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The Volunteer Manager wanted ads out there remind me of a fish market.  Some offerings are fresh, appealing and beautifully displayed and some just, well, stink.

Let’s ask some questions, then look at recent ad excerpts and what they say about the organization posting them. How do these organizations view the volunteer manager’s role?

Do you view your volunteer manager as a leader? Or as someone who simply fills tasks?

Here is one ad that gets it:

Your role as an executive overseeing volunteer management is thus an important one as you will be there to work with volunteers and support them in their projects. You will also explore ways to help volunteers grow personally and professionally (e.g. as volunteer leaders) so as to enhance their giving experience.

This is an exciting opportunity for you to shape an emerging culture and to inspire impactful collaboration, kickstart new projects and ultimately enable better care with and for seniors in our home.

But then there’s this uninspired ad:

Manages volunteer scheduling, activities, and screening. Processes incoming volunteers to ensure they meet requirements. Maintains volunteer files and matches volunteers with projects suited to their skills. Manages all aspects of volunteer appreciation events and assists with developing the annual budget. Manages volunteer office to include scheduling, providing information, maintaining records, ordering office supplies and generating appropriate reports.

Do you understand the skills needed to engage volunteers? Or do you believe it’s about having tea parties?

In this ad, the appreciation of engagement skills is clearly non-existent: Do they think the leader of volunteers is just one of the volunteers? Or do they mean the VM will not supervise staff, so that tells you something right there, doesn’t it?



But then, here is an ad for a Director of Volunteer Engagement:


Operates with direction from the President / CEO and is given appreciable latitude for independent action and decisions corresponding with the demonstrated ability for following policy guidelines, department objectives, and applicable laws, rules, and ordinances.

Are you forward thinking? Or are you content with outdated programs?

This ad just sounds so dreary: (And they want 5 years of experience-why? Wouldn’t someone with 5 years experience want to take on more leadership?)

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Oversee the recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, and scheduling of volunteer workers.
  • Respond to inquiries, schedule, and train volunteers.
  •  Coordinate volunteers by organizing, planning, and managing the volunteers’ assignments.
  • Coordinate with staff in order to ensure all programming has appropriate and timely volunteer coverage.
  • Manage volunteer software and train volunteers on software usage.
  • Solicit and answer volunteer questions and evaluate volunteer performance and provide constructive feedback and positive recognition.
  • Plan, prepare, and conduct volunteer meetings/continuing education and training seminars at least once annually for volunteers to enhance skills.
  • Manage communications and notifications to volunteers.
  • 5 years of experience in high-level volunteer management.

But then, look at this ad. Lead STAFF and volunteers? Be still my heart:

 3. Lead staff and volunteers in building a plan of action, including effective service and serving an increased number of clients 4. Involve staff and volunteers in ways that will bring high visibility and public esteem. 5. Cultivate, develop and maintain a close working relationship with the key leadership in each department to help them effectively achieve their goals and objectives. 

Do you appreciate how passionate and creative volunteer managers are? Or does your volunteer manager take a back seat?

This ad hints at understanding how dedicated VMs are:

  • Passion for a mission of civic engagement
  • Demonstrates a high level of professionalism at all times across a variety of business sectors
  • Demonstrated ability to build relationships and communicate with a variety of stakeholders and cultivate strategic partnerships
  • Strong conflict management skills
  • Entrepreneurial spirit while maintaining the ability to work as part of a team
  • Ability to think outside the box
  • Capacity to develop and implement new concepts and strategies including creating context setting, educational components to enhance existing events and create new program initiatives
  • Able to recognize and successfully navigate the office dynamics of our clients and stakeholders (Political Savvy)

This one, not so much:

  • Recruit, schedule, and retain volunteers for various tasks within the organization
  • Ensure that all volunteers have viewed the Safety training video
  • Coordinate parking for volunteers when necessary.
  • Schedule and coordinate volunteer recognition and appreciation events.
  • Maintain Volunteer Manual
  • Manage and participate in the goals, objectives, and policies affecting volunteers
  • Maintain a database of volunteer workers and record hours of work; prepare monthly and annual reports as required

Do you truly believe in the untapped power of volunteerism? Or is volunteer involvement just “fluff?”

In this ad, one has to wonder if volunteers are just potential donors:

  • Promote T-shirt sales and donations creating a pipeline for volunteers to donors
  • Contribute to development of department budget.
  • Coordinate Volunteer Calendar
  • Responsible for coordination of court ordered volunteers
  • Provide periodic (weekly, monthly, yearly) reports when needed.
  • Submits volunteer data for Annual Activity Report
  • Other duties as assigned.

But then, here’s an ad that does believe in volunteerism:

The Volunteer Program Manager is an important role in our organization. Because our organization values and depends on our volunteers in every facet of what we do, the person in this role will be a key collaborator assisting in the delivery of (our) programs and services.

Want ads say a lot about an organization. Ads reveal the culture, the expectations, the value placed on the skillset of the applicant, the support offered and the perception of the position.

What does your ad say about you?