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Difficult Volunteers and Resolution Techniques

Difficult Volunteers and Resolution Techniques

You are a new Volunteer Manager, managing a group of volunteers. You are having a very difficult time with Sally, a longtime volunteer with the organization. Unexpectedly, Sally explodes, becomes furious, and throws an embarrassing tantrum. You have received numerous complaints about Sally from other volunteers, staff, and clients. Your director asked you to handle the situation.

· Describe the techniques that you think would be most useful to come to a resolution that will be best for everyone involved.

· Explain how you might use coaching to improve the performance of your volunteers.

· Describe the value of a rewards and recognition program.

· How could you apply a rewards and recognition program to help you avoid problems like Sally’s in the future?

· Resources

· Required References

· Connors, T. D. (2011). Wiley nonprofit law, finance and management series: volunteer management handbook: leadership strategies for success (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 9780470604533.
Chapter 11: Volunteer and Staff Relations

· Lee, Y., Won, D., & Bang, H. (2014). Why do event volunteers return? Theory of planned behavior. International Review on Public and Non-Profit Marketing, 11(3), 229-241. doi:10.1007/s12208-014-0117-0

· Rosenthal, R. J., & Baldwin, G. (2015). Volunteer engagement 2.0: Ideas and insights changing the world. Somerset, NJ: Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 9781118931882.
Chapter 7: Keeping the Volunteers You Have

· Recommended References

· Alfes, K., Shantz, A., & Saksida, T. (2015). Committed to whom? Unraveling how relational job design influences volunteers’ turnover intentions and time spent volunteering. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary & Nonprofit Organizations, 26(6), 2479-2499. doi:10.1007/s11266-014-9526-2

· Connors, T. D. (2012). The volunteer management handbook (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. 
Chapter 12: Communicating with Volunteers and Staff

· Manetti, G., Bellucci, M., Como, E., & Bagnoli, L. (2015). Investing in volunteering: Measuring social returns of volunteer recruitment, training, and management. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 26(5), 2104-2129. doi:10.1007/s11266-014-9497-3

· Sellon, A. (2014). Recruiting and retaining older adults in volunteer programs: Best practices and next steps. Ageing International, 39(4), 421-437.

Difficult Volunteers and Resolution Techniques

Difficult Volunteers and Resolution Techniques

You are a new Volunteer Manager, managing a group of volunteers. You are having a very difficult time with Sally, a longtime volunteer with the organization. Unexpectedly, Sally explodes, becomes furious, and throws an embarrassing tantrum. You have received numerous complaints about Sally from other volunteers, staff, and clients. Your director asked you to handle the situation.

· Describe the techniques that you think would be most useful to come to a resolution that will be best for everyone involved.

· Explain how you might use coaching to improve the performance of your volunteers.

· Describe the value of a rewards and recognition program.

· How could you apply a rewards and recognition program to help you avoid problems like Sally’s in the future?

· Resources

· Required References

· Connors, T. D. (2011). Wiley nonprofit law, finance and management series: volunteer management handbook: leadership strategies for success (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 9780470604533.
Chapter 11: Volunteer and Staff Relations

· Lee, Y., Won, D., & Bang, H. (2014). Why do event volunteers return? Theory of planned behavior. International Review on Public and Non-Profit Marketing, 11(3), 229-241. doi:10.1007/s12208-014-0117-0

· Rosenthal, R. J., & Baldwin, G. (2015). Volunteer engagement 2.0: Ideas and insights changing the world. Somerset, NJ: Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 9781118931882.
Chapter 7: Keeping the Volunteers You Have

· Recommended References

· Alfes, K., Shantz, A., & Saksida, T. (2015). Committed to whom? Unraveling how relational job design influences volunteers’ turnover intentions and time spent volunteering. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary & Nonprofit Organizations, 26(6), 2479-2499. doi:10.1007/s11266-014-9526-2

· Connors, T. D. (2012). The volunteer management handbook (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. 
Chapter 12: Communicating with Volunteers and Staff

· Manetti, G., Bellucci, M., Como, E., & Bagnoli, L. (2015). Investing in volunteering: Measuring social returns of volunteer recruitment, training, and management. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 26(5), 2104-2129. doi:10.1007/s11266-014-9497-3

· Sellon, A. (2014). Recruiting and retaining older adults in volunteer programs: Best practices and next steps. Ageing International, 39(4), 421-437.

