All communications volunteers are not interested in the same thing, nor are they capable of that. Rather, they are people who can do very different tasks:
- repetitive function under close supervision
- repetitive duties with little or no supervision
- requiring strong initiative and independent action
- lead and inspire others
- solve problems: administrative, equipment or operations
- long term planning
- preparing standard operating procedures
- operate equipment
- maintain and repair equipment
- conduct and control nets and networks
- organize and administer
If all volunteers are expected to do precisely the same thing with no room for initiative and improvements, the organization may be either short lived or suffer a high turnover.
As to unit management, it will be more successful when you isolate yourself from the day-to-day group management by the appointment of the right volunteer leader. The price of that is the ability to find the 'right' person; one who must thoroughly understand your style, organizational policies, procedures, mission and goals. That will be the person who reports directly to you. The ability to understand people and to manage them is what is most needed. This is an appointed position, not elective, and popularity is not a criteria, nor is technical skill; however, the leader should have the respect of the group. And, lastly that leader and all unit personnel must understand that he/she speaks on your behalf.
Topic rewritten from RACES Bulletin 368-9 issued 3/6/95 by Stan Harter, who wrote:
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. Again, aim for Quality -- not Quantity."