Tomorrow’s Volunteer Management…?

Just stumbled across a review (by Kanul Goenka) of a book written in 1997 by Dave Ulrich, Michael Losey & Gerry Lake, entitled: “Tomorrow’s HR management”.

Well that was 13 years ago, so it must be tomorrow for HR management by now… However, I’ve taken the liberty of substituting ‘HR’ terms with ‘Volunteer Management’ terms in the commentary below, which provides some interesting thinking fodder for where Volunteer Management may be now, and where it might be in the future…


Managers and Volunteer Management professionals should understand that line managers are the leaders of the organisations and as such they are responsible for the management of volunteer management. Line managers should understand that the people work is the most important work; it is the core work of management. If a manager does not want to deal with the people side of the job, then he/she should be moved to a technical job where individual contribution is needed; and let someone else lead on volunteer management. “Leadership of people is an honour, not a bleak chore to be passed on to someone else.” Volunteer Managers are accountable to management for excellent volunteer management processes, tools and coaching that work. They are responsible to energetically influence managers to effectively use the tools that have been designed…A contrast has been depicted between Volunteer Management and the Volunteer Management Department. This vividly shows the areas of responsibility that have drawn out for line managers and Volunteer Management professionals.

Line managers – Implementation/application of Volunteer Management tools and practices  – Outcome: Creation of value through effective management of volunteers

Volunteer Management Department – Development of Volunteer Management tools and practices – Outcome: Effective Volunteer Management practice

After all, it is the line managers who possess the best understanding of the role profile, role requirements, resources required for the role, of the volunteers they are responsible for. Hence, they are in the best position to manage the issues that arise in daily transactions. No doubt, the success of the Volunteer Management policies depends on the execution by the line managers.

There is a skill set which any Volunteer Manager has to possess if they have to lead into the future. There are new generation roles that they have to perform. It is not anybody’s job. Vision and foresight: Volunteer Management professionals have been making the transition over the years from administrators to business partners to leaders of change. The next logical step in the transformation of the Volunteer Management function will involve the ability to see around corners. This skill encompasses the vision and foresight to anticipate future trends and the organisational savvy, credibility, and leadership skills to influence and shape these trends. Volunteer Managers will focus increasingly on turning volunteer resources into a strategic competitive advantage for the organisation. The quality of people and people-related practices is exceedingly difficult to imitate for the competitors. These are embedded in the culture of the organisation.

One thought on “Tomorrow’s Volunteer Management…?

  1. It’s so smart to keep an eye forward to the future and examine the potential for how things will be run.  I completely agree that vision and foresight are, and will continue to be super important for continued growth.  Keeping an eye towards the future would also be a good idea in chickasaw tribal preservation.  If we do not look for ways to save the original culture of this country, soon it will be gone.

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