Difficult Volunteers and Resolution Techniques

CHAPTER 11

Volunteer and Staff Relations
Nancy Macduff, MACE

Macduff/Bunt Associates

In Volunteers: The Organizational Behavior of Unpaid Workers (Pearce, 1993,p. 177), the author devotes a section of her book to the research data on the rela-
tionship between volunteers and staff. In an early version of the book she refers to
that relationship as “the dirty little secret of volunteerism.” The author of the chapter
had the opportunity to read and comment on the draft of the book’s manuscript. I
applauded her bravery in dramatically underscoring the seriousness of the issue of
volunteer and staff relations. Regrettably, the editors of her book sanitized it to read:
“The tension that can exist between volunteers and employee co-workers remains
one of the unpleasant secrets of nonprofit organizations” (Pearce, 1993, p. 142). It is
unfortunate that her original statement did not survive the editor’s pencil. It is likely
that the relationship between volunteers and staff is more complex and critical than
one might assume (Netting, O’Connor, Thomas, & Yancey, 2005).

The relationship between volunteers and staff has had the attention of both schol-
ars and those who manage volunteer programs for many years. In 1988, Mausner
reviewed practitioner literature reporting on the views of Marlene Wilson and Ivan
Scheier, two noted practitioner writers, among others. Wilson and Scheier stated that
ignoring the relationship of volunteers and staff would impact future volunteer
engagement. Ignore the relationship and the organization runs the risk of dissatisfied
volunteers abandoning traditional organizations forming new nonprofits or self-help
groups and neighborhood associations (Wilson, 1981). Another study reported that
more than 65% of staff reported conflicts with volunteers of a minor nature. They in-
cluded such things as personality conflicts, volunteers not pulling their weight, a lack
of communication, disagreement over how to handle situations, and negative atti-
tudes toward volunteers by staff (Wandersman & Alderman, 1993, cited in Rogelberg
et al., 2010).

Converse to such negative reports, a more recent study reported that 80% of em-
ployees described volunteers as knowing what they are doing, being hard-working,
open-minded, well-trained, friendly, and independent (Rogelberg et al., 2010).

255
The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
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This was in organizations using standard volunteer management processes and with a
designated manager of volunteers.

No matter the study, writer, or results, there was the admonition to guard
against poor volunteer-staff relations, with attendant advice to help everyone
work happily together. There was even some discussion describing the character-
istics of an effective volunteer-staff partnership, the symptoms of poor rela-
tions, how to survey the relationship, or what to do to improve the situation
(Mausner, 1988).

It is the relationship between volunteers and staff that can influence the success
or failure of a program, fundraising event, changes in leadership, and the ability to
make positive organizational changes. When people work together as teams, at all
levels of an organization, agency, or program, efficient and effective services are
delivered to clients, patrons, or members. Harmony is achieved not by accident but
by attention to the needs of both sides of this vital equation. Nonprofit leaders can-
not take for granted such harmony. The experience of both staff and volunteer im-
pacts stress and morale, both of which impact the organization’s ability to deliver
services (Rogelsberg et al., 2010).

Defining the Volunteers and Staff Team

A set or group of people who work together for a common goal is a team. Another
type of team is those players forming one side in certain games and sports. In this
context the team is a thing—a group, an association, an entity. Change the grammati-
cal usage, however, and team becomes people’s willingness to act for the good of the
group rather than their own self-interests.

In selecting members for a board of directors or advisory board, one issue consid-
ered by nominating committees is a candidate’s ability to rise above the single issue to
look at the big picture and thus the welfare of the entire organization. Sometimes vol-
unteers are asked to set aside ways in which they have operated for years and move
into a new mode. Those who do have subordinated what is good for them personally
and put the organization’s needs first. The good of the team takes precedence. This
same philosophy applies to the direct service volunteer who works with clients, mem-
bers, patrons, or leads an event or function. Working with the paid staff in an equal
partnership is essential. Volunteers and staff share involvement on an equal footing
(Mausner, 1988).

The team is also used to describe transport or conveyance. The joint working rela-
tionship between volunteers and paid staff in the Boy Scouts allows children to build
their citizenship skills; in orchestras it brings music to the community; in hospice it
provides skilled and sensitive support to the dying and their families; in libraries it
fights censorship; and in humane societies it supports the work of caring for a com-
munity’s unwanted and unloved animals. Volunteers and staff have the capacity to
transport and carry over the cares and concerns of other people into creative solu-
tions. “A team’s performance includes both individual results and what we call collec-
tive work-products” (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993, p. 114). Those work products reflect
the joint contributions of the members. The effective volunteer-staff team is greater
than the participation of any one member.

