Like other occupations, a fundamental assumption in volunteer programs is that well prepared and competent managers of volunteers (both paid and unpaid) are essential to the success of a program.
In other occupations, competency is assessed using a continuum of ability, knowledge and skill sets that range from novice to expert. And the measurement is done in the context of a person’s capacity to use them adaptively in a variety of work settings and organizations.
When the Commission staff set out to identify competency models for managers of volunteers that could be adapted for use with AmeriCorps staff, no fully developed models existed for volunteer managers. The few basic models for volunteer manager competencies were not fully developed and did not describe the difference between someone new to the field (novice) and someone who had 30 years experience.
For two years, Commission staff worked with a consultant at the University of Southern Maine Muskie School of Public Service to develop a complete model of competencies for novice through expert managers of volunteers.
After national vetting and review, the model has been published and is the basis for all Maine work with both AmeriCorps staff and volunteer managers in partner organizations.
As 2007 closed, the competency model was accepted for publication nationally by the federal “Resource Center,” an online library of tools and training materials for volunteer and service programs.