skills are they looking for? Here is a sampling of the ones I have seen lately.

The Volunteer and Program Coordinator will oversee all volunteer coordination and client training activities. Duties include on boarding, training and coordinating all volunteers and providing backup support in case of volunteer absences.

Must have own cell phone, laptop computer and reliable transportation

Ability to work long hours, weekends, and holidays (with time off during the week)

Must live locally and be available immediately.

COMPENSATION: $28,000 – $34,000

That makes me wonder, who exactly is filling in for the absent volunteer? And here is another pull from a recent ad:

Event Planning & Management – Food Drives, Events, Food related Events

Volunteer Recruitment, training & Management

Public Speaking Engagements

Warehouse Experience

Strong Personal Skills

Strong Organizational Skills

Salary Level: $15.00 per hour

Classification: This position is classified as part time

I love the warehouse experience, it’s usually the top skill a volunteer manager possesses.

Check this one out:

Desire to work collaboratively with staff, volunteers and clients a must.  Ability to follow directions, work independently, prioritize, follow-up and accomplish a variety of tasks, projects and responsibilities simultaneously in a busy work environment.

Excellent attention to detail.

Huh, so we are a typical crazy busy non-profit. But don’t let that be your excuse. And then, there’s this:

   Administration: Ensures compliance and maintains records of all paperwork for volunteers (applications, waivers, clearances, etc.); Monitors the Volunteer Coordinator email and phone number and responds to all inquiries in a timely and courteous manner; Attends meetings relevant to the Volunteer position including the monthly Program Managers meeting, monthly Development meetings, quarterly all staff meetings and others as identified.

Wow, so administration duties for a volunteer coordinator is basically office work. That’s not very managerial, is it? Then, there is this one:

Responsible for the recruitment, training, and supervision of volunteers to assist employees in the efficient running of our organization. Maintains volunteer records and coordinates volunteer schedules. Responsible for the management of orientations, volunteer training, and liaisons with community to attract volunteers.

Special Skills: None specified.

I think I might cry at that one.

But, not all is doom and gloom.  I also found this one:

The responsibility of Volunteer Coordinator is to welcome volunteers and ensure an excellent, safe, and rewarding experience that motivates an ongoing connection as members, donors, outreach volunteers, and advocates. This person provides a superior level of customer service, representing our core values with enthusiastic professionalism. The person in this position works collaboratively with other staff to fulfill volunteer needs and deepen volunteer engagement cross-divisionally. Collaborates with department leadership in the development of volunteer engagement strategies to support organizational needs.

Now that makes me feel hopeful. I think they kind of get it. And here’s another:

• Lead volunteer engagement and impact strategy: As an active member of the Leadership Team, develop an office-wide philosophy and strategy of volunteerism, and provide training and benchmarks to ensure the office is increasing in capacity to engage volunteers, including professional volunteers.
• Training and development of staff: Provide coaching and matrix accountability to volunteer coordinators and other employees who interact with volunteers and interns, focused on volunteer role development, recruitment, interviewing, placement, retention, encouragement, and recognition. Supervise staff members who are involved with volunteer processing and screening. 
• Team Leadership: Regularly convene staff who work with volunteers to ensure shared vision and approach to volunteer support, evaluate volunteer engagement impact, collaborate around shared projects and concerns, and coordinate volunteer recognition efforts.

Yes! I LOVE these folks!!!!!! Thank you for putting volunteer management on the Leadership team!

Job postings can be telling. Sometimes organizations do not take a hard look at their recruitment ads, nor do they bother to update them to show that they are moving forward.

I sincerely hope that organizations think about the role of their volunteer manager and at least take a look at their ads when recruiting someone who will be adding value to the mission. If all they focus on is the minutiae and not the incredible potential leadership skills needed to cultivate and engage volunteers, then they’d better plan on keeping that ad posted for a long time.

Because none of us will want to work for them.