How to build a volunteer program (practically) from scratch

What it looks like to start a volunteer program from the ground up

Volunteer managers: did you step into an existing volunteer program?

Most of us do. In general, we inherit our volunteer programs and must improve what we’re given.

That might mean we ramp up staff engagement, set higher expectations for volunteers, or do lots of clean-up to outdated policies that no longer support our programs.

If only we had a clean slate when we started out.

Rachel Sanchez had had almost clean slate when she started out.  As the Volunteer and Employee Engagement Manager for the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), she inherited a program with 10 volunteers and was tasked building it into a museum-wide initiative.

Now, six years later, over 150 volunteers serve the museum in almost every department, from Curatorial to Accounting. Rachel was so successful with her mandate that she speaks regularly now conferences and on panels about best practices for volunteer recruitment, management, and retention.

So, how did she do it? The short answer is, Rachel…

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