How do I fire a volunteer ?
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How do I fire a volunteer?
Sound like a ridiculous question? Well to anyone who has been in the non-profit world it is likely something you’ve asked yourself. You know what I’m talking about… that person who has been around the organization for 20 years and does everything their way, which is the best and only way. Or someone who probably had the skills for the job at one time, but those skills have long since gone. Or maybe you have someone who kind of fell into a role because no one else was willing to do it and it’s turned into an absolute disaster having them there.
These issues are not unique to any one organization. Its how we deal with them that can determine our success.
Personally I am not in favor of firing anyone who volunteers their time, but I am absolutely in support of encouraging a change for that person. It’s very likely the individual cares deeply about your cause and that is one of the reasons they’ve been giving of their time. They have formed strong relationships and bonds with colleagues and donors alike.
First, have a conversation with the person. Listen to them and their perspective. Ask them specific questions related to the issues you are experiencing and see what they have to say in response. Tell them that you are looking at making some changes and want to get their opinion and perspective.
Second, assess the conversation. Did you learn something that perhaps changes your opinion? Or are you on such different pages that there is just no way of collaborating? The odds are that things are somewhere in the middle.
Finally, meet again to put your new plan in place. Remember if you have been feeling unhappy with how things are going, it’s likely they too are feeling the stress and inadequacies in