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Many private and public organizations have volunteering programs aimed at improving brand awareness or promoting community projects. Volunteer coordinators are integral to the success of these programs. They recruit, train and supervise volunteers, organize volunteering activities and maintain all relevant records. These professionals can work for academic institutions, religious organizations, political parties, charities and commercial companies.
Using the Necessary Skills
Volunteer coordinators should be proficient communicators with superb multitasking skills. They must communicate with volunteers in a clear and understandable manner and serve as liaison with several organizations, including youth groups, local authorities and other external agencies. Coordinators require strong interpersonal skills to develop rapport with volunteers and work effectively with people from various cultural backgrounds. Analytical skills also come in handy when the coordinators are assessing the competencies of volunteers to develop effective training or continuing education programs.
The main duty of a volunteer coordinator is to organize volunteering activities on behalf of an organization. For example, a coordinator who works at a bank may organize volunteering activities to help further the bank's community social responsibility projects. She may conduct outreach events to increase the community’s awareness of these projects and inform the public that the organization is accepting new volunteers. If the bank requires prospective volunteers to make applications, the coordinator reviews them and selects qualified volunteers. She also participates in their training by developing and distributing training materials, such as pocket brochures.
Another duty of volunteer coordinators is to respond to public inquiries. In an animal welfare charity, for instance, the coordinator may respond to inquiries about animal donations, as well as availability of volunteering opportunities. The coordinator must maintain up-to-date records of all volunteers and write grants or funding bids. Coordinators also represent their employers in relevant seminars and conferences, oversee program budgets and other resources and organize volunteer appreciation events.
Employers typically prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree in social or human services, public administration or community development. Since this job often involves traveling to different locations, aspiring coordinators with a valid driver’s license have stronger prospects of being hired. The Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration offers the CVA credential, which ambitious coordinators can combine with a master’s degree in public or business administration to qualify for senior positions, such as director of volunteer services. Others can move into related occupations, such as community development management.
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