Volunteer Tip: Delegation

While every good manager in a company should know a little about delegation, it is a crucial skill when working with volunteers. It is not common that volunteers are the ones driving a project. They typically are performing tasks that are part of the whole, but they are not the ones pushing the big picture forward.

Having said that, I think it is important to evaluate a few things:

  1. Who you are and what your role is.
  2. Who your volunteers are and how they operate.

Unless you understand your role and how it relates to the kind of people volunteering for your organization, you will really be in trouble.

If you know what needs to happen and what your role is, then you need to ask some questions about the volunteers:

Is this volunteer a self-starter?

Does the volunteer want lots of responsibility, or just a supporting role?

Does the volunteer prefer a social job that involves meeting lots of people, or is he/she content with simply staying behind the scenes and doing administrative/office work?

Does the volunteer need lots of supervision?

Does the volunteer need to communicate with you often?

When will you know when the project is done? Will this be clear to the volunteer?

Do you have dealines set and plan to make sure they are met?

There are plenty of other factors to consider, but such questions will set you on the right course when working with volunteers.