Do you like variety in your job? Do you enjoy helping a cause and working with people? If so, you may have what it takes to be a volunteer coordinator.
If you are considering a job in this field, then our article is for you. Following are a few tips that can point you in the right direction.
Do Your Homework First
Research the job itself – If you have volunteered for an organization, you probably have seen the coordinator position from the outside looking in. However, at that point you are only seeing part of the picture. Like most other jobs, the volunteer coordinator position is a lot like synchronized swimming: there’s much more going on beneath the surface than meets the eye. A volunteer coordinator generally wears many hats: interviewer, manager, recruiter, trainer, planner, and more. For additional information on the skills and qualities a good volunteer coordinator should possess, click here.
Talk with volunteer coordinators – The best way to really get a feel for the job is to “pick the brain” of a couple individuals who already hold the position. This allows you to find out the real story on the positives and negatives of the job and what life is like in the nonprofit sector. Perhaps a volunteer coordinator would allow you to shadow him or her for a few hours (or a day) so you can see what goes on with volunteers as well as behind the scenes.
Get Your Feet Wet
“Volunteer” to become a volunteer coordinator – A study by the Urban Institute found that 40 percent of nonprofits did not have a paid volunteer coordinator. This, of course, shows there is still a market for volunteer coordinators — paid or unpaid. We’ve written in the past that volunteer experience is a definite leg-up when it comes to your resume, and this situation is no different. Approaching a nonprofit with the offer of giving your time to coordinate volunteers may help you garner a paid position later at either that organization or another agency.
Update your LinkedIn profile with relevant job experience – Be sure to keep your LinkedIn information current. This is a great way to network, and potential employers use this as a tool to find qualified individuals. Conversely, of course, you can also leverage your profile to find job opportunities as well.
How to Find a Volunteer Coordinator Job
Use GuideStar’s Exchange to review nonprofits in your area – GuideStar is a 501(c)(3) that invites nonprofits to share information such as its mission, impact, finances, programs, and more. Enter a town’s name in GuideStar’s search box and it will yield all IRS-registered nonprofit organizations in that area. This will allow you to do the necessary legwork to find out which of these agencies have open job postings. Click here to visit GuideStar’s website.
So, do you have what it takes to be a volunteer coordinator? In the final analysis, ask yourself…
- Do I enjoy working with people?
- Am I a good judge of character?
- Am I detail-oriented?
- Am I good at planning?
- Am I organized?
- Am I well-versed in conflict resolution?
- Am I risk-management minded?
- Am I comfortable with recruiting and public speaking?
- Am I willing to take a part-time position? (Many volunteer coordinator jobs are not full-time.)
- Am I good at managing projects and people?
- Am I a good communicator, both orally and in writing?
- Am I computer-savvy? (This includes database management/statistics tracking, social media, and possibly simple desktop publishing.)
- Am I a self-starter?
- Do I like to work independently?
- Am I strong in the areas of marketing/public relations and fundraising/grant writing?
If the answer to most of these questions is “yes,” you could be well on your way to a career as a successful volunteer coordinator.