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Managing Staff and Volunteers
Good management of your staff and volunteers is the key to a successful Community Facility. Insensitive management of staff and volunteers may undermine all your efforts to achieve aims that you have set. Authoritarian management may alienate staff and volunteers, whereas indecisive leadership may cause a lack of direction and stagnation. 

Participatory management means that staff members, volunteers and community representatives are encouraged to participate in various aspects concerning planning, decision-making, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The basis of participatory management is the acknowledgement that no single person has the knowledge, wisdom and capacity to do all the planning and the implementation by him or herself. Decisions are often taken by consensus. 

One way to ensure the effectiveness of participatory management is by developing appropriate sub-structures. The following are but a few examples: 

  • A sub-committee for financial management consisting of the financial manager, the accountant and one community member. 
  • A task group consisting of one project manager and four volunteers from the members, which is responsible for the organisation of a sports day.
  • A commission of enquiry into grievances of staff, consisting of the deputy chairperson, the personnel manager and a knowledgeable member of the community. 

The management of volunteers is different from the management of permanent and temporary workers. Volunteers are committed to the job due to their own interests. From the beginning of their involvement in the facility the limitations to career building should be pointed out. The manager should use the volunteerís involvement for building the personís capacity and possible entrance to the employment market. Realising that the voluntary work may lead to better living circumstances will motivate the worker to deliver his/her best. 

Other volunteers join the community facility to satisfy their need for helping other people. There is a limit to what volunteers are willing to do. They usually have other commitments in life. For this reason the management of volunteers is based more on a mutual understanding than on a contractual relationship. 

In all cases volunteers should be supervised by permanent staff of the facility, in order to ensure that the job is done in accordance with the planning by management. This supervision will also build the management skills of the permanent staff member. Lastly, it should be clear that the involvement of volunteers is directly linked to community ownership of the facility. The more volunteers participate, the more the facility is anchored in the community. 

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Copyright: Alexsan Kopano Educational Trust and/or organisations and/or persons associated with Alexsan Kopano Educational Trust.
Page last updated: 05/04/2012 .

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