Volunteer Competencies: The VRKC Model

The Volunteer Research Knowledge and Competency Taxonomy Model (VRKC) is based on a study that identified the competencies that volunteers will need in order to effectively deliver 4-H Youth Development programs and activities in the next decade. This taxonomy provides 4-H professionals with a national focus and direction related to the levels of competency and the perceived needs of 4-H volunteers. It provides insights into priorities for volunteer development.

The VRKC taxonomy is expressed in six domains that are listed in the cumulative order of importance, competence and use, as determined as a result of the 2003-2004 study. Each of the six domains links to its individual web site that includes staff development tools, volunteer training materials and additional resources.

  • Communication Volunteers demonstrate the ability to create, deliver and interpret information effectively.
  • Organization Volunteers demonstrate the ability to engage others in planning, providing and delivering positive 4-H youth development programming in a community.
  • 4-H Program Management Volunteers must understand and follow appropriate policies, procedures and safety guidelines when acting on behalf of Extension.
  • Educational Design and Delivery Volunteers demonstrate the ability to plan, implement and evaluate research based learning opportunities that effectively promote positive personal development.
  • Positive Youth Development Volunteers demonstrate the ability to intentionally and appropriately apply the principles and best practices that result in the positive development of youth.
  • Interpersonal Characteristics Volunteers demonstrate the ability to develop effective relationships, work competently with individuals and groups and express empathy and understanding for others.

Research and Design Team

Ken Culp III, Ph.D; University of Kentucky. Served as Primary Investigator

Renee K McKee, Ph.D.; Purdue University. Served as Co-Investigator