Managing volunteers in museums

In 2010 Statistic Canada found that one half of Canadians volunteered their time, energy, and skills to charities and non-profits. The approximately 2 billion volunteer hours they contributed is equivalent to more than 1 million full-time jobs. This is an incredible amount of generosity and volunteers need support and coordination. Volunteer Canada defines Volunteer Management, at its most basic level, as the selection, supervision and engagement of volunteers. But it's much more than that. Staff supporting volunteers ensure the well-being and happiness of an organization. They keep volunteer programs effective and engaging. This work can be very distinct from typical staff management and has become a specialized field. Volunteer Management is often overlooked in professional museum programs, despite the fact that most museum professionals will work with volunteers in many different capacities. This workshop will share the lived experience of a Volunteer Coordinator, an overview of cultural site volunteering, and tips, tools, and tricks for running a volunteer program in a cultural space without going completely grey.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Participants will recognize and understand an overview of volunteer management in cultural sites.
  • Participants will be equipped with tools to analyse and evaluate volunteer programs in cultural sites.
  • Participants can begin to consider how they might design or tweak a volunteer program in a cultural site.

Should you fail to withdraw 48+ hours in advance, thereby preventing your colleagues on the waitlist from filling in your spot, your library account will be charged $10 per missed workshop. Please note, it is your responsibility to sign next to your name on the attendance sheet for each workshop session. A blank signature spot will result in a penalty charge.


Melissa Smith, Program Coordinator, Art Gallery of Ontario