7 Misconceptions About Volunteers

Your perspective about who volunteers are, what they are responsible for and how you interact with them could be what’s holding you back from creating a robust volunteer program. Here are the most common seven misconceptions about volunteers.

Misconception #1: Volunteers are just free labor.

While it is true that volunteers offer their services without monetary compensation, viewing them solely as a source of free labor oversimplifies their role. Volunteers bring valuable skills, expertise, and dedication to various causes, making significant contributions beyond their time commitment.

Misconception #2: Volunteers are  not as committed or reliable as paid employees.

This misconception stems from the assumption that because volunteers are not financially bound to an organization, they may lack dedication or reliability. However, many volunteers are highly committed individuals who choose to contribute their time and skills out of passion and personal investment in the cause. They often demonstrate exceptional commitment and reliability, rivaling that of paid employees.

Misconception #3: Volunteers can replace paid staff.

Volunteers and paid staff serve different roles within an organization. While volunteers provide crucial support, their contributions are typically supplementary to the core work performed by paid employees. Volunteers often assist with tasks that require additional support or specialized skills, but they cannot replace the need for a trained and compensated workforce.

Misconception #4: Organizations can rely solely on volunteers to meet their needs.

Depending solely on volunteers to meet all organizational needs is an unrealistic expectation. While volunteers play a vital role, organizations require stable and sustainable resources to function effectively. Funding, infrastructure, and paid staff are necessary components for achieving long-term success. Volunteers should be seen as valuable assets, but not as the sole solution to all operational requirements.

Misconception #5: Volunteers are less skilled or competent than paid professionals.

Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and bring a wide range of skills and expertise to their roles. Many volunteers possess professional experience, advanced qualifications, or specialized knowledge in their respective fields. Assuming that volunteers lack competence based solely on their volunteer status disregards the valuable skills and knowledge they can offer.

Misconception #6: Volunteers are available on demand and have unlimited availability.

Volunteers have their own personal commitments and limitations. They often juggle their volunteer work alongside other responsibilities, such as jobs, family obligations, and personal pursuits. Relying on volunteers as an unlimited resource without considering their availability and personal constraints can lead to unrealistic expectations and potential burnout.

Misconception #7: Volunteers are not entitled to appreciation or recognition.

Volunteers dedicate their time, energy, and skills to support causes they believe in, often without seeking recognition or reward. However, it is essential to appreciate and acknowledge their contributions. Recognizing volunteers’ efforts through expressions of gratitude, certificates, or public acknowledgments helps foster a positive and sustainable volunteer culture within organizations.

Remember, while volunteers are not compensated financially, their contributions should be acknowledged, respected, and integrated into organizational strategies effectively to create mutually beneficial partnerships.

If you want to create a thriving volunteer program, it’s important that you have a robust training plan and system for accountability for their success. Our training templates help develop a comprehensive onboarding program.

Need More?

We’re just beginning to scratch the surface on how to effectively manage your volunteers. If you’d like to learn more about how to train and retain volunteers, I encourage to get started building your Volunteer Management System today. If you need a little help getting started, try downloading our Volunteer Training Templates.

larek point consulting - volunteer training templates - non-profits

These Canva templatesare plug and play. That means we guide you through creating your volunteer success training. Click the graphic above and get immediate access to the training templates you need to create your Volunteer Impact Army.

larek point - volunteer training


Why Use Our Templates?

Efficiency: Our templates are meticulously designed to save you time and effort. With ready-to-use modules, you can quickly create engaging training materials tailored to your organization’s unique needs.

Effectiveness: Our templates are crafted by experts in volunteer management. They incorporate best practices and proven strategies to ensure that your volunteers receive high-quality training, empowering them to make a meaningful impact.

Customizability: We understand that every organization is different. That’s why our templates are fully customizable. You can easily modify and personalize them to align with your organization’s values, goals, and specific training requirements.

Comprehensive Content: Our training templates cover a wide range of essential topics, including volunteer orientation, role-specific training, communication strategies, and more. You’ll have everything you need to equip your volunteers with the knowledge and skills they need to excel.

User-Friendly Format: The templates are Canva files, making it easy for you to navigate, edit, and share with your team. You can easily download into a printable PDF and share with your new volunteers.

There’s no need to try to create your Training Program on your own. We’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is download the Volunteer Training Templates.