Last week I read an article in the latest edition of Newz Viewz, Fundraising Institute of New Zealand’s magazine, about how fundraising is a ‘whole of organisation’ activity. Every staff member should be an ambassador for the organisation and provide support to the fundraising team, it said. It crossed my mind that the same can be said about volunteering. Yet in my opinion, the role of staff members in regards to engaging existing donors and volunteers differs quite significantly. Whilst it’s often the fundraising team’s responsibility to maintain the relationship with existing financial donors, with volunteers, who become part of the workforce, all staff members have an ongoing role to play.

As the Best Practice Guidelines for volunteer involving organisations explain, the whole organisation works to involve and recognise volunteers. At the Cancer Society it’s the volunteering managers who are responsible for the volunteering environment. They ensure that the right policies and procedures are in place, that sufficient volunteers are recruited and places in meaningful roles and that volunteers are recognised for their contribution. It is however the staff members’ role to manage the volunteers on a day-to-day basis. Basically speaking, everyone at the Cancer Society is a manager or supervisor of volunteers!

Helga Wientjes, VNZ Vice Chairperson
Helga is the Capacity and Development Manager at the Cancer Society of New Zealand. Helga has 10 years of experience of establishing supportive environments for volunteering in the not-for-profit and government sectors and is also on the advisory committee of her local timebank.