Volunteering wouldn’t work without managers

Can you imagine companies without managers? That each employee would set his or her own goals regardless of the needs of the company? Most probably it wouldn’t work. And similarly, it wouldn’t work either in the volunteering area.

Coordinator is the manager of the volunteers. He/she is not a volunteer. It is a recognized position which is listed in the National Scheme of Professions. The definition says: Volunteers´ coordinator coordinates volunteers in NGOs, municipal, public and religious organisations. He/she plans the volunteers´ programme, conducts the recruiting, and preparation of the volunteers. He/she guides them, motivates them and evaluates their activities and achieved results. He/she prepares administrative and legal documents in the area of work with volunteers. Coordinator has to be able to choose, train, motivate and keep volunteers for a certain volunteering programme. He/she is a guarantee of its quality. 

Volunteers´ coordinators is a paid position

Contrary to the volunteers, who devote their time and energy to other for free and without any entitlement to financial provision, their coordinators are paid. The reason is simple. Just like a manager in a successful company volunteers´ coordinator has to be sufficiently qualified, have required competences for the work, has to be trained, regularly communicate and motivate his/her people. If he/she is a good manager also the employees, company and clients grow. The same goes for the volunteers´ coordinators.

Not everyone can get the certificate of coordinator

The minimum criteria for the manager of volunteers is completed secondary education by the final exam. If the coordinator wants to get an official certificate of Volunteers´ Coordinator he/she has two possibilities: First he/she can take part in the certified training programme called Training of Volunteers´ Management, which is regularly organised by the Platform of Voluntary Centres and Organisations. After the training he/she has to work out a manual for the work with volunteers in his/her organisation. If the manual is of a high quality the coordinator receives a certificate accredited by the Slovak Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport. Second option is to get a certificate from a so called Validating Commission. In that case he/she has to have at least two years experience with managing volunteers. Such a practice should be sufficient to conduct the work on a professional level. Consequently he/she passes the basic and advanced training. Then the Validating Commission decides to grant or not to grant the certificate for the position. Validating Commission is an independent body or organisation which consists of experts in the area of volunteering and assesses the alignment of the knowledge and skills with the set requirements.

Volunteers´ coordinator work in a nutshell

Volunteers´ coordinator is in charge of a particular volunteering programme. Our long-term programme Som tu pre Teba (I am here for you) can serve as an example. Within this programme volunteers are tutoring children in crisis centres. The coordinator of this project takes care of recruitment of volunteers for the programme. After selecting them he/she takes care of the necessary things for volunteers to be able to fulfil their activities. In this case it concerns mainly the necessaire training and all the things needed for tutoring. At the same time the coordinator manages the relations between volunteers and employees of the organisation to which they help (crisis centre) and its clients. He/she regularly communicates with volunteers and motivates them. He/she organises intervisions and supervisions. He/she also concludes agreements with volunteers, organises the tutoring programme, completes the work with volunteers, issues confirmations, writes reports from meetings and final reports, etc.

Continual education

In order not to stagnate also the volunteers´ coordinator has to be continuously trained and has to receive new skills. This is why our Voluntary Centre offers organisations which work with volunteers in Bratislava region the possibility of regular consultations, trainings and supervisions, where they can verify if their procedures were correct and they can improve their professionalism and avoid burn-out. Every second Wednesday we organise Workshops on volunteers´ coordination and also Evening school of volunteers´ management.

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Many thanks!

BDC Team

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