A volunteer coordinator works within an agency or organization to recruit, retain, motivate, and support volunteers. Volunteer coordinator jobs may be part or full time positions, and can differ greatly in scope and job responsibilities. Volunteer coordinator jobs may be found at charitable organizations, public agencies, libraries, and hospitals. Positions usually are available at schools, museums, and artistic venues as well, or at any organization that relies on unpaid labor to fulfill its mission. In many cases, a volunteer coordinator's job description will evolve as he continues to work within his organization.
While many organizations benefit greatly from the efforts of their volunteers, managing a large volunteer force can be overwhelming, particularly if an organization has few paid staff members. By hiring a volunteer coordinator, staff members can focus on their jobs instead of managing volunteers. A volunteer coordinator may be hired from among an organization's volunteer pool, or he may be someone with experience in organizational administration. In some cases, particularly in very small organizations, the volunteer coordinator jobs may be performed by a regular employee as part of his job responsibilities.
Volunteer coordinator jobs can be found in a wide variety of fields and organization types. Churches and other houses of worship often rely on volunteer labor in their various ministries and may even have different volunteer coordinators for each of its ministries and departments. Food banks, homeless shelters, and other public charities may rely on a volunteer coordinator to schedule workers to serve meals or make building repairs as well. An understaffed library also can make use of volunteer coordinators to manage volunteers who perform tasks such as checking in and shelving books, assisting patrons with basic reference needs, or folding newsletters and stuffing envelopes.
Some volunteer coordinator jobs require more professional experience than others. This is particularly true when a volunteer coordinator is working for an organization that serves a vulnerable population, such as the elderly, the developmentally disabled, or children. In this type of environment, the volunteer coordinator may be responsible for developing a screening process for volunteers in order to prevent the victimization of an organization's clients.
Volunteer coordinators may also have overlapping duties in the areas of fundraising or publicity and may need a significant background in one or both of these areas. For example, an organization may hold an annual dance or afternoon tea as a fundraising event, and the volunteer coordinator may be responsible for organizing the event and managing its volunteer staff. The volunteer coordinator may also need to publicize the event and work with area businesses to encourage event sponsorship and ongoing donations to the organization.