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Be Prepared: Answers To The 5 Most Common Excuses Non-Profit Staff Use To Avoid Engaging Volunteers

Posted By Sammy Feilchenfeld, Training Coordinator, January 6, 2016

 Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


It’s a new year and you’re thinking about growing your volunteer program– more volunteers means more impact right? Well, before you get more volunteers on board, consider how that will affect the staff of your organization! Getting staff buy-in for volunteer involvement is an important step to ensuring a successful volunteer program. You might face some resistance getting volunteers–or more volunteers–engaged in your organization. Here’s a few helpful tips to help you respond to the 5 most common excuses non-profit staff use to avoid engaging volunteers:


It’s more trouble than it’s worth”

Volunteers bring great benefits to:

       The organization by increasing the number of work hours, skills & perspectives contributing toward achieving your mission

       The community by potentially improving the quality and types of services you provide

       The volunteers by providing valuable experience, skills and a sense of community

       The staff by teaching them supervision and management skills along with more resources available to the staff team


“I don’t want someone else to do my job”

 Volunteers shouldn’t be brought into do the same work as paid program staff; they should supplement that work by adding value for clients & the organization. Staff can even help create volunteer roles based on their support needs!


“I don’t know how to work with volunteers”

You may need to provide training for staff on some elements of volunteer management, but the added benefit is that this training will give staff a better understanding of the value of volunteer engagement.


“I don’t have the time”

Staff shouldn’t supervise volunteers unless it’s in their actual job description, so it should be built into the plan for those individuals’ time. Senior leadership should also provide support to these staff to develop management skills and recognize their contribution.


“We don’t really need volunteers”

Remember your organization’s mission – if the strategic and work plans include volunteers to achieve your goals, then the benefits are clear and volunteers should be brought on board!

It may be difficult to get staff to buy-in to volunteer involvement – being prepared with answers to their comments can be a great start. You should also consider providing training for your staff about the volunteer program; if you don’t know where to start, try using the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement as a guide.

If you really want to get a head start on getting staff ready for volunteers, check out Volunteer Toronto’s On-Demand Training program. Our knowledgeable and dedicated trainers will come to your space to provide training on specialized topics for an affordable price! 

As Volunteer Toronto's Training Coordinator, Sammy develops and delivers in-person, online and on-demand training in order to support managers and coordinators of volunteers in Toronto’s non-profit and charitable organizations. 

Tags:  How to convince staff they need volunteers  how to get staff buy-in for volunteer engagement  volunteer leaders  volunteer management  volunteer programs 

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