You should not attempt to manage the volunteers individually. That is why you appoint one of them as your point of contact.
You may have some people who are eminently technically qualified. Be cautious, however, in placing some in places of authority. A leader must be people oriented first; technical skill is not a primary consideration. The leader you appoint should have the respect of the group and understand that he/she speaks on your behalf.
The needs of your agency for the volunteers come first. Give them flexibility, however, to suggest and try innovations and variations that might improve your overall operations and agency effectiveness.
Don't be reluctant to make known your wishes to your volunteers through your appointed leaders. This is a good way to keep the tail from wagging the dog. Many an otherwise salvageable group of volunteers has failed because government officials have been reluctant to be firm in stating clearly what they want for fear of hurting the feelings of the volunteers. Don't be bashful! It's far better to have "quantity" walk out and leave you with a cooperative core of "Quality." You will find that quality attracts quality. Don't be afraid to make it known that volunteers in government service are doing so on your terms -- not theirs. Not because they HAVE to but because they WANT to. You want team players you can count on -- not soloists performing on their own terms.
The RACES (or by any other name) is a Public Safety communications unit. There is nothing very democratic about any highly structured Public Safety organization. The RACES or ACS is a part of that. I have seen very few examples of government volunteers who elect their own leader; you can lose the control necessary to organizational management. The volunteers are supposed to be in a government because they want to participate and support the mission of the agency -- not because their friends may be in it too. If a volunteer quits for the wrong reasons and others follow suit, you may have not have had some people with the right stuff to begin with.
Again, aim for Quality -- not Quantity.
Signed Stan Harter, Auxiliary Communications Service program coordinator, State of California.