Project Management

The Need for Care in Project Management Philanthropy

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

There have been a number of occasions during my career where I have been approached to volunteer my time and project management skills to help out a volunteer or charitable organization. I’ve found those initiatives to be incredibly rewarding, but I’ve also found them to be rather stressful because I’ve felt a lot more pressure on me than in a “normal” project for an employer.

There are a few different reasons for that, and I think it’s worth exploring them here.

The strength of your team
One of the first things that struck me is that in a volunteer environment, the team you have is very different from the team you are given in a corporate environment—and those differences can have a big impact. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • At least some (and often all) team members will be volunteers in a philanthropic environment. While that usually increases the likelihood that they will be enthusiastic about the project, it also reduces your ability to influence and manage them. If a volunteer decides they aren’t enjoying the work anymore, or if they want to do something else, then they can simply leave the team (without notice) and you have only a small chance of being able to bring them back onboard. This obviously has the potential to be highly disruptive.
  • Project roles will be based on preference, not ability. In a…

Please log in or sign up below to read the rest of the article.


Continue reading...

Log In
Sign Up