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June 2010
Delegate Effectively (and Teach Others How, Too!)
In This Issue
Resources on Delegation
Excerpt: "Nine Cardinal Rules of Delegation"
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Visit the Energize Book Blog to get the latest info on volunteer management resources.

Delegation is one of the volunteer manager's most important skills. While designating staff and volunteers to assist us with our own work, we must also help our co-workers learn how to delegate tasks to volunteers effectively. The resources below will help you and your colleagues become delegation experts!
resource2 Featured Resources
Delegating to Volunteers: Training Module 7 in The 55-Minute Training Series
Module 7: DelegationThe "Delegating to Volunteers" Training Module addresses common myths about delegation and teaches staff who supervise volunteers how to delegate responsibly and proactively. Included in the module are learning objectives, suggested script and expandable activities, key concepts and notes to trainer, Microsoft PowerPoint slides, handout masters, a bibliography, a workshop evaluation form and more.

The (Help!) I-Don't-Have-Enough-Time Guide to The Help GuideVolunteer Management

This book shows you, step-by-step, how to form a volunteer management team to which you can delegate some of the many duties of running a volunteer program. Learn how to get everyone in the agency to do their share in supporting volunteer efforts and enable volunteers to take ownership of the program and help run it.

Volunteer Management: Mobilizing All the Resources of the Community, 2nd Edition

Volunteer Management: Mobilizing All the Resources of the CommunityA thorough examination of every facet of a successful volunteer program, this book includes a chapter entitled "Supervising for Maximum Performance," which discusses how to achieve planned results with the help of volunteers and others. The specific term delegating is addressed briefly, but the entire chapter offers advice on managing and leading others to accomplish assigned responsibilities successfully.

Other  Resources
For more articles and ideas about delegating, especially related to volunteer management, visit our free Resource Library
Free, general information about developing delegation skills:
Resources Book Excerpt
Nine Cardinal Rules of Delegation

"Key Concept 3" excerpted from Training Busy Staff to Succeed with Volunteers: The 55-Minute Training Series, Module 7: Delegating to Volunteers by Betty Stallings.

Understanding and practicing the cardinal rules of effective delegation enhance your chance of success.

1. You must assess work requirements with the corresponding abilities and time availability of a volunteer.
In other words, do you have the right person for the assignment, not simply someone who has agreed to do it?  Does he/she have the time and is he/she willing to give the time needed to get the job done?

2. Give the assignment in terms of results.
Don't just list activities for volunteers to do; share with them what will be accomplished as a result of their work.

3. Define the level of control.
Indicate how much authority the volunteer has to make decisions without "checking in."

4. Communicate any guidelines and assess the volunteer's understanding of them.
Volunteers should be forewarned about any constraints that must shape their decisions or activities (e.g., confidentiality).

5. Make resources and training available.
It is important that volunteers have the assistance and resources needed to successfully accomplish their tasks.  Ask volunteers what you can do to help assure their success.

6. Determine criteria for success.
It is important that the supervisor and the volunteer reach an agreement on how results will be measured (e.g., results of a recruitment outreach: recruit and train six new counselors for our program by June 1).

7. Set up checkpoints.
To be certain that the work is progressing, times should be established to check in on progress or on any need for change or additional support.

8. Provide feedback and recognition along the way and at the completion of a project.
People appreciate knowing they are on track and are being noticed for good progress or, if needed, given additional resources to be successful.

9. Watch out for REVERSE DELEGATION...
...when you delegate a task to a volunteer and the volunteer brings problems back to you to solve! If this occurs, you need to help the volunteer solve the problem, but be sure to let him or her keep the responsibility and do the task.  


Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:

Excerpted from Training Busy Staff to Succeed with Volunteers: The 55-Minute Training Series, Module 7: Delegating to Volunteers by Betty Stallings. 2007. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at
Energize, Inc.
5450 Wissahickon Ave., C-13
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Energize empowers and inspires leaders of volunteers worldwide. Our specialty is creating and selecting the most relevant, innovative resources in volunteer management. We're advocates for the power of volunteers and for the recognition of the leaders who unleash it.
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