About Sue Carter Kahl

Sue is the President of Sue Carter Kahl Consulting and has 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Her work is infused with lessons learned as a volunteer center executive, state service commissioner, nonprofit board member, staff member, volunteer, and researcher. Her current projects include teaching volunteer engagement and translating her research on the value that volunteers bring to organizations into practitioner-friendly resources. Sue has a PhD in Leadership Studies and is committed to bridging practice and theory in the volunteer field.

Areas of Expertise

Nonprofit Capacity Building Research and Public Policy Volunteer Management

Products & Services Offered

Capacity Building Strategies Research

Organization Type


Years in Operation

6 - 10 years

Intro Content

Diversity and Inclusion Volunteer Management Capacity Building CSR

Power, Privilege, and Volunteerism

Volunteerism can reinforce negative patterns of power and privilege if we are not thoughtful about its design.

Influencer Of

Popular Content

Recent Comments

May 27, 2022

This shift is so needed. Thanks for sharing the ways that you are building connection and ongoing engagement!

Sep 23, 2021
Replying to Stephanie Jones

Love this idea! What an amazing way to truly capture your volunteer experience!

Thanks, Stephanie! Volunteer experiences are so much bigger than the traditional statistics. 

May 13, 2021

Thanks for the comment, Susan. I know a lot of us have been in the same boat. It's a frustrating experience.

Here are a couple ideas for those who might be exploring options to reduce this behavior:

When I first started at a volunteer center, we had a number of groups drop out after our staff had done a lot of work setting up the project with a partner agency. To help, we started requiring an initial deposit for any projects that we facilitated before we invested significant time in it and explained that it helped support the staff time needed to create successful projects. We also asked a lot more questions upfront about their goals to see if we/our partners were a good fit. Our no-shows and ghosting experiences dropped dramatically. I know not everyone charges a fee for these experiences, but you could instead ask for a deposit that is returned at the end of the project. Or perhaps create an agreement outlining expectations for the volunteer group and the host organization that needs to be signed before work begins. Not only does this help align everyone, but it helps educate volunteer groups about how much work it takes to create meaningful and successful service experiences. 

Mar 08, 2021
Replying to Brooke Campbell, CNP

Yes, yes, yes! May I have permission to publish this on our blog - Service Matters? www.volunteerhouston.org/servicematters

Hi Brooke, yes, you are welcome to publish it. I appreciate you asking and sharing it. If you'd like a copy in Word, feel free to email me: suecarterkahl at gmail.com.

Mar 02, 2021
Replying to Maggie ONeill

Sue: Wonderfully article. You've given me lots to think about and some good questions to engage my colleagues in conversation about why we engage the community in our work and mission. Thank you!

I'm glad it resonated and that you'll be able to put it to use, Maggie. We'd love to hear how the conversations go. 

Mar 02, 2021
Replying to Chris Trevorrow

Thank you, it is really useful to go back to basics - as a charity everything we do should be to advance and extend our mission, volunteering is no exception. 

Well said, Chris. 

Nov 30, 2020
Replying to Monica Jasso

This is simply beautiful and restorative. This season of giving I am grateful for my ten years in the volunteer management. It is a purpose, not just a profession.

I agree, Monica. It is a gift to do work that feels like a calling. 

Nov 30, 2020
Replying to Lisa Wetherby

That's really lovely - thanks!

Thanks for your kind words, Lisa.