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The Road Not Taken

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Colleen Kelly suggests that volunteer management has taken the road more travelled – the easier road – because when we began the process of formalizing volunteer involvement we did so mainly from the point of view of organizations recruiting volunteers to “fill positions” largely defined by paid staff. “I feel that this is one of our most pressing current challenges: developing a people-centred process, rather than a position-centred one – the road not yet taken.”

Based on an experimental project at Volunteer Vancouver, Kelly presents the concept of deploying entrepreneurial volunteers (EV) as “Scopers” to assist organizations in determining innovative ways to utilize highly- or specially-skilled prospective volunteers. She notes there are two approaches:

  • Working with the ED: We can begin a process of working with organizations to determine the very specific tasks that highly-skilled volunteers can do for the organization.
  • Working with the EV : We can teach the entrepreneurial volunteer how to go through a process of finding – and getting – the right volunteer position.