How to start a new volunteer coordinator role

Updated April 17, 2017

Prior to hiring a volunteer coordinator, you must evaluate and understand what role the volunteer coordinator will play and how your volunteer corps will act in your organisation. You must also have a detailed understanding of your organisation's general goals in the short term and long term. Since volunteer coordinators are capacity builders, they should be viewed as a crucial aspect of your organisation and a means of achieving strategic goals. You should have funding in place to support the role and your volunteer program.

Secure funding for the position. You should have both short-term and long-term funding in place for a volunteer coordinator position prior to hiring for the position. Construct a plan for fully funding the position within five years, minimising dependence on grants over time. When planning for annual funding, include salary, benefits, training and travel, and a volunteer services budget. Make sure that each category has room for growth so that you can reward your coordinator and ensure that the program does not become static or experience negative growth.

Be realistic and up front about your organisation's goals when hiring a volunteer coordinator. If you are hiring to primarily fulfil grant-driven measurements, make sure the prospective coordinator understands what percentage of her time will be spent on grant-related projects. Write a detailed and accurate volunteer coordinator job description, and understand that this role will change as the volunteer coordinator builds the program.

Make sure the rest of the staff is on board. Some staff members may feel threatened by an increased volunteer presence in your organisation. Communicate with your staff members, and allow them to help shape the volunteer coordinator role. Take into account their suggestions (within reason), and incorporate any volunteer needs into the volunteer coordinator's role. The volunteer coordinator will work best with the support of all staff members and when the coordinator works on projects that involve all of the departments from time to time.

Reassure your current volunteer corps, if applicable. Like your staff, your volunteers may feel threatened or uncertain of their roles when preparing to involve a new volunteer coordinator. Involve your volunteers. Find out what improvements need to be made, and permit them to make suggestions.

Be prepared to support your volunteer coordinator. Building a program can take time, and your volunteer coordinator will want to make the program her own after achieving the organisation's stated goals.

Things You'll Need

  • Funding
  • Strategic plan that includes volunteer goals
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About the Author

Candace Benson has nearly five years of experience as a volunteer coordinator and has worked for non-profits and state agencies. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Benson wrote for a number of video game websites and blogs and worked as a technical support agent. Benson currently writes for eHow.