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Is Volunteer Management Superior to Employee Management?

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Every once in a while we run into someone from Corporate America who, upon learning that we work primarily with nonprofits, proceeds to talk about how charities should be run more like businesses. We also occasionally find the Nonprofit Executive who is certain that social problems would be cured if her or his agency had more employees and higher salaries.

Since we work with nonprofits, government agencies and corporations we’ve had a lot of opportunity to notice how each of these sectors manages themselves, and we’d like to make a few observations of our own.

Hence the title above, which is mostly a rhetorical question.

Steve and Susan then provide eight simple reasons why volunteer management is superior to paid management, beginning with:

1. It’s the mission, stupid.

Employee management has a vastly overrated view of the importance of money in motivating people to do good work, despite the fact that...