Ten Ways To Get Rid Of A Volunteer


The following is a primer on the best ways to lose a volunteer.  You need not employ all the methods, many people will quit after only one strategy.  Remember, volunteers are individuals so you may need to experiment before you find an effective method for each one.

  1. Perhaps the best way to lose volunteers is to fail to recognize them.  People do not, as a rule, choose to volunteer to get credit, recognition or attention.  People choose to volunteer for various organizations  because they believe in the cause or the need of the people for whom they are working.  That being said, there is a limit to how long they will continue to be engaged if nobody says thank you at some point.  If you look you can find blog posts, and even books on the topic of how to keep volunteers and the top of the list is usually acknowledgement of their efforts.

  2. You can actually lose volunteers before they even start!  To do this, do not return their phone calls or emails in which they express interest in being of help and or place a lengthy complicated process in place (especially if you call it an application process).

  3. Select one volunteer to do a task that really requires several.

  4. Give several volunteers the task of doing something simple which would be better and more efficiently done by one.

  5. Fail to  listen to their suggestions for improvement.  Treat them as though they have no education, background, or expertise.

  6. Hover over them as though you don’t trust them to be competent.

  7. Get a volunteer started on something and then never check in to see how things are going.

  8. Expect that they will stay forever/ make it a life sentence.

  9. Arrange times to meet with your volunteers and then cancel without notice, “Because something important came up.”

  10. Stop thinking of a volunteer as a person, once they are on board they are just one of the numbers.

Hopefully it is clear to my readers that I do not actually advocate any of the above actions.  Indeed it would make an excellent list of what not to do when you are working with people, either employed or volunteers.

One response to “Ten Ways To Get Rid Of A Volunteer

  1. How accurate! Thanks for the much-needed reminder.

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