NPL 473

Managing Volunteers:  Case Study


Suppose you have recently been hired by the newly reformed Blue Earth County Humane Society as the Executive Director (and chief cook and bottle-washer—this is a one-person shop).  You have a volunteer Board of Directors, a building with a phone (and an answering machine), and a contract with Blue Earth County (which is just enough to cover basic operations—heat & lights, cat & dog food, litter, etc.—but no money for staff beyond your measly salary).  Your Board has instructed you to develop a volunteer program to staff the operation.


1)      You are sitting down at your desk (actually, a kitchen table in the basement, surrounded by yapping dogs and spitting cats) and begin to pre-plan your volunteer recruitment campaign. 

a.       You sketch out a needs assessment, keeping in mind both the objectives to be accomplished and the types of volunteer jobs those objectives will require.











b.      You reach for the three-ring binder and review the Policies & Procedures section.  To your dismay, you find that there is no mention of volunteer workers.  Sketch out which sections will need to be rewritten, and what might be included (of course, you will take any proposed changes to the Board before you implement them).












c.       Now you are ready to write the key job descriptions. 


Managing Volunteers Case Study, 2


So, you took your needs assessment, policy manual revisions, and job descriptions to your Board.  They were enthusiastic and promised to give you complete support.  They even formed a task force of the Board to work with you on the recruitment campaign.


It is now Wednesday at 4:30 PM; the task force members will be arriving by 5:00.  You want to give them some structure so the meeting will go smoothly and the group will stay focused.  Sketch out the following:

  1. How might you position the campaign?  What are potential appeals, and how would you place those appeals?












  1. Sketch out an application form that would be used in the process












  1. How will you structure the interview?

Managing Volunteers Case Study, 3

It worked!  By the Heavens, it actually worked!  You got all the volunteers you needed, and it looks like they will be a good crew.


On the other hand—it worked, and now you’ve got to do something with all those people!

  1. Sketch out your orientation plan for the new volunteers.







  1. Outline the training scripts that you will use for the major categories of volunteer jobs.









  1. Develop your supervisory plan (especially your database for volunteer records and your performance measurement plan)








  1. Outline your plan for keeping your volunteers motivated








  1. Finally, sketch out the elements that will be included in your individual performance and volunteer program evaluations.