| RECRUITING & MANAGING
On this page are ideas from strategies to help you work more efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers happy and productive, as well as ideas, suggestions and hints to build volunteer recruitment capacity.
Funding the Small Thing
Is It Really "I Quit?"
Sometimes volunteers fade into the background and disappear and sometimes he/she makes a dramatic exit. The disappearance of a volunteer is a time for action on the part of those who manage volunteers. Here are some tips.
Never avoid reality. If a volunteer leaves with no explanation, either in a fury or by not showing up, face up to reality that there is a problem. It might not be with the organization, but ignoring it sends a message to other volunteers about the level of concern for their presence.
Provide for calm down period. Give someone time to rethink his/her decision. Few decisions are irreversible. This is especially true if someone leaves in frustration or anger.
Follow-up. Contact anyone who leaves with no explanation. That includes people who just seem to fade out. Exit interviews are the norm in many for-profit businesses and should be so in volunteer programs with long-term continuous serving volunteers. This interview should always occur with departing volunteers. It is a way for the organization to understand why people leave, to better understand retention.
Get someone else to help. Ask someone a volunteer might see as neutral to contact the person who has left. This is especially important if the person left in anger. This person might be able to get a more objective explanation for the departure. Volunteers rarely want to hurt the feelings of leaders (in an all voluntary organization) or paid staff.
Be flexible about requests to return. Sometimes individuals misunderstand a situation and leave. There is regret and a wish to return. Make that happen in a graceful manner (Graceful’s definition-courteous good will).
Get the facts. Allowing someone to return means being sure of the facts in the situation. If someone was abusive or out of control with clientele or other volunteers and paid staff, the manager of volunteers needs to know what happened from a variety of points of view. This is especially important if letting the person return to their position.
If a volunteer returns to his/her position be sure the ground rules or boundaries are established. Being a volunteer does require some self-discipline and bad behavior does not need to be forgiven over and over. Be consistent and talk to the person about acceptable ways to solve problems.
What is Your Retiree Appeal?
People who are retiring now are usually not interested in those long-term continuous jobs in volunteering that were held by their parents. Managers of volunteers need to assess that appeal of their tasks and jobs for volunteers to retirees. Here are some suggestions.
Most retirees worked for pay for 40-60 hours a week or more. Their primary interest in retirement is not working on a regular schedule. These are people who want time for new hobbies, grandchildren, golf, bridge, or new learning experiences. Keep this in mind in designing jobs to attract them.
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