256 Volunteer and Staff Relations

The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
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Characteristics of the Effective Volunteer-Staff Team

The literature on volunteer and staff relations stresses the importance of two elements:
the use of standard volunteer management resources and the presence of a desig-
nated individual to manage the volunteer operation. One study showed overwhelm-
ingly that when “volunteer management strategies” were employed, the better the
relationship between paid staff and volunteers (Rogelberg et al., 2010). The greater
the intentionality of managing the volunteer and staff team, the less intention to leave
the organization, less stress, and more stability in the organization.

Utilizing practitioner literature and academic studies over time results in a
consistent list of what constitutes the ideal volunteer and staff team. (Fisher & Cole,
1993; Macduff, 1996; Mausner, 1988; McCurley & Lynch, 2004; Rogelberg et al. 2010;
Scheier, 2003; Wilson, 1976)

& Teams are a manageable size.
“Virtually all effective teams we have met, read or heard about, or been mem-

bers of have ranged between 2 and 25 people. The majority of them have num-
bered less than 10” (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993, p. 112). In most voluntary
organizations, this means that the large group of 100C volunteers and 12 staff are
in subgroups or teams. Those serving on the advisory board or board of directors
are one team, the people who work every other Thursday in the organization’s
office are another team, the committee that plans the annual fun-run fundraiser is
yet another.

& People are appropriately selected to serve on a team.
Putting together the right combination of volunteers and staff in terms of per-

sonality, skills, influence, communication styles, and ability to perform is impor-
tant. The more time and care spent in selecting the right combinations for the
team, the greater the chances of success. It is wise to acknowledge that the
“shared vision” for a project or endeavor can be different between volunteers and
staff based on such things as values, age, educational level, or socioeconomic
group (Mausner, 1988).

& Team leaders are trained.
Whether team leaders are unpaid volunteers or paid staff members, they de-

serve and should be required to receive training. Leaders who think they must do
all the jobs or have little capacity to delegate make poor team leaders. Find a Tom
Sawyer, someone who knows not only how to paint the fence but also knows
how to get others to do it. This is someone who has the makings of a team leader,
who must plan, delegate, and motivate.

& Teams are trained to carry out their tasks.
The board of directors or advisory board is a team. They need training on

how to carry out their responsibilities and tasks. For example, they must under-
stand the fundamental differences between governance and administration. Gov-
ernance is the policy-making role of the board. Administration of the policy is the
responsibility of the staff. Volunteers serving as school aides need to understand
appropriate and inappropriate behavior in relationship to the children. The
teacher (staff) and volunteer aide need to have an understanding of the same set
of expected behaviors.

Characteristics of the Effective Volunteer-Staff Team 257

The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
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& Teams are the foundation of the organization.
Voluntary organizations, whether or not they are staffed by paid personnel,

are founded on the notion of people working together for a common good. Such
a foundation means everyone affiliated with the organization is in some way con-
nected to everyone else. Working together effectively and efficiently is the foun-
dation that builds and strengthens the organization or agency.

& Volunteers and staff are supported by administration.
Managers and administrators of organizations need to understand the impor-

tance of their commitment to the working team—both volunteers and staff. Any
program is enhanced through a formal policy statement that outlines the role of
volunteers and explains the nature of the volunteer-staff relationship. It is evident
that presence of standard volunteer management strategies improves the chance
for harmonious volunteer and staff relations, which in turn leads to positive
employee perceptions of experiences with volunteers (Rogelberg et al., 2010).

& Teams have goals and objectives.
Effective volunteer-staff teams create a shared vision for their work. Usually,

they develop a plan with purposes, goals, objectives, and work plans to guide
their efforts. “Effective teams develop strong commitment to a common approach,
that is, to how they will work together to accomplish their purpose” (Fisher &
Cole, 1993, p. 26). Trust cannot be ordained. It develops when people work to-
gether successfully. Having a plan helps to build the mutuality of experience that
builds trust over time. Two primary elements are essential to effective volunteer
and staff relationships: trust and shared power (Mausner, 1988).

