Be One: If You Are a Volunteer Manager, Volunteer.

releasing a dolphin
Photo by International Fund for Animal Welfare on Pexels.com

One of the most important lessons we can use to improve our work: be one. Become a mystery shopper and do some field research. We’ll be sharing how you can do field research throughout your organization, but today let’s focus on volunteer management.

If you are a volunteer manager, volunteer.


By volunteering for another organization, you can have first-hand experience to strengthen your own volunteer management and volunteer program. Using the things they do right and wrong, you’ll take back ideas to improve your program and strengthen your volunteer base.


Here are some things you can learn from your experience serving:

  • Recruitment – pay attention to how you are invited to volunteer. Strong volunteer programs use a targeted approach to find the skills they need. How did they find you? Did they make it easy or hard to show your interest in being involved? Are there creative techniques you could adapt to fit your organization?
  • Training/orientation – when you begin your volunteer work, notice how they orient you to the mission and culture of the organization and how they train you for your volunteer assignment. Do you feel comfortable? Did you have enough information to do the job effectively? Did you know who to ask if you had questions?
  • Appreciation – during and after your volunteer service think about how you were made to feel. Organizations often customize their volunteer recognition to fit the particular volunteer. Take note of how they do that with you. Did you know that your service mattered? Did you feel appreciated, or just like a “thank volunteer” box was checked?
  • Continued engagement – following your time with them, take note of how the charity keeps you engaged. Did they look for additional ways to keep you involved? For instance, inviting you to volunteer again or make a donation.
Here’s a fun sample from Meals on Wheels of Tampa that I received because I volunteer for them.

Don’t be afraid to ask your coworkers and board members to share volunteer experiences from the charities they support. This will allow you to create a library of samples – good and bad. 

Every organization approaches the care and management of volunteers differently. That means there are an endless number of lessons to be learned with your hands-on experience and field research.

What Be One post would you like to see next? Contact us and let us know what field research we should get into next.