So, you are seeking a volunteer to step up and take on a leadership role in your organization and, since you will be this volunteer’s primary staff partner, you’re motivated to find just the right person for the job. Where do you begin?

Ensuring that you find the right person is not just about finding someone with the right skills. It also depends on finding the individual who has the motivation to do the work and the right fit with you. Very likely, you or another staff or volunteer already knows the perfect person for the job. But how do you find him or her?

Here’s a handy checklist of considerations to help you identify individuals with leadership potential – whether they know it or not!

Volunteers who are ready to move up and move the organization forward often:

  • Express aspirations
  • Take initiative
  • Ask great questions
  • Offer solutions
  • Problem solve well
  • Follow through
  • Care about meeting and evaluating results to make sure they’re on target
  • Take on progressive responsibility—and handle it well
  • Improve after feedback

Use this list to help you identify a current volunteer, donor, program participant, or advocate who may be your perfect partner. Share the checklist with colleagues and other volunteer leaders so that they can be on the look-out for future partners as well.

Once you have a list of possible volunteers, reach out individually to let them know how much you value their insights, their commitment, and/or their suggestions, and discuss the opportunities for leadership roles. Remember to be specific about what inspired you to contact each of them. In doing so, you’ve not only stacked the deck so that you have a great pool of candidates to choose from, but you’ve also personally connected with individuals who have already shown that they care about the organization… which can only inspire them to build their support, whether they become your partner at this point or not. It’s a win-win.