Volunteer managers and delegation: Part 1

Volunteer managers have a lot to do and little time to do it – but by delegating to their volunteer base, they are able to accomplish much with and through volunteers. This series will explore tips and tricks to effective delegation.

Volunteer managers often have a lot to do and have very little time to accomplish the tasks at hand.  That’s why a volunteer base is so important to volunteer managers.  Volunteers are often utilized to help organizations complete tasks that would otherwise seem unachievable.  But how is it that volunteer managers are able to get so much done with and through volunteers?  It’s through delegation.

Delegation may seem like a simple concept, but it can actually be much more difficult that one might think.  This article series will explore essential information volunteer managers need to know to better understand their role in delegating tasks to volunteers.

Let’s start by exploring the responsibility of delegation for a volunteer manager.  The Points of Light Foundation suggest that delegation is an essential skill for volunteer managers to demonstrate.  In regards to delegation, they also advocate that volunteer manages should:

  • Be able to match the strengths of volunteers with the demands and requirements of the workplace or organization
  • Contribute to the advancement of their organization
  • Positively influence the personal and professional growth of their volunteers
  • Expand their own management success

So what happens if a volunteer manager neglects to follow the practices listed above when delegating tasks to volunteers?  Individuals and organization as a whole fail to move forward with growth. Both personally and professionally, there is a lack of productivity and volunteers often find it difficult to trust or feel empowered to commit and invest their time and skills in the organization.

In the next article in this Michigan State University Extension series about volunteer management and delegation, learn more about how volunteer managers can participate in self-refection activities to identify barriers to personal delegation.

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