The Center for
Creative Community

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Stretching Our Boundaries

People Approach Strategies

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Dimensions of Expansion in Volunteer Administration

A May 1995 Workshop by Ivan Scheier
VOLUNTAS: The Center For Creative Community

The Theme: Natural expansion in the role of the volunteer coordinator will lead to the three R's of career fulfillment: More Responsibility, Respect, and Remuneration. Above all, there will be more opportunity to impact positively on your organization, your clients and your community.

Issues and Responses:
1) We're already shorthanded and over-worked and you want to give us more. (But more responsibility and status might attract more help, volunteers and paid).

2) Volunteers will get "lost in the shuffle" of wider responsibilities. (but the increased prestige of the larger package might rub off on volunteers enough to offset this).

3) How can we get permission for expansion? (it may be easier since a lot of the expansion might be happening already informally and unacknowledged; so need awareness and ratification, rather than a new permission. Secondly, there is much to be said for self-declared, de-facto enlargement of your role, permission to follow).

4) With responsibility for more types of people and functions, the need to deal with interactions will substantially complicate your role. (True. One aspect of that is covered in the VOLUNTAS publication entitled: "The Case Against Community Service - Or The Case For"). $3 plus handling.

Early foundations of the present thinking are in "EXPLORING VOLUNTEER SPACE: THE RECRUITING OF A NATION". The National Center For Citizen Involvement, 1980, EMPOWERING A PROFESSION: 1, 11, and III: A series of three articles in the 1988-89 Journal of Volunteer Administration.


We will deal with three Dimensions of Expansion in the role and responsibilities of the Volunteer Coordinators.

I. Community Resources Other Than People

II. Additional Kinds of People In A New Helping Team

III. Modes of Mobilizing Resources


Community Resources Other Than People (Volunteer Workers)

"Director of Volunteer Services Community Resource

"Volunteer Administrator" Development Coordinator


"Volunteer Coordinator'

Who or What Worked With 

People as Human Resources


Others (See later

Ideas ... Public Relations

Materials ... Advice ... Advocacy

Support ... Equipment ... Facilities ... Money



Additional People, Resources in A "New Helping Team'

As Individuals

Continuous Scheduled Volunteer

Occasional Project Volunteer






---Group As Volunteers -– Freelance Outside Volunteers


--Pressured Participants:

Alternative Service/School Requirement

Other Mandatory Expectation (Clubs, Corps, etc.)




Expense Reimbursed
Fully Paid by Another
Fully Paid by US?
(The "Overtime Volunteer")

Core Traditional Title would be "Volunteer Coordinator", or "Volunteer Administrator" Appropriate title for Expanded People Dimension would be something like 'Community Human Resources Coordinator".


Models of Mobilizing Resources

1)Incoming-Enlisted. The predominant model now. People are brought into the agency or organization to function largely as unpaid employees, e.g. recruited, screened, trained, evaluated, rewarded.

2)Partnership-Negotiated, Cooperative win-win effort is negotiated with people who are and usually remain in pre-existing groups, essentially independent of your organization/agency. The partnership is potentially productive insofar as the group negotiated with has goals, experiences, resources, and competencies relevant to one or more aspects of your operations.

3)Outgoing, You are responsible for sending people inside the organization out in the community; as well as bringing outsiders in. Example might be in a high school where coordinator brings volunteers in to help the school and its students, and also helps place students as volunteers in the community.

4)Within, There is usually a considerable amount of volunteering of people to one another within an organization; that is, individuals (or sometimes groups) reaching out to help each other above and beyond the call of duty or salary. For example, how about (unpaid) student leaders in a cottage, or staff members who volunteer on their own time, to plan and manage the annual party. One plausible expansion of the Volunteer Coordinator's job would be encouragement, support and skill upgrading for within this organization.


People Approach Strategies

Perceptual Recruiting
Exercise #1

Think of a volunteer program or effort your are directly involved with or know well.

  1. Strict Count
  2. ____How many volunteers does this program have in the strict sense:

    They are called ‘volunteers,’ by themselves and others, are structured into the program in an ongoing service capacity.

  3. Volunteer Workforce Expansion

Working definition: "Any activity which helps without primary thought of immediate financial gain."

How many additional volunteer-type people not in strict count, might you have involved? (Do each category separately.)

____1. Did you count administrative office-type volunteers as well as direct client-service volunteers? If not add them.

____2. Policy board.

____3. Other advisory boards.

____4. Give you advice or guidance as unpaid individuals.

____5. An auxiliary or an independent group which nevertheless renders real volunteer help to the organization and/or its clients. This group contains ____ members directly involved in this helping.

____6. High school, college, business school, etc, student interns or filled placements who worked in your setting during the past year, and whose work had some yield in service or evaluation/research.

____7. Regularly or quite regularly on-call for occasional service, one-shot, in-out service (like a skillsbank).

____8. Groups which contribute as groups rather than individuals, such as churches, service clubs, etc.

____ Groups which contribute regularly

____ Contributed at least once last year

Question: Did you count a group as one volunteer, or count the number in the group, or count the number in the group actively involved in service to your program?

____9. How many people came in spontaneously for temporary helping, not in a programmed manner at least once in the past year?

____10. Any one not included in strict count who receives:

____ Volunteer work-related expense reimbursement.

____ A subsistence ‘stipend,’ such as VISTA, CETA, PSE.

____11. People who may be fully paid by others but are volunteer (unpaid) as far as you are concerned.

____12. Is there any sense in which your clients render volunteer-type service:

____ To others ( how many?)

____ To themselves (self-help as individuals or groups – how many?)

____13. Other ‘invisible volunteers?’

Description, justification


____Total of items 1 to 13

____Minus unacceptable categories

____Minus estimated overlap between categories

____’New Perceptual Recruits" Total


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Ivan Scheier
607 Marr
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, 87901
Tel (505) 894-1340

For comments and editing suggestions please contact Mary Lou McNatt