Managing Difficult Volunteer Transitions


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What do you do when it's time to ask a volunteer to leave your organization? This webinar will give you the tools to address challenges around difficult volunteers, including volunteers aging in place and entrenched volunteers. You'll also learn how to minimize these situations in the future. Suggestions for determining when a volunteer should be terminated, and making it easier on you, other volunteers, and staff will be presented. The role that risk management plays in these decisions will also be included.

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Managing Difficult Volunteer Transitions

  1. 1. Page
  2. 2. 2Managing Difficult Volunteer TransitionsJennifer Bennett, CVA, Senior Manager, Education & Training
  3. 3. 3Agenda•Preparing your Organization•Identifying the Transition•Challenges in Each Transition•Strategies to Manage the Transition•Strategies for Ending the Relationship•Ending the Relationship
  4. 4. 4Preparing your Organization• Identify the Problem• Articulate and Validate the Problem – Build the Case– Identify the Issues or Personality Concerns– Negative Impact on Strategic Initiatives of Organization• Discuss Problem or Issue with Supervisor or Leadership• Provide Solution Recommendation to Organization– Pros and Cons– Potential Legal or Liability Ramifications– Budget or Cultural Impacts– Timing– Responsibilities
  5. 5. 5Identifying the Transition• Traditional Volunteer Program → New Engagement Model– Guild or Auxiliary– Skilled or Pro Bono• Aging in Place → Emeritus or Retirement– Lack of Physical Ability– Loss of Mental Acuity– Managing Risk• Entrenched Volunteer(s) → Re-energized Volunteer(s)– Inability to Accept Change– Anger/Negative Energy– Invested in the Past
  6. 6. 6Traditional Volunteer Program TransitionChallenges• Ownership and Territory• Resistance to Change• How do you run a dual program? Should you?• Honoring All Levels of Contributions Equally• Intergenerational Issues• Communication
  7. 7. 7Aging in Place TransitionChallenges• Honoring Contributions while Managing Risk• Building a Real Recognition Opportunity• Addressing Aging Issues Tactfully but Honestly• Creating Avenues for Further Contribution• Dealing with Denial or Anger• Ownership and Territory
  8. 8. 8Entrenched Volunteer(s) TransitionChallenges• Invested in Power and Status• Rage, Negative Energy• Inability to Acknowledge Organizational Challenges• Resistance to Embrace Any New Ideas• Not Able to Own Impact of Actions• May Involve Legal or Liability Ramifications
  9. 9. 9Strategies For Managing Transitions• Clear Communication Strategy• Open and Transparent Communication– Reasons and Outcome for Change– Negative Impacts of Change• Hear and Validate Concerns– Actively Listen– Be Open to Feed Back• Honesty About Organization Realities– Money, Programs• Engage all Parties in Solutions– Ask For Help/Brainstorming– Role Playing– Ensure Equal Representation
  10. 10. 10Strategies For Managing Transitions (cont’d)• Identify Early Adopters/Champions– Elevate to Leadership Positions– Run Meetings– Public Voice – not staff telling volunteers how it’s going to be• Defuse Rage– Early and Continuously– Address Negative Energy Directly• Utilize and Honor Volunteer’s Organizational Knowledge– Historical Consultants– Ask them to be Change Agents
  11. 11. 11Challenges for Ending Relationship• Mentally Prepare Yourself• Consider and Plan Negative Impacts– Budget Shortfall– Loss of Major Donor or Community Connector• Maintain Trust and Morale of Remaining Volunteers– Communicate Difficulty of Decision– Protect Confidentiality– Quell Gossip• Keep Volunteer’s Integrity Intact– Behaviors and Issues, not Personal Attack
  12. 12. 12Strategies for Ending the Relationship• Be Decisive, Professional and Efficient– Once Decision is Made – Act• Is it Amicable?• Does it Require Legal Counsel?• Letter of Commendation– Contributions and Work– Personalized and Heartfelt– From Organization Leader• Public Acknowledgement of Contribution• Difficult Termination– Engage Outside Professional if Needed– Inform Leadership and/or Security of Date, Time, Location
  13. 13. 13ResourcesLearning CenterFind upcoming webinar dates, how-to videos and more CommunityAsk and answer questions after the webinar – use keywords Volunteer Management Webinar Topics:•Walking the Walk: Engage Volunteers in your Volunteer Engagement Program•Creating a Comprehensive and Engaging Volunteer Training Program•Engaging Pro Bono and Skilled Volunteers
  14. 14. 14Thanks for attending!Join us online:Like us on Facebook: us on Twitter: @VolunteerMatchVisit Engaging Volunteers, our nonprofit any questions contact:Jennifer Bennett(415)