|VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism|
| ASK CONNIE
VT readers ask questions about volunteer management
and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant
and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
I am sure this has come up before, but I am new to your column and new-ish to volunteer management. I’ve been in the field for 5+ years, but am just now working with senior citizens, some of them 80+. We have a small and close knit community, a strong “family” atmosphere. Part of the attraction for our volunteers is that they get to see people (other volunteers) who’ve become friends over the years. I should say, about one-half of the folks who volunteer for us were there before I arrived.
Sometime soon one or more of these folks are going to reach the point where they can’t do their assignments any more. I’ve never had to “fire” someone because of this particular reason, and I don’t exactly know how to handle it. We don’t have a mandatory retirement age, and my personal feeling is that they should get to do it until they just can’t anymore.
Here are my specific concerns and questions. What do I say to the actual volunteer; I have friendly but formal relationships w/ all of them? What do I say to the other volunteers who will “see themselves” in this person? Should I involve other members of the management team in the actual presentation of this “event”?
Thanks for considering this question. I look forward to your comments.
There are many good resources on volunteers aging in place. Here are some of my favorites:
Generally I would say that treating volunteers (of all ages) with dignity is very important. And, letting it be known publicly that you will treat people with dignity is just as important. So whenever you have a chance, tell people that it is one of your goals and then be sure to model the behavior. Senior volunteers already know that they're aging so it isn't a secret. Dealing with it candidly and caringly always works best. If you're not already doing annual assessments of volunteer performance, it's best to institute it now for everyone so that you'll have the "built-in" opportunity to discuss privately with individual volunteers how they're doing, what's working, and what isn't, from your perspective and theirs.
Good luck and best wishes!
Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources, has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association for Volunteer Administration.
Send your questions to Connie
A Service of MBA
Publishing-A subsidiary of Macduff/Bunt Associates All materials copyright
The content of all linked sites are beyond the control Volunteer Today and the newsletter assumes no responsibility for their content.