It has long been known that volunteer empowerment and shared authority are critical to increasing volunteer involvement; however, most volunteer management models that professionals use encourage a formal approach to managing volunteers. Furthermore, volunteers are often left will little power in the volunteer-manager relationship, even though they often look at their volunteering as a form of leisure and want more control over their volunteer experience.
Empowerment is defined as an individual feeling a sense of control over their work and having the necessary abilities, knowledge, and skills to perform a specific task. Some of the foundational literature on volunteer development describes how providing a volunteer with increased authority in decision making, and access to critical information are vital to increasing volunteer involvement.
Current research on volunteer empowerment emphasizes that an empowered volunteer often becomes more involved in the organization and provides a greater impact. Some empowerment strategies emphasized in the research include:
Steps to creating a volunteer program that empowers volunteers
Contact Meggan Franks, Louisiana 4-H Volunteer, and Leadership Specialist.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture