Hiring Your First Volunteer Coordinator: Tips for Success

Hiring Your First Volunteer Coordinator: Tips for Success
Photo by Usen Parmanov on Unsplash

Hiring a volunteer coordinator is a significant step for any nonprofit. Volunteers play a critical role in the success of nonprofits, and a volunteer coordinator is the key to managing and engaging them effectively. When it comes to hiring your first volunteer coordinator, there are several important things to consider.

Define the Role and Responsibilities

The first step in hiring a volunteer coordinator is to define the role and responsibilities. A volunteer coordinator’s primary responsibility is to manage the organization’s volunteers, but the job can vary greatly depending on the nonprofit’s size, mission, and volunteer needs. Before advertising the position, take the time to identify the tasks and responsibilities that the volunteer coordinator will need to perform. This includes tasks like recruiting and training volunteers, developing volunteer policies and procedures, and managing volunteer schedules and records. It may even include brainstorming volunteer opportunities that match your strategic goals, or reporting on volunteer program effectiveness.

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Set the Qualifications and Skills Required

Once you have defined the role and responsibilities, you can start to identify the qualifications and skills that are required for the job. Some qualifications could include a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, experience managing volunteers or organizing communities, and excellent communication and organizational skills. Depending on your specific needs, other qualifications may include experience working in a specific industry, language fluency, or expertise in a particular area.

We recommend that you are radically honest about what skills are a must, and which ones are a plus. If your job posting says the position requires a college degree, but the work doesn’t *actually* need this, you could be missing out on great candidates who have the skills but may not have been able to afford a college education. Consider what is most important to the success of someone in the role when creating your requirements.

Recruit Effectively

The next step is to recruit volunteer coordinators effectively. There are several ways to advertise the position, including posting on job boards, reaching out to professional organizations, and utilizing social media. Consider the qualities and skills you are looking for in a volunteer coordinator and tailor your recruitment strategy to reach candidates with those qualities. For example, if you want your volunteer coordinator to also run your social media, advertise for the role on social media. Be sure to include a clear job description, salary, and requirements in your job postings and advertisements. While salaries are not required to be listed in some states, listing it on the posting shows potential hires you are transparent and value their time.

Interview and Select Candidates

After you have received applications and/or resumes, the next step is to interview and select candidates. Conduct interviews with each candidate to learn more about their experience, skills, and qualifications. It’s also essential to assess their communication skills, ability to manage and prioritize tasks, and ability to work with a team. It can be helpful to ask staff that will work with the volunteer coordinator about what they would like to see in candidates for the role. Once you have conducted the interviews, select the candidate who best fits the role and aligns with your organization’s mission and values.

Onboard and Train the Volunteer Coordinator

Once you have selected a candidate, it’s time to onboard and train the volunteer coordinator. The onboarding process should include introducing the coordinator to the organization’s mission, culture, and policies. Provide the volunteer coordinator with all the resources they need to be successful, including training manuals, volunteer management software, and any relevant policies and procedures. Offer support and guidance as they settle into their new role.

Provide Ongoing Support and Supervision

Finally, providing ongoing support and supervision to your volunteer coordinator is essential. Regular check-ins, evaluations, and feedback sessions can help the coordinator stay on track and feel supported in their role. Encourage open communication, and address any concerns or challenges as they arise.

Benefits of Hiring a Volunteer Coordinator

Hiring a volunteer coordinator can have many benefits for a nonprofit. Here are a few reasons why hiring a volunteer coordinator is a good investment:

  • Improved Volunteer Engagement and Retention: A volunteer coordinator can help improve volunteer engagement by creating a positive experience for volunteers. They can match volunteers with roles that align with their skills and interests and provide the support they need to be successful. A coordinator can also work to retain volunteers by recognizing their contributions and offering opportunities for growth and development.
  • Streamlined Volunteer Management: Managing volunteers can be a time-consuming process, but a volunteer coordinator can help streamline the process by developing policies and procedures, implementing volunteer management software, and providing training and support. This can help ensure that volunteers are managed efficiently and effectively.
  • Increased Community Impact: A volunteer coordinator can help increase the organization’s community impact by improving volunteer engagement and retention and streamlining volunteer management. This can lead to improved relationships with donors, increased funding, and a more significant impact on the communities and causes that the nonprofit supports.
  • Enhanced Organizational Capacity: A volunteer coordinator can help enhance the organization’s capacity by freeing up staff time and resources that would otherwise be spent managing volunteers. This can allow staff to focus on other important tasks, such as program development, fundraising, and outreach.

Tips for Success When Hiring a Volunteer Coordinator

Here are a few tips to help ensure the success of your volunteer coordinator:

  • Provide adequate resources: Be sure to provide your volunteer coordinator with the resources they need to be successful, including training, software, and policies and procedures. This can help ensure that volunteers are managed effectively and efficiently.
  • Communicate regularly: Regular communication with your volunteer coordinator is essential to ensuring their success. Be sure to check in regularly, provide feedback and support, and address any concerns or challenges that arise.
  • Recognize contributions: Recognizing the contributions of volunteers is essential to retaining their support. Encourage your volunteer coordinator to recognize volunteers’ contributions, provide opportunities for growth and development, and offer incentives to retain volunteers.
  • Foster a positive volunteer culture: A positive volunteer culture is essential to retaining volunteers and enhancing community impact. Encourage your volunteer coordinator to create a positive volunteer culture by recognizing volunteers’ contributions, providing a welcoming environment, and promoting teamwork and collaboration.

Hiring a volunteer coordinator is a significant step for any nonprofit organization. We’re here to make your lives (and theirs!) a whoooole lot easier!


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Photo Brandy Strand
Brandy Strand
Nonprofit Partnerships Account Executive

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.