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2 min read

Hot Take: Leaders of Volunteers Need to Advocate for Fair Compensation

November 7, 2023

Group of women in nature

I was excited to see one of you mentioned fair compensation for leaders of volunteers, and how we don’t ask for what we need or deserve, but instead worry about being underpaid and under appreciated. It’s such an important topic!

Women’s work - especially caring or helping work - is traditionally undervalued, and there’s a belief that if you love the work you do, or if you do it because you believe in it, you shouldn’t need to be paid as much. When we lead and manage volunteers we fall into both of those buckets.

So what can we do about it?

Talk about it! It can feel embarrassing to talk about how much – or how little – you’re getting paid, but our employers benefit when we keep this information private. Ask others what their compensation package is like - both within your organization and those doing similar work in your community. Participate in surveys like the Volunteer Management Progress Report to help create benchmarks for fair pay.

Advocate for yourself! It’s our job to make sure our supervisors and our organizations know how amazing we are. If you’re waiting for someone else to advocate for you or to give you a raise or promotion you’re probably going to be waiting for a while. Find out what others in similar roles are making (see above), visit your state’s Nonprofit Association and see if your state has a salary guide, and make sure you’re setting goals and sharing your successes.

Advocate for the field! Consider joining AL!VE or pursuing your CVA. If you’re established in your career consider mentoring a newer leader of volunteers, and helping them advocate for better pay.

What additional resources would be useful to help you advocate for yourself, the work, and for better pay?

Let me know in the comments below!

Topics: Hot Take
Jennifer Bennett

Written by Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett, CVA is the Director of Education & Training at VolunteerMatch. Jennifer joined VolunteerMatch to formalize and manage the organization’s volunteer engagement program. With her breadth of experience, she is well qualified to help VolunteerMatch’s community of nonprofits better recruit and engage volunteers.