“The Chairman” I hear you cry!
“Or the Treasurer?”
Having been a chairman of a large PTA for a number of years, I actually think the most important job in any association, charity or amateur club is the volunteer manager. This is the person who inspires, motivates and nurtures the workforce – all the people who give up their time to take on responsibilities to help the organisation.
The volunteer manager could be anyone on the team. You might have a dedicated role, or you may have another post holder who’s particularly good with people and who takes charge. Particularly good with people – this is the key! You need someone who is easy to get on with, understands and cares about others and who knows the difference between what motivates and what dispirits. It helps if they are involved in the organisation so that they are familiar with what is going on – but everything can be learned. Lack of experience is not a barrier: lack of empathy is.
What should a volunteer manager do?
- Know who the volunteers are – especially the new ones
- Know where they have helped
- Know what they would like to do and have the skills to do
- Recognise their contribution
- Encourage them to take on new responsibilities if these suit the volunteer
- Keep in touch with the volunteers letting them know past successes and news of what is coming up
To sum up: recruit one good volunteer and you have someone who can take on one role: Recruit one good volunteer manager and you have someone can maintain a supply of volunteers to keep your organisation rolling.
“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner