I've been struggling with how to manage the ourWorld volunteers for around six months. Everyone agrees we should have them, but what they should do (and why they should do it) have remaining frustratingly elusive questions. To make matters more complex, the players really want to be volunteers. Requests to join the program (such as it is) have been staggering.
I realized, just yesterday (around six months late) that what the volunteers do is important, but a distant second to what they are really for. The primary job of the volunteers is to tell me what they think. My most important job is to listen to them, with all other jobs remaining important, but not the first priority. My old strategy for meeting the volunteers' needs was finding things for them to do. By doing that I would somehow take a step towards solving all the challenges of a volunteer program.
Starting this week, listen first will be the my volunteer motto. Listen and act.
Note: Listening is not the same as agreeing. The answer to many volunteer issues will be 'no', but it will be a considered answer, and an honest one.