I won’t help you recruit a receptionist/volunteer coordinator

graphic by Jayne Cravens representing volunteersRecently, I got asked if I would share a job opening at a PDX (Portland, Oregon)-area nonprofit. It was for a receptionist / volunteer coordinator. I responded:

I actually have a policy not to promote receptionist/volunteer coordinator jobs. Sorry. It’s a matter of my perspective about the importance of both positions.

It wasn’t the first time I had to tell someone this.

I will not promote receptionist / volunteer coordinator jobs. I will not promote receptionist / donor manager jobs, receptionist / marketing manager jobs, nor receptionist / legal council jobs. Not that I have ever seen those last three jobs advertised. Because such a combination of jobs would be preposterous. Just as preposterous as combining receptionist and volunteer coordinator, or volunteer manager, or director of volunteer services into one position.

I could write a long blog about why but, honestly, if you don’t get it, I just don’t have the time…

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6 thoughts on “I won’t help you recruit a receptionist/volunteer coordinator

    1. jcravens Post author

      I laughed so hard at your blog! A pox on me for not compiling these crazy and unrealistic requests in job postings for managers of volunteers! I think your blog will be due for a sequel…

  1. Mathew

    hmmm I am not sure I understand where you are coming from myself.

    I have an office volunteer manager (job title) who as part of their role answer telephone queries i.e is our receptionist. They manage a team of office based volunteers who do a range of roles one of which is to answer telephone calls i.e act as a receptionist.

    Now we don’t have enough money to have a paid staff member answer all our phone lines during office hours without volunteers. So before we had volunteers helping 75% of our calls would have to go through an automated system or be left on an answerphone for someone to call back. Which our clients – frail and isolated older people struggle with and don’t like.

    Now whilst the job title is slightly different – office volunteer manager vs receptionist / volunteer coordinator from my perspective they seem to be the same thing.

    admittedly i have read all your other articles and there might be something in those that i am missing but i am curious 🙂

    1. jcravens Post author

      “office volunteer manager vs receptionist / volunteer coordinator from my perspective they seem to be the same thing.”


      If you see a manager of volunteers as “the same thing” as a receptionist, or an office manager, then you are devaluing volunteers. All volunteers are to your organization is free labor – bodies to come get tasks done, nothing more. And that kind of thinking is something myself and many others are fighting against. I wonder what your volunteers would think if they knew you think so little of them.

      Volunteer engagement is community engagement. It’s much more than getting tasks done. And if you don’t see that, despite the vast amount of information from people that work with volunteers, then I have no idea what else to say.

      The Value of Volunteers

      Mission statements for your volunteer engagement
      (Saying WHY your organization or department involves volunteers)


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