Syllabus for MSP-664

VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


Volunteers are the lifeblood of many public and nonprofit organizations. This course serves as an introduction to the theory and practice of the full range of volunteer management from recruiting prospective volunteers to issues surrounding the departure of a volunteer from the organization. Core issues surrounding volunteer management such as motivations, training, and risk management serve as key topics for this course.


  1. Introduction to Volunteering - what is volunteerism?
  2. Why people volunteer (and the benefits of volunteers)
  3. The volunteer life cycle
  4. Effective volunteer recruiting strategies (including job descriptions)
  5. Risk management
  6. Training and equipping volunteers for success
  7. Keeping your best volunteers - Rewards and retention
  8. Evaluating performance of volunteers and your volunteer program


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. CO 1. Define volunteerism and explain its role in public sector and nonprofit organizations.
  2. CO 2. Discuss the core intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that lead one to volunteer.
  3. CO 3. Assess and evaluate the effectiveness of a volunteer management program.
  4. CO 4. Classify volunteers according to the Volunteer Stages & Transitions Model (VSTM).
  5. CO 5. Design meaningful roles and job descriptions for volunteers.
  6. CO 6. Articulate key risk management issues facing volunteer managers and outline appropriate steps to minimize those risks.
  7. CO 7. Prioritize training objectives to successfully prepare individuals for their volunteer roles.
  8. CO 8. Construct a strategy for volunteer retention that includes appreciating and rewarding volunteers for their service.
  9. CO 9. Analyze strategies for effective volunteer recruitment.
  10. CO 10. Prepare for the inevitable departure of a volunteer from the organization.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  1. McCurley, S. & Lynch, R. (2011). Volunteer management: Mobilizing all the resources of the community, 3rd ed. Interpub Group: Plattsburgh, NY.

ISBN-13: 978-1895271638 (Only the Electronic Version (ebook) is available)

  1. McKee, J. & McKee T. (2008). The new breed: Understanding and equipping the 21st century volunteer. Group Publishing: Loveland, CO.

ISBN-13: 978-0764435645

Suggested Reading:

  1. Connors, T.D. (2012). The volunteer management handbook: Leadership strategies for success, 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons: New York.

ISBN-13: 978-0470604533

  1. Little, H. (1999). Volunteers: How to get them, how to keep them. Panacea Press, Inc.: Naperville, IL.

ISBN-13: 978-1928892014


Volunteer Management is a three-credit online course, consisting of eight (8) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Introduction to Volunteer Management
  2. Module 2: The Volunteer Life Cycle
  3. Module 3: The Nominee Phase: Volunteer Motivations & Recruitment

  1. Module 4: New Volunteers: Training and Job Design

  1. Module 5: Established Volunteers: Retaining Your Best Volunteers
  2. Module 6: Leaving Well: Volunteer Exit Strategies
  3. Module 7: Evaluating Your Volunteers & Your Volunteer Management
  4. Module 8: Risk Management Considerations


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

This course requires you to participate in six (6) graded discussion forums. There is also an ungraded but required introductions forum in module 1.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion board interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Click to view Online Discussion Grading Rubric.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete seven (7) written assignments. The culminating project for this course is to assemble a volunteer management handbook for the organization of your choosing. Each of the module assignments in this course is designed to be cumulative, slowly building toward that final project. So, for each module, there will be a paper/task/assignment that will be independently graded. Then, at the conclusion of the course, you will package each of those assignments (along with some other pieces) into a single comprehensive volunteer management handbook that could serve as a resource for your chosen organization.

Click to view Written Assignment Grading Rubric.

Final Project

You are required to complete a final project based on your module written assignments. This final project is to assemble a volunteer management handbook for the organization of your choosing. Each of the module assignments is designed to be cumulative, slowly building toward that final project. So, for each module, there will be a paper/task/assignment that will be independently graded. Then, at the conclusion of the course, you will package each of those assignments (along with some other pieces) into a single comprehensive volunteer management handbook that could serve as a resource for your chosen organization.

A full description of the project and its requirements is found in the Final Project area of the Course web site. 


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (6)24 percent
  2. Written assignments (7)42 percent
  3. Final project34 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
























Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.
  2. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlines procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or the College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of the intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. if you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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