today in black history

May 27, 2024

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, founded by the Quakers, established in 1837, is the oldest historically Black college.

FUNdraising Good Times

POSTED: January 22, 2018, 7:00 am

  • POST
    • Add to Mixx!
  • Text Size
  • PDF

What if you could get eight more hours out of the day? What if you could “clone” yourself five times over? These are unspoken dreams of many a nonprofit executive or college president. While they are unlikely to come true exactly as wished for, it is possible to achieve that magical result. Here’s how.

Hire a volunteer manager. This isn’t an “as needed” position. You need a person dedicated to working with volunteers all the time. This is a proactive position, not a reactive one. You may initially think of this person as another “cost” or “expense.” Our response: a good volunteer manager is an investment that yields positive results to an organization’s bottom line. She ensures that your volunteers have what they need to develop relationships and fundraise.

Here are three things to consider when hiring a volunteer manager. First, create a defined job description and initial schedule of activities. Define the goals and allocate resources prior to making a hire. You set the terms: you don’t ask a new employee to determine what needs to be done. She may have ideas, but the nonprofit needs to be clear in defining expectations and activities that can result in a meaningful impact on the organization’s bottom line.

Second, the executive director or development director needs to allocate consistent time to work with the volunteer manager. The reason for this is to ensure your new employee learns the ins-and-outs of your organization; gains background information on your board members and volunteers; and develops relationships with these leaders so she can best support them.

Third, hire a person with strong skills and experience in working with people, managing projects, and following up. Think outside the box and consider someone who may be older with deep career experience in developing and sustaining relationships, using technology, and sustaining systems. Look for all three skill sets: someone who excels at developing relationships but doesn’t record information in your database is not the right hire. Your volunteer manager serves volunteers and builds your fundraising capacity.

Here’s the secret: the success of a meeting depends on the time invested before and after. This means everyone comes to meetings knowing the agenda, ready to report on commitments fulfilled, and to engage in meaningful discussions and strategy development that advances fundraising.

Don’t rush into hiring a volunteer manager. Invest time in orienting your new employee. Commit to your fundraising success.

Copyright 2017 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw are authors of four books on fundraising available on For help growing your fundraising visit or call (901) 522-8727.

Part three of a three-part series.

Related References