Recognize how few paid staff – or leadership volunteers – receive training in volunteer management in their professional education.
One of the most commonly-identified concerns of volunteer-involving organizations is tension between employees and volunteers (and also between long-time volunteers and newcomers). Such conflict surprises many, but it shouldn't. The mistake is to assume that everyone innately knows how to work together.
Despite the universal prevalence of volunteers in nonprofit organizations and many public agencies, the subject of volunteer management is invisible in the professional training of most staff. It is possible to earn a Masters in Nonprofit Management and never receive even an hour of classroom training on this subject, other than perhaps a bit of information about boards of directors (also volunteers, it is important to note). Teachers, nurses, social workers, development officers, adult education specialists — whatever field you can name — all work in settings that engage many different sorts of volunteers, and yet they are not prepared to do so. There are educated staff with many skills, but they do not know what they do not know!
The absence of professional education on volunteer involvement either in university curricula or at professional conferences carries two equally false implications: that the subject does not matter or that there is nothing much to say about it. The Everyone Ready® Volunteer Management Skill-Building Program changes that paradigm. There is, in fact, a great deal to say about effective volunteer engagement and we bring that information to your staff. The receiption is often relief at being given the tools to do something that has been difficult in easier and better ways.
Note, too, that being a volunteer is not sufficient preparation for leading other volunteers! The skills and personality of doing frontline volunteer service are quite different from the management demands of planning and facilitating an organization-wide volunteer involvement strategy. Further, just as the paid staff is unaware of all the actions required, volunteers, too, are untrained in leading other volunteers. Everyone Ready is therefore also designed to provide training to leadership volunteers in your organization: board members, committee and project chairs, advisors, and anyone who acts in a "middle management" role at a regional or local level.