HR has much to contribute to volunteer management

But it needs to keep in mind that volunteers have different motivations
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/21/2006

When Catherine Connelly’s mother worked as a school librarian, she was completely dependent on volunteers to run the library programs successfully. But there were limits as to what she could ask her volunteers to do because the dynamic between volunteers and their managers was very delicate.

“It’s almost like they’re a guest in your organization,” said Connelly, an assistant professor of human resources and management at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton. “You can’t be as bossy as you would ordinarily be. Volunteers are there doing you a favour.”

But volunteers are immensely valuable to the economy. In 2000, non-profit organizations contributed $65.1 billion to the Canadian economy, or 6.4 per cent of the total, according to a 2005 Statistics Canada report,