I served for ten-years as paid-on-call firefighter in a resort community. As you spend more time on the department you become more proficient at handling assignments. As your skills advance you are recommended for additional training and eventually you assume a leadership position. With enough training you can find yourself on the outside of a working structure fire in a oversight role instead of inside performing the duties ones imagines for firefighter. The untold secret was that the further you advanced up the chain-of-command the less likely you were ever to see the nozzle and axe handle. Yet most of us joined to be on the front line and be inside the burning building.
I believe the fire service experience transfers to the social sector. Not everyone needs or aspires to be in leadership. Every major donor to your organization does not wish to be on a board member. The networking king or queen of your community may be ideally suited in their role as a social connector. A volunteer may just want to assist with reading development. If we sincerely wish to maximize people’s talents we need to understand their purpose and motivations. They may be happiest on a ridge with a shovel in their hands and smoke all around them.