& Volunteers and staff trust and support one another.
People come to trust each other when they have shared positive experien-

ces. A lack of trust creates imbalance between volunteers and staff (Mausner,
1988). In a voluntary organization, this means that everyone knows the purpose
of the organization and the tasks at hand. Goals are developed by members of
the team working together. Some orchestra boards of directors, for example, de-
cide how much money is to be raised by a guild or association during their bud-
get building process and do not consult with the volunteers whose
responsibility it is to raise the money. This undermines trust and support among
governance volunteers, fundraising volunteers, and the staff who must work
with both.

& Communication between volunteers and staff is both vertical and horizontal.
The common notion about communication deals with the sending and

receiving of messages. Communication is really about sending “meanings” (Wil-
son, 1976). It is less a language process and more a people process. It involves
the active and continuous use of such things as active listening, providing feed-
back, telephone trees, regular e-mails or texts. The messages aim at clarifying
perceptions; reading body language; and noticing symbols that communicate
meaning. It travels in all directions in the organizational structure—up, down
and horizontally. Leadership volunteers communicate with direct-service volun-
teers. Staff communicates with volunteers all the time. Hierarchical blocks to
communication are bridged when volunteers and staff work together effec-
tively. It is also true that working together is best facilitated by good
communication.

258 Volunteer and Staff Relations

The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
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& The organizational structure promotes communication between volunteers
and staff.

Volunteers and staff need policies, procedures, and structures that permit and
encourage them to communicate. A group of volunteers who raised a great deal
of money for an organization and led educational programs had a small office
(read closet) in the administrative offices of a large nonprofit group. In a manage-
ment shuffle, the new executive director saw no reason why these women (the
group was largely female) could not work out of their homes. The small office
was then available for storage. Volunteers who could once walk down the hall
and talk with paid staff colleagues about their plans and activities were now
forced to deal with the voice and e-mail structure. Appointments were needed to
share information. This is an example of the organization creating roadblocks to
effective communication.

& The work of volunteers and staff has real responsibility.
Millions of volunteers stuff envelopes each year for organizations, agencies,

and programs. Seems like an unimportant job except that it provides information,
education, and news to constituents, clients, or members. Most volunteers know
this and willingly fold and stuff for hours because it is a real job with real responsi-
bility. All jobs need to be described clearly as to how it aids in accomplishing the
mission of the organization.

& Volunteers and staff have fun while accomplishing their tasks.
Harmonious relationships between volunteers and staff are readily apparent

in the amount of fun exhibited during planning meetings, at activities, or during
evaluation sessions. A group of volunteers and staff recruiting parents to serve as
leaders of youth clubs heard many people say no before someone would agree to
serve. A volunteer came to a meeting and said, “I think I have heard the worst
excuse yet for not volunteering. A woman told me yesterday she couldn’t be a
leader of her son’s club because she ironed.” This brought laughter all around
and generated other “best excuse” stories. Someone produced a notebook and
the “funny excuses” were recorded. The recording of best excuses was institution-
alized by the group and it went on for years. New members, volunteers, and staff
were indoctrinated with readings from the book by returning members. The hu-
mor and affection exhibited by the group built a sense of fun and reinforced the
concept of mutual responsibility. Never underestimate the impact of fun on vol-
unteers and/or staff.

& There is recognition for the contributions of volunteers and staff.
Volunteers publicly recognize the work of staff. Staff publicly acknowledges

the efforts of volunteers. There are both formal and informal expressions of
appreciation for the work accomplished by groups. Management or administra-
tion encourages this and organizes ways to make it easy for the recognition to
occur. This effort at recognition is consistent, public, and visible.

& Volunteers and staff celebrate their successes.
Celebrations with food, frivolity, and friendship are a hallmark of effective

volunteer and staff relationships. These activities are often spontaneous and in-
expensive. It can be as simple as a visit to a local coffee shop or pizza parlor.
They are encouraged by the leadership of the organization and might often be
led by them. Budgets in nonprofit organizations are planned to pay for

Characteristics of the Effective Volunteer-Staff Team 259

The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
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celebratory events to herald the effectiveness of the volunteers and staff who
work together to achieve the mission of the organization.

& The entire organization sees itself as portioning and encouraging the health of
volunteer and staff relationships.

Building effective volunteer and staff relationships works only when every-
one in the organization sees him or herself as part of a volunteer-staff partnership
and actively promotes such relationships.

Managing Different Types of Volunteer-Staff Teams

There are three different types of teams: volunteer-staff teams that make or do things,
teams that run things, and teams that recommend things. The next descriptions give
some idea of how they might be managed effectively.

