Van Bilsen, Joe - Volunteer Coordinator

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[edit] Social and Human Services - Volunteer Coordinator (Johanna Van Bilsen)

[edit] General Overview:

Volunteer Coordinators are hired to recruit, train, schedule and instruct large groups and individual members of volunteer teams for an organization's regular, annual, or one time events and services. Volunteer Coordinators act as a means of communication between the organization and its volunteers and maintain contact to ensure their satisfaction and return volunteerism. Volunteer Coordinators will often work on multiple tasks and with multiple people at a time and therefore must be flexible, understanding, organized and outgoing[1].

[edit] Job Duties and Responsibilities:

Typical duties include recruitment for and promotion of volunteer opportunities via internet databases, marketing techniques and email newsletters. It is important to conduct interviews and gather information about the volunteers to ensure you can match them to an appropriate volunteer opportunity that suits their skill, interest and commitment levels. Volunteer Coordinators are also responsible for training volunteers and delegating tasks, prior to the events and/or on-the-job. Volunteers must also be appreciated and therefore another duty includes planning and orchestrating frequent appreciation and information events[1].

[edit] Typical Workday:

The employee usually works from 8:00am-4:00pm or 9:00am-5:00pm. Most mornings start by checking ones email for interested volunteers and responding to their inquiries. It may be required of the Volunteer Coordinator to attend staff meetings and join sub-committees within the organization. It will also be necessary to prepare for the many volunteer interviews that are conducted within a day; each interview should take approximately 45 minutes and will consist of gathering information about the volunteer, filling out paperwork, interview questions, reviewing your organization's volunteer policy, security documents, and agreements. After the interviews some time must be applied to work on planning an information seminar or appreciation event; this may entail placing orders for supplies and thank-you gifts[1]. Meeting with co-workers is important as well to keep upto date on which events they are planning and how many volunteers they will need this usually takes place by filling out a “Volunteer Request Form” most often created by the Volunteer Coordinator or the Human Resource Department. Allocating some time to brainstorming and researching ways to promote, recruit, and train new volunteers is extremely important. The Volunteer Coordinator needs to manage situations such as when a volunteer has called in sick, this entails trying to find replacements and informing the team's supervisors. Since volunteering is used as a stepping stone for so many young people looking to gain experience you will often be approached for reference letters by volunteers. Depending on the type of events and services provided by the organization there may be times when the Volunteer Coordinator is strictly planning and while other times are spent in constant motion and on-site. For instance some companies host summer festivals, while others host year round drives, and others still may host one off events such as a Christmas fundraiser. Often these events can coincide and Volunteer Coordinators are responsible for many tasks at a time this is usually more than can be accomplished in a single day, and thus it is best to allocate time each day to the assortment of tasks that must be constantly managed by the Volunteer Coordinator[1][2].

[edit] Educational Requirements and Other Qualifications:

Education and experience requirements vary depending on the organization and level of the position. Post-secondary Education such as a Bachelor`s Degree is common and highly valued. Post-grad studies such as Human Resources are an asset but not a requirement for most organizations[1]. Volunteer Management Certificates are available from some colleges in Canada such as Fleming College* but are not usually required in order to apply for this position[3]. Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada in partnership with the Council for Certification of Volunteer Administrators (CCVA) offer the CCVA Certification that acts as a legitimized credential to present employers[4]. Previous experience managing volunteer teams has a significant impact on the likelihood of hiring and salary. It is likely for these employees to have 0-15 years of experience but it is not likely for Volunteer Coordinators to have more than 20 years of experience in that position[5]. Personal volunteer experience is an asset as it can help you to understand the perspective of the volunteers. Many companies offer training or leadership seminars for the employee (at an entry-level position) within the first few weeks of the placement. Organizations such as Educational Institutions or any other organizations that interact with the vulnerable sector of the public will require the applicant to partake in a criminal background check[6].

[edit] Related Skills, Interests, and Abilities:

Volunteers must have excellent communication skills and must be very outgoing as they need to converse, instruct and work along side many different people. Volunteer Coordinators must also be creative and problem solve in a diverse manner to ensure all parties are pleased with the solution. It is important to be understanding, empathetic and a good listener as there is always potential that volunteers may feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable since they are often partaking in new experiences and duties[1]. Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada also offers a membership to their association that connects Volunteer Management Professionals to employers, constant updates and information and training events such as seminars and conferences thus joining and attending events of an association such as this would greatly benefit the aspiring or experienced Volunteer Coordinator stay in touch with the changing aspects of Volunteer Management[4].

[edit] Relevance of Psychology Undergraduate Degree:

Psychology is the study of behaviour and mental processes. At university the aspiring Volunteer Coordinator will have the opportunity to register in classes such as Personality and Social Psychology, Learning and Memory, Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood, and Psychology of Aging Adults. These courses and many others can provide students with the tools and knowledge to succeed in a career as a volunteer coordinator. During these courses you will learn about different types of people and where they are best suited within a company (Personality), and how certain types of people interact with each other and perceive the world (Social Psychology). This helps the Volunteer Coordinator to take on different perspectives when problem solving so as to find the best solution that will suit the majority of those involved. If you were to pursue classes in learning and memory you will increase your understanding in how individuals (e.g. volunteers) learn and consolidate information such as explicit instructions on-site. Very often it is youth (Adolescence and Emerging Adults) who seek out volunteer positions when beginning their career and attempting to vamp up their resume for future paid positions and so it is important to gain an understanding of this demographic. For instance it is important to know that adolescents are at a socio-emotionally vulnerable time in their lifespan that makes them susceptible to risk taking and thus they must be monitored more closely than volunteers in an older demographic. Taking a course such as the Psychology of Aging Adults allows you to gain knowledge about not only the aging demographic that you will be working alongside, or providing services for but also those individuals who are retired and wish to fill their time with volunteer opportunities. Understanding the trials and tribulations as well as the strengths that come with aging are an asset to a volunteer coordinator as they can ensure the safety and comfort of their volunteers and coworkers[7].

[edit] Salary Potential:

The starting wage for an entry level position as a Volunteer Coordinator is approximately $26,536 and the average salary for a Volunteer Coordinator is C$38,383 per year; while with more experience (up to about 15 years) the top of the wage range is about $49,669 per year[5].

[edit] Job Outlook:

Within the professional sector of Human Resources and Business Service Professionals, there is expected to be approximately a total of 118,062 jobs available and 95,425 job seekers between the years of 2011-2020 period. Human resource job openings have been higher overall than the number of professionals joining that field. It is expected that the number of job v.s. job applicants will continue to be out of balance from 2011-2020. Job openings in this occupation result from both company expansion demands and the increase in retirements. Due to the large number of baby boomers coming up to their retirements (aging workforce), job projections for all occupations are on a rise however it is especially significant for H.R. because it has created a need for more aggressive volunteer recruitment tactics to sustain the demand for volunteers[8].

[edit] To Know More:

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Volunteer Coordinator: Job Description, Duties and Salary. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. A day in the life of a volunteer co-ordinator | Edmonton Examiner. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Volunteer Management Certificate (Online) : Fleming College. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. 4.0 4.1 Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada - VMPC. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  5. 5.0 5.1 Volunteer Coordinator Salary (Canada). (n.d.). Retrieved from
  6. How Do I Become a Volunteer Coordinator? (with pictures). (n.d.). Retrieved from
  7. Careers by Major - Psychology | Career Centre. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  8. Specialists in Human Resources (NOC 1121-A) - Job Bank. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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