Management guru Peter Drucker has written extensively about management of nonprofit organizations and volunteers. In particular he writes: "More and more
volunteers are educated people in managerial and professional jobs. These people are not satisfied with being helpers. They are knowledge workers in the jobs in which they earn their living, and they want to be knowledge workers in the jobs in which they contribute to society that is their volunteer work. For organizations to attract and hold them, they have to put their competence and knowledge to work. They have to offer meaningful achievement."
What implications does this have for management style? Clearly this kind of educated, professional volunteer is not going to enjoy working in an autocratic organization where all the decisions are made at the top and every action is governed by strict policies and procedures. This type of volunteer is used to a great deal of autonomy in his professional career and will be looking for the same in a volunteer position. It is critical to get such volunteers involved, from the earliest stages in the decision-making process. The kinds of skills these volunteers bring to the table could not possibly be monetarily compensated by public-sector agencies in the open marketplace. Management of volunteers is a delicate matter in any case, but particularly with volunteers who are businessmen and professionals. It would be tremendously wasteful not to involve them in the decision- making process, even if they were willing to stay with an organization that did not do so."
"The ACS has a unique challenge to recruit and retain talented volunteer professionals to serve alongside OES paid staff. These volunteers are not paid staff. While they may like to be treated with the same respect as paid staff, they have jobs, families, and lives outside of ACS. As they are not paid, the only reward they get is a feeling of satisfaction in knowing they are serving their community."