Volunteer Coordinator

The occupation title of ‘volunteer coordinator’ can imply many things, and the position frequently has varying names. However, all volunteer management or coordination careers call for strong leaders who are good judges of character with solid multi-tasking and conflict-management skills. Knowledge of how to create elaborate project plans – then put them into play – is a major benefit. Those who are able to work on their own and as part of a team, and especially those who are resourceful, have ‘know-how’ and can get things done, will do well to pursue a career as a volunteer coordinator.

Another important quality of a person interested in this occupation is an understanding of technology; they should be familiar with modern fundraising and organization software programs, as these tools are frequently used to recruit and communicate with one’s volunteer base. Volunteer databases can be quite large, especially at bigger companies and organizations.

It’s true that the job of a volunteer coordinator can be extremely demanding; however, a successful volunteer coordinator develops and implements projects that make significant things happen for communities, and is thus very rewarding.

What Exactly Does a Volunteer Coordinator Do?

Specific tasks of a volunteer coordinator might include:

  • Outreach (email, letters, phone calls) to recruit volunteers
  • Assessing organizational needs to develop volunteer needs lists
  • Developing volunteer ‘job’ descriptions, based on program need
  • Interviewing potential candidates and performing background checks
  • Training and providing orientations for new volunteers
  • Scheduling volunteers, assigning roles and supervising projects
  • Developing volunteer manuals, training programs, etc.
  • Managing volunteer budgets
  • Evaluating and tweaking volunteer programs as needed

This seems like a lot for one person; potential volunteer coordinators should note that it is common for coordinators to partner with public relations and advertising agencies to help manage the workload, especially for outreach, written communication and database management. Coordinators may also work with a development team on fundraising projects.

Work Environment and Salary Expectations

While the scope of work and the amount of responsibility may vary from job to job, any organization that uses volunteers typically employs a volunteer coordinator or manager in some form. They work for nonprofit organizations, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, churches, and various charitable or social service organizations. The work may be full or part time, and may sometimes require travel.

While the Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not provide information on the occupation of volunteer coordinator, Salary.com reports that the median annual wage for people in this role is $48,849. This number will vary significantly based on one’s experience, location and the organization for which they work.

Education and additional qualifications

Education requirements for volunteer coordinators range from little or no formal post-secondary education to a bachelor’s degree (the field of study is irrelevant). Campbellsville University offers three degree programs that provides comprehensive education for a rewarding career as a volunteer coordinator: the Associate of Science in Christian Studies, the Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Ministries and the Master of Theology. All are offered fully online, and while the requirements fluctuate for each, they can typically be completed in as little as two years.

In addition to the aforementioned skills and qualifications necessary for this role, interested individuals should consider coursework in the following areas to increase their likelihoods of success:

  • Public speaking
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising and grant writing
  • Program management with emphasis on budgeting and financial supervision
  • Foreign languages