Reviewed: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recruiting and Managing Volunteers

idiotsguide During the holidays, it seems everywhere you look there’s another book promoting warm, fuzzy feelings about the spirit of the season and goodwill towards others.

But let’s be honest: while many sincere and generous people are inspired to give their time during these few months, those of us with the year-round gig of managing volunteers might be feeling short-staffed, under-sourced, and overwhelmed by welcoming, engaging and retaining all these new faces.

Just in time, along comes the no-nonsense antidote to all the cute, cuddly collections of the season. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recruiting and Managing Volunteers just might be the most practical, useful book in its class.

Author John L. Lipp is a 20-year veteran in the nonprofit world, currently serving as President and CEO of Pets Are Wonderful Support, instructor for CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and working as a trainer and keynote speaker around the world.

His guide doesn’t sugarcoat the daunting tasks faced by volunteer coordinators. Its introductory letter to readers acknowledges potential desires to “pull your hair out, scream at the top of your lungs, and crawl under your desk.” However, this user-friendly guide offers up tools to avoid that stress and make your volunteer program more efficient—and enjoyable—than ever.

The organized chapters outline the how, where and why of volunteering, including recruiting, screening and scheduling, as well as managing effectively and dealing with common difficulties. There’s also detailed sections with tips for special events, fundraising and volunteer appreciation, as well as hundreds of useful websites and resources.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the warm, fuzzy feelings that accompany this time of year. However, those of us that turn that goodwill towards others into organized action will appreciate the straightforward advice that The Idiot’s Guide provides. Visit for more information.