Volunteer Tips from Dr. Suzanna Windon July 2022

By Dr. Suzanna Windon
June, 2022
volunteer management


Volunteer Management &

Leadership Tip Email

July 2022

Dear Readers,

We hope you all enjoyed celebrating our nation's birthday on July 4. The history of America's independence is incredible. July is a good time to revisit your goals. Revisiting your goals can help you establish what you need to do to reach them. When you do this, your time management, productivity, and overall sense of accomplishment will increase. This issue is devoted to best practices for volunteer risk management, supporting introverted volunteers, and helping with volunteer conflicts. Also, in this issue, we will share with you several habits that allow you to become happier, healthier, and more resilient.

In the July Tip Email issue, we share:

Volunteer Management:

  • Tips on how to to navigate risk management while working with volunteers

  • Tips on how to manage and support introverted volunteers


  • Tips on how to bridge ideological conflicts between volunteers

Expert Spotlight

  • Valorie Burton

- Successful Women Think Differently

Please feel free to use materials and resources by copying and pasting them into your Extension teaching materials as needed.

NEWS- We are publishing the Extension articles related to leadership and volunteer management; some of them have been translated into Spanish. You can find all previous publications HERE and share links with audiences you think might be interested.

Please review our latest Extension articles by following the links below:

See our peer-review publications below:

Please see all previous Volunteer Management & Leadership Tip Email and Research in Brief issues - HERE

Please let us know if you have any questions about the content or want to see more in-depth information, or share some valuable resources. I welcome your insights and feedback. Happy reading!

Best Regards,


Suzanna Windon,Ph.D.


Volunteer Management

Source: Windon, S.

Volunteer Risk Management

Every organization will incur some risk when hiring employees or volunteers. To ensure that we as the organization protect ourselves and our workers, we need to develop a comprehensive risk management plan. According to Graff (2012), the risk management model can be used to create an effective organizational risk management plan. The risk management model contains four steps. The model begins with identifying potential risks associated with assigned tasks and projects, then assessing relative risk importance and level, creating and implementing risk mitigation procedures, and finally, consistently reviewing and reevaluating the risk management plan. Graff (2012) provides suggestions and best practices, summarized below, to ensure we address each component of the risk management model in our work with volunteers.

Identification of Potential Risks

  • Choose a specific project that volunteers work on and go over possible risks associated with the project, asking the question, "What could go wrong here"?

  • Continue for each project individually rather than looking at the broad organizational risks.

  • Consider five types of risks: People, Property, Income, Goodwill, and Liability.

Assessing Relative Risk Levels

  • Consider two questions when determining the relative level of risk associated with a project:

  1. What is the likelihood of the harmful event/outcome occurring?

  2. How significant would the consequences be if it happened?

  • Prioritize risk management based on the most likely and consequential risks.

Creating and Implementing Risk Management Procedures

  • Change work activities and procedures to improve volunteer safety.

  • Exceed the minimum guidelines for worker safety.

  • Implement more comprehensive safety training and orientation to new and current volunteers.

Review the Risk Management Plan

  • Conduct a periodic review of the risk management plan for each project and update it when necessary.

  • Follow up with volunteers and staff to ensure that the working conditions meet the appropriate organizational risk levels.

  • Keep track of legislation, community standards, or anything that changes the organization's risk management responsibilities.


Graff, L. L. (2012). Risk management in volunteer involvement. In T. D. Connors (Ed.), The volunteer management handbook: Leadership strategies for success (2nd ed., pp. 323– 360). John Wiley & Sons.

Source: Windon, S.

Managing and Supporting Introverted Volunteers

Volunteering is often seen as more appealing to extroverted individuals based on a number of social and interpersonal interactions. However, there are many introverted volunteers, and it is important to consider their needs as volunteer managers. The COVID-19 pandemic created a rise in virtual volunteering that changed and reduced interpersonal interaction between volunteers and clients. This was beneficial for more introverted volunteers (Grubb, 2021). As we move back to in-person services, we need to provide appropriate support, especially to introverted volunteers. To do this, RoAne (2017) provides a few best practices described below.

  1. Talk to employees and volunteers one-on-one as much as possible to allow more introverted individuals to feel more comfortable.

  2. Allow volunteers to prepare for project meetings or organizational events that may cause them stress.

Ask introverted volunteers after the event if they have any feedback that they weren't comfortable sharing during it.


Grubb, A. (2021). Avoiding intimacy- An ethnographic study of beneficent boundaries in virtual voluntary social work. Voluntas, 33, 72–82. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-021-00350-w

RoAne, S. (2017, May 22). How to bring out the best in introverts. SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/how-to-bring-out-the-best-in-introverts-.aspx


Source: Windon, S.

Bridging Ideological Conflicts Between Volunteers

The last several years have been difficult for everyone, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding to existing social injustices, political division, and public safety concerns. Organizations are feeling the conflict and tension as well. Organizational leaders are tasked with creating an environment conducive to organizational productivity and stability. This means navigating through sensitive and charged issues and ideological differences between volunteers. Bonk and Raskpof (2022) provide several strategies we can use to improve the way we can bridge the ideological differences between our volunteers toward maintaining successful organizations.

  1. Emphasize inclusion in the organization. Make the workplace an inclusive environment with equal opportunity for all volunteers. Ensure that everyone is held accountable for their actions and performance.

  2. Regularly communicate with volunteers. Hold regular meetings with the volunteers to ensure that conflict and grievances are addressed early. Don't be anonymous! Make sure that you communicate with volunteers as transparently as possible.

  3. Prepare organizational leaders to manage difficult conversations and interactions. Practice potential situations ahead of time to ensure leaders are confident in managing emotions and capable of handling the interaction respectfully and professionally.

  4. Prepare volunteers to navigate tense or sensitive conversations and interactions. Discuss social and political issues as an organization, discuss the management of these sensitive topics, and ensure that there are open communication channels for all volunteers.


Bonk, S., & Raskopf, L. (2022). Business bridging divides. Business for America.


Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/microphone-music-studio-1003561/ is in
the Public Domain on Pixabay.com downloaded - 02.15.20

Successful Women Think Differently

Valorie Burton

In her book Successful Women Think Differently, Valorie Burton introduced readers to the nine habits that can make women happier, healthier, and more resilient. As a certified personal and professional coach, she shared an important message with her audience through her book; she said, you are capable of far more than you know. Below are some examples of the author's recommendations that can help to think differently:

  • It is far more effective to build on your strengths than fix weaknesses.

  • Set standards you are comfortable with and make choices that meet your standards; stop searching for an ever-elusive better option.

  • Cultivate a positive emotion by trying to keep a ratio of 3:1 of positive to negative interaction to facilitate effective communication and bond.

  • Optimists explain success as personal (I did it!), pervasive (It affects everything I do!), and permanent (It happened this time; it can happen again!).

  • Self-control and consistent practice are better predictors of success than talent.

  • Writing about your goals and challenges positively affects your health, ability to process emotions, and reach goals.

  • Learn to connect authentically with people, and success will follow.


Burton, V (2012). Successful Women Think Differently, Harvest House Publisher , Eugene, Oregon

This Month’s Words to Ponder

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

—Warren Bennis

Source: https://www.maxpixels.net/Thank-You-Pot-Thank-You-Card-Plant-Modern-Table-3690116 is in the Public Domain on MaxPixsel

Thanks for reading! Be on the look out for next month’s volunteer management & leadership tips!

volunteer management