Having been in the business of working with volunteer leaders of associations for nearly twenty years, I’ve given lots of thought to why people volunteer, what makes people good volunteers and is there such a thing as a bad volunteer? Regarding the last question, do you remember the adage ‘There’s no such thing as bad students, only bad teachers’? I feel the same way about volunteers – there’s no such thing as a bad one. While I haven’t done a scientific study to answer the question of what makes people good volunteers, I do have some anecdotal thoughts to share.
What common traits do successful volunteer leaders have? (In no particular order)
- Desire to help others
- Patience to let other leaders lead
- Ability to communicate with anyone
- Willingness to make decisions by consensus
- Humility to let others get the glory
Come to think of it, many of these are traits of successful leaders in any capacity, not just volunteers. What other traits do you think successful volunteers have?