Is it time to let go of some of your volunteers?

By: Theo Ursum

Volunteers are a great resource for organisations and for many, they are a very important part in the delivery of their services.

But what happens if a long standing volunteer cannot perform the duties that are required, are disruptive to the team or are simply burned out? Every organisation will come across this issue at some point in time.

The easiest way is just cross your fingers and hope that this volunteer will leave your organisation or by ignoring the unwanted behaviour. But in many cases this will have the opposite effect, resulting in a volunteer that is talking negatively about your organisation.

Rather than wait and see what happens, take action. Have a chat with the volunteer about what you have noticed, referring back to their position description and your policies and procedures.

The volunteer might take your feedback personally, so do what you can not to make it so.

It is important to acknowledge their feelings, but you need to keep the best interests of your organisation at heart.

Think about other roles to keep their knowledge and experience in the organisation, for example by training new volunteers.

Maybe you know another organisation that could use their skills or refer them to a volunteer centre to find the best role that fits their needs and limitations.

It is a tough conversation to have, although sometimes a volunteer might be relieved that somebody is finally having a chat with them and they might already know it is time to move on.

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