What is a Volunteer Manager?

What is a Volunteer Manager?

Your organisation relies on the hard work of volunteers. And having volunteers means onboarding, training, and supervising them. That’s why Volunteer Managers are so important.

Authored by: iClick2Learn Team

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What is a Volunteer Manager?

Your organisation relies on the hard work of volunteers. And having volunteers means onboarding, training, and supervising them. That’s why Volunteer Managers are so important.

Volunteer managers manage and develop volunteers. Their leadership helps keep everyone organised and motivated. They also set the tone. That means volunteers look up to them and follow their lead. 

A volunteer management system might include:

  • Making policies and procedures
  • Creating and maintaining records systems
  • Recruiting and selecting volunteers
  • Developing volunteer roles
  • Writing volunteer job descriptions
  • Overseeing your messaging and advertising
  • Interviewing, checking, welcoming, and training volunteers
  • Volunteer selection and matching with roles
  • Screening volunteers
  • Supervising and supporting volunteers

As you can see, volunteer managers have many responsibilities. In fact, their role is so important, they can make or break a team. 

It’s easy for volunteers to get discouraged without good management. On the other hand, strong volunteer management leads to happy, helpful volunteers. 

Volunteer managers keep everyone on the same page. That way, your team never loses sight of your vision and mission. Instead, they stay organised, focused, and full of purpose.

What Skills Does a Volunteer Manager Have?

Finding a good volunteer manager is essential. Their leadership style affects all of your volunteers. If a Volunteer Manager is supportive, volunteers will thrive. If not, volunteers will become unhappy and leave. 

Since Covid, bringing in volunteers seems harder than ever. It can also be tough to keep the volunteers you have. A good volunteer manager knows how to find volunteers that fit your organisation. They also know how to train people and keep them engaged.

In addition to great leadership and communication skills, look for the following:

  • Excellent People Skills – so they connect with volunteer staff and create an environment that’s open, honest, and welcoming.
  • Passion for Your Mission & Vision – Managing volunteers can be hard. People passionate about your goals will find the work both satisfying and rewarding.
  • Strong Judgement – to choose volunteers who are a good match and put them in positions suited to their skills.
  • Marketing Skills – to spread the word about your organisation.

Volunteer managers do so much. They manage, supervise, and do human resources work. They help hold your volunteer staff together by building a strong team. 

When you think of a good Volunteer Manager, picture someone volunteers can trust. They should be organised and skilled. But they should also be good with people and patient. 

If a volunteer manager cares about your mission and your people, they are off to a good start. They should provide quality training and instruction. But they should also be welcoming and supportive.

Why Are Volunteer Managers Essential?

Good volunteer management builds strong connections with supporters and staff. This helps you achieve your goals and mission. 

Volunteer Management also saves your organisation time and money. It allows you to run as efficiently as possible. 

Volunteer Managers perform all kinds of important work:

  • Build post-Covid strategies for recruiting and engaging volunteers
  • Communicate your volunteer program to your community
  • Share your goals with supporters and volunteers
  • Welcome, train, and support volunteer staff
  • Choose the right volunteers for the right jobs
  • Create open lines of communication
  • Help create a diverse, inclusive volunteer culture
  • Help make it easy for migrants, First Nation Peoples, and people with disability to volunteer

Strong Volunteer Management keeps your staff focused and helps your organisation thrive. A good Volunteer Manager inspires and organises a healthy volunteer team. 

They also show appreciation. They build up volunteers by giving them praise and thanks. They remind volunteers how important they are and why their jobs make a difference. 

Why do Volunteers Quit?

A strong volunteer manager doesn’t just know how to manage. They also know why volunteers walk away. 

Some reasons volunteers quit include:

  • Time pressures and the organisation is not flexible
  • Lack of leadership and organisation
  • Not being matched with the right job
  • Feeling like their work doesn’t matter
  • Not feeling welcomed into the group

Volunteer managers address these issues. They provide strong leadership and organisation. They excel at matching volunteers with the right jobs. To keep spirits high, good managers remind everyone why their work matters.

To make volunteering easy, creative managers find new ways to be flexible. And they make sure volunteers are welcome and supported every step of the way.

Bringing in volunteers is essential. But some organisations forget to offer strong support the whole way through. An excellent volunteer manager is always thinking long-term.


Volunteer Managers are necessary. They lead, manage, and organise your volunteer team. They also set an example for others. 

Since Covid-19, volunteering has changed. But change gives Volunteer Managers a chance to shine. 

To summarise, Volunteer Managers:

  • Walk the talk – they set a good example for everyone
  • Excel at communication – so everyone feels safe, heard, and informed
  • Support the team – so volunteers stick around long term
  • Recruit and assign – they attract great volunteers and give them fitting roles
  • Train – they offer high-quality training
  • Organise – making your organisation more efficient
  • Spread the word – they communicate your vision and mission, along with your volunteer opportunities

Happy volunteers tend to have one thing in common: a great Volunteer Manager. Good Managers find volunteers and match them with jobs that are a smart fit. 

Check out our Volunteer Acknowledgement and Recognition Checklist for ways your Volunteer Manager and your organisation can recognise the hard work of your volunteer staff.

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