Boundary Setting: Identifying and Establishing Realistic Volunteer Expectations – 2022 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism

Session Description:

Volunteers provide an incredible amount of support to organizations through their time, talents, and dedication to those being served. However, what happens when good intentions and wanting to do right by the organization do not align with expectations and responsibilities set out by the organization and the volunteer?

This session will identify and explore boundary establishment as well as the realities faced by both volunteers and organization staff. We will analyze the benefits of working with a volunteer network as well as the sometimes-challenging conversations that come with re-establishing expectations and boundaries. Additionally, we will brainstorm ways in which we can reinforce role division while maintaining a positive, productive image and relationship with volunteer stakeholders.

Session Goals:

By the end of this session, participants will have learned: 

  • The importance of identifying boundaries and role division, as well as when and how to seek out more information as a volunteer; 
  • What disclosure agreements, manuals, and trainings may best support an organization in setting boundaries with volunteer stakeholders;
  • Best practices and procedures that support the mission, image, and volunteer network of an organization, sourced by fellow attendees.



Taylor Donaldson currently oversees over 1,000 volunteers across three organizational sites in a variety of program support roles. She is passionate about creating a welcoming space for all volunteers to bring their whole selves into their work, while also supporting the mission and values of the organization. From Des Moines, Iowa, Taylor has experience fostering community and volunteer engagement on local political campaigns and fulfilled a Fulbright grant in Morocco. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee, petting puppies, and trying new recipes.