Hello Mark and Michael

Besides my business and work, I am involved in volunteer work in an organization called Junior Chamber International. Next year, I will become chairman of our chapter composed of 40 members.

15 members will be closely involved in the management of the chapter.

What I have heard so far in the podcast is more applicable to the Corporate World where Managers have actually some power on their directs. In volunteer workplace, that seems a different ball game.

What would you suggestion I do to manage this group, in this specific environment ? I plan to use the Trinity, as I already do with success in my business.

Thanks in advance,


kklogic's picture

I have no non-profit experience, so I can't answer your question. However, I highly recommend a read of the Good to Great monolith re: the social sector. It talks directly to your question.

asteriskrntt1's picture

In volunteer roles like this, you are relying more on relationship power than role power. I suggest you build the relationships.

It also sounds like you are expecting trouble. JCI is very well-run organization. Why are you worrying about it?


US41's picture

Working with volunteers is very different. I found some Manager Tools work well, and some do not function at all. You need fuel for fire, and with volunteers, certain fuels are not available to start a fire.

* O3's - I found volunteers unwilling to take out even 10 mins a week by phone to meet about what was going on with them or with me. They are volunteers, not direct reports, and most in this organization seemed to feel that I was lucky to have them at all, and I would eat what they give me and like it or they would give me the finger and walk out forever.

* Feedback - only useful if offered as peer feedback. Much softer approach is needed than the feedback model, and again, if you don't like what they are doing, you are more likely to be told to stick it.

* Coaching - forget it. They don't work for you and are not looking for you to better them. Without that verticalism created by a paycheck, this is just pedantic bullying from a peer.

* Delegation. This model on the other hand is HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.


* Introduction tool - VERY EFFECTIVE!

* How to pre-wire a meeting - YES YES YES!

* How to host a meeting - YES! Very useful

So, the skills that involve you disciplining your own behavior work rather well. The tools that involve you using techniques to extract additional performance from volunteers those are much more iffy. Some are OK with some of it, but you have to really tread lightly in how to implement.

Convincing volunteers to do more is more about praise praise and more praise... and selling them on their volunteerism. It's just not the same when you need them and they don't need you at all for anything other than good feelings.

In this case, my high D just results in a collision with a tree, and a high S or high I would be far better equipped than I - because it's not just all about relationships with volunteers. It is ONLY about relationships.

PierG's picture

most of MT suggestion are based on one fact: people is the key! (Horstman's law #?? :) ). There is no difference between corporate and 'other' words on this aspect.
Sure, some of the suggestions might not be used exactly as they are delivered if, for example, you don't write their review but there is so much value that you'll find a way.
Keep trying!

bug_girl's picture

I disagree with US41--MT can work for volunteers, and it sounds like you'll have people who are motivated to contribute. That will be a big help.
I have successfully used coaching many times with our volunteers.

(Our volunteers that are serving [b]involuntary[/b] community service time also can be managed the MT way, but it's [i]way[/i] more time intensive and a real PITA. Usually I just let them fail. Sorry, can't save everyone.)

It isn't always a perfect fit--I don't meet weekly with each of our 20+ volunteers, for example. But they do check in with other employees, and we definitely provide feedback.

It is about relationships.
But I have the High S/Agent pattern, so I would say that :P