Managing volunteers

Where organisations have large numbers of volunteers, it can be useful to create volunteer roles to help in coordinating and supporting other volunteers. Many managers of volunteers are themselves volunteers. Volunteers often bring management skills and experience which will be relevant. Giving volunteers more responsibility can also be very rewarding. A volunteer coordinator can also be an advocate for the volunteers and represent their views to the paid staff. They might also have more time for team-building and dealing with small issues or tensions.

Activity 8

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes.

Imagine you are a manager in a voluntary organisation and you want to recruit a volunteer to coordinate the other volunteers. Write down three key responsibilities/duties you would like the coordinator to have and write down three key attributes you would look for in a candidate.


Your answer might depend on the nature of your organisation and what it does. Here is an example of a volunteer coordinator of garden volunteers.

  • Key responsibilities: Liaise with the head gardener to help distribute work to the volunteers; give guidance on their tasks and support them in their work; prepare the rotas for the volunteers; induct new volunteers.
  • Attributes: good interpersonal skills; good administration and coordination skills; able to enthuse and motivate others.

Retaining volunteers

Losing volunteers