Volunteer-Staff Teams that Make or Do Things

These groups provide the most direct service—stuff envelopes, visit shut-ins, deliver
library books, walk dogs, take blood pressure, lead Girl Scout or 4-H clubs, teach nu-
trition, weigh rice into one-pound sacks, and make soup for the homeless. The work
these teams do has no end date because their activities are ongoing. Managers need to
observe and assess these types of teams on a continuing basis. By measuring produc-
tivity and performance on a regular basis, alterations are made in how work groups
are organized; the training they receive; and client, member, or patron responses.
Feedback must be quick, clear, concise, and continual.

Volunteer-Staff Teams that Run Things

The board of directors, an advisory committee, or a group overseeing some functional
activity of the organization or agency is a team that is in effect governing. The key here
is to help the team avoid being like the make- or do-things groups described above. If
the volunteers and staff want to organize as a team, they must have goals and objectives
separate from those encompassed in the mission of the organization.

Boards of directors, for example, often focus their planning on accomplishing the
mission of the organization, to the exclusion of the development of their own skills as
governance volunteers. The board needs separate and distinct goals and objectives,
apart from the organizational goals and objectives. These might include such things as
communication skill training, risk management presentations, or skills to manage
conflict.

Governance groups, boards of directors, or advisory groups frequently have
teams within the larger group. Standing or ad hoc committees make up smaller teams,
but they are in no way the only small team within the larger group. As executive direc-
tor of a nonprofit organization for almost 15 years, the author developed a team rela-
tionship with five succeeding presidents of the board, and in several cases the team
was enlarged to include other officers. The volunteer and staff pairing allowed for
creativity in problem solving, leadership development of others, program innovation,
policy direction, and organizational change. These small teams did not operate to

260 Volunteer and Staff Relations

The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
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exclude others; rather they operated to develop the plans and strategies to enable
other volunteers and staff to perform as effectively as possible.

Volunteer-Staff Teams that Recommend Things

Nonprofit and voluntary groups rely heavily on task forces, advisory panels, and proj-
ect groups. These are groups with a short time period to accomplish their tasks or
solve a problem. A special team dissolves after making recommendations for a pro-
gram. Initially, this is a task force type of group—a group that must get off to a fast start
and meet deadlines for recommendations or activities.

The key component of building teams that recommend is an early and clear role
definition and the opportunity for volunteers and staff to create their own goals and
objectives. The relationship between volunteers and staff can be enhanced if members
are selected carefully. This is often the time to put together individuals, volunteers, and
paid staff, and have a track record of working effectively in a group. It is also important
to include people who will ensure that the recommendations are carried out.

Building effective volunteer-staff teams involves more than implementing training
programs on communication. It includes knowing the types of teams that can be
formed, what skills its members need, how to match tasks with skills and interpersonal
style, and how to address the challenges faced by the teams.

A band that played an open-air concert at a county fair had several members who
sang, played, and worked the front of the stage. Additional musicians behind them
served in a more supportive role. The obvious harmony of this team came from their
agreement about programming, their communication while on-stage, the fun they had
with each other, and their willingness to listen to all members, those in front and those
further back, in order to enhance the concert. This musical team was a delight to hear.
“Usually when this occurs it is that the unique and separate talents of all those in-
volved were somehow blended into a whole that was greater than all of its parts”
(Wilson, 1976, p. 181). It is also the ideal to which all volunteer and staff teams should
subscribe.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Poor Volunteer-Staff Relationships

In some organizations there is a lack of communication that influences the very sur-
vival of the institution. Volunteers and staff are locked in adversarial roles detrimental
to the health of the entire organization (Rogelberg et al., 2010). This usually begins
gradually and at first is noticed by few staff or volunteers. Symptoms include the in-
creasing use of “us and them” language. Volunteer managers hear things like, “They
always do things like this to us.” “We would never do something like that to them.”
There is uncertainty among volunteers and staff about roles and responsibilities. Indi-
viduals are often uncooperative about working on joint projects. They do not commu-
nicate directly, but go around each other to get questions answered and problems
solved. There is a risk volunteers will leave and paid staff resign (McElroy, Morrow, &
Rude, 2001, p. 424, cited in Rogelberg et al., 2010).

Volunteers and staff often carve out territory and guard it tenaciously (McNair,
1981, p. 3, cited in Mausner, 1988). For example, programs become the sole property

Recognizing the Symptoms of Poor Volunteer-Staff Relationships 261

The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
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of staff, volunteers stake out a fundraising event and won’t entertain suggestions from
staff, or board members go into secret meetings to establish budgets and do not con-
sult direct service volunteers or paid staff.

When volunteers and staff have poor relations there is little information sharing.
In territorial environments information is power. “Withhold information and you are in
control” is the philosophy. A large city orchestra had to cancel its concert season due
to a severe money shortage. Leaders asked season ticketholders to donate the pur-
chased tickets and not to request refunds. Several months after this dramatic action
the president of the volunteer association knew little about any plans to improve the
financial situation, despite the fact that the association would be expected to raise sev-
eral hundred thousands of dollars to help balance the budget.

Withholding of information is a way for the board and senior staff to demonstrate
their ownership of the budget. It is also a flashing road sign warning that the relation-
ship between volunteers and staff is not healthy. How can management and voluntary
leaders determine the current state of volunteer-staff relations and then develop strat-
egies to improve the staff-volunteer work environment to increase productivity? The
first step is to conduct an audit of current volunteer-staff relations, and the second is
to implement appropriate steps or strategies to improve the relationship between the
two groups.

Volunteer-Staff Climate Audit

The volunteer-staff climate audit (see Exhibit 11.1) assesses the current state of volun-
teer-staff relations and provides a way to monitor changes in the working environ-
ment. It is distributed to randomly selected members of staff, volunteers, clients/
patrons/members, and perhaps people outside the organizational family who regu-
larly interact with staff and/or volunteers (if an outsiders’ perspective is needed).

The process begins with the organization of an audit committee, which is led by a
volunteer-staff team. Members include volunteers from all areas of the organization
and representatives of staff (including people who do paid-staff support work). The
person who coordinates or manages volunteers is a likely candidate to provide staff
support to this committee. The audit committee needs the support of management
and administration with a budget and the resources to carry out its assignment. The
commitment of leaders in the organization to an assessment of volunteer-staff rela-
tions will be judged not just by words but by the actions taken to support the efforts
designed by the audit committee. The audit committee should follow all the recom-
mendations for effective teams listed later in this chapter. Their work begins with a
purpose statement and a list of goals and objectives that are measurable, achievable,
demanding, flexible, and observable.

A random sample of volunteers, staff, and clients should be surveyed, with each
group receiving one-third of the questionnaires. For example, if you want to survey
300 people, each group is sent one-third of the questionnaires. If you add outsiders to
the group, they receive half the number distributed to the three main internal groups.
In the sample of 300, only 50 outsiders would receive questionnaires. The number
distributed depends on the size of the organization, how many volunteers it uses,
how long it will take to compile the results, and the cooperation expected from those
completing the form.

262 Volunteer and Staff Relations

The Volunteer Management Handbook : Leadership Strategies for Success, edited by Tracy D. Connors, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2011.
ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=697552.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-05-04 10:35:37.

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The audit can be distributed electronically with a program such as Survey-
Monkey, Google Apps, or via regular mail. Whether electronic or snail mail the
total survey includes: a cover letter explaining the purpose of the activity, who is
conducting the survey, how confidentiality is maintained, when the results are
available, and how a respondent can see the results. If the survey is mailed, it
should include a stamped return envelope.

EXHIBIT 11.1 Volunteer-Staff Climate Audit

Directions: Read each situation and decide how frequently it occurs: Usually, or Sometimes,
or Rarely. Circle the appropriate number. Try to respond to each situation.

Situation Usually Sometimes Rarely

1. “They never” or “we always” are words heard when staff
members refer to volunteers.

1 2 3

2. Volunteers ask for credits or measures of their
worth. Examples: paid parking, discounts mileage
allowance, etc.

1 2 3

3. Volunteers and staff both use such words as “together,
we, our project” (meaning staff and volunteers), etc.

3 2 1

4. Reports on volunteer activities during management
meetings come from other staff, not just the person
responsible for volunteer coordination.

3 2 1

5. Volunteers are visible on board of directors or advisory
board committees.

3 2 1

6. Decisions affecting volunteers are made by staff without
consulting the volunteers.

1 2 3

7. Decisions affecting staff are made by volunteers without
consulting the staff.

1 2 3

8. Volunteers say “thank you” to staff publicly. 3 2 1
9. Staff treats volunteers who serve on the board of

directors or advisory board with more respect than