Incomplete Thought #3: Do we ‘lead’ volunteers, or ‘manage’ them?

When we talk about working with volunteers, the word “volunteer management” is the general phrase that’s used. People whose job it is to do volunteer management are volunteer managers.

But what about leading volunteers?

I say that for those engaging passion citizens as volunteers, is it not even more important to inspire vision? To show people what is possible? To actively engage minds and individual motivations?

The only problem is, the phrase “volunteer leader” sounds like you are a leader who is not getting paid, not one who leads volunteers.

Damn “volunteer” and its dual use of noun and adjective.

Oh, and by the way, happy belated International Volunteer Managers Day, which was apparently on November 5.


The Incomplete Thought Series is, well, a series of incomplete thoughts. These are thoughts I have not researched, but which have popped into my head and am interested in discussing. Your incomplete or complete thoughts are encouraged.