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What’s Wrong about the Way We Teach Volunteer Management

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Between them, Steve McCurley and Susan J. Ellis have about 70 years of experience in teaching volunteer management, providing training for far more than 500,000 managers of volunteer programs. In this Points of View, these well-known trainers and authors nonetheless acknowledge that they have gotten some significant things wrong in their years of training. For instance, they’ve often ignored the fact that most leaders of volunteers focus on the role only part-time and are often volunteers themselves, working in all-volunteer systems. And they admit that they’ve often failed to train organizational leadership early enough to get them to think correctly about volunteer involvement. 

This transparent Points of View helps explain these and other training mistakes, putting these problems into perspective and providing valuable insights. “It may seem odd that we would write a confessional Points of View in which we admit to our ‘mistakes,’” the authors write. “This is not, however, an indictment of what we do as much as it is a lament for what we do not do that would truly improve the overall management of volunteer programs around the world.”