Volume 44 - Number 4 - 2003 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2003.04047
More than 109 million Americans volunteered for nonprofit organizations in 1998, carrying out almost one-third of the organizations' work. More than 624,000 volunteers assisted the Cooperative Extension system in carrying out its 4-H and youth development program last year. Volunteer activities are largely directed by professionals within these organizations. A nation-wide Delphi study was conducted to identify the competencies that will be required by volunteer administrators (VAs) during the next decade. The study also sought to identify barriers that prevent VAs from acquiring such competencies and how those barriers may be eliminated. Thirty-three competencies were identified by a panel of 13 experts in the field of volunteer administration and categorized into the following five constructs: organizational leadership, systems leadership, organizational culture, personal skills, and management skills. Twelve barriers to acquiring the competencies were identified by the panel, as well as 21 methods for addressing those barriers and motivating volunteer administrators. It is recommended that volunteer driven organizations, especially Cooperative Extension, seek employees with the required competencies or provide resources and opportunities to acquire them. Creating an organizational culture that values the contributions of volunteers and the role of the VA is also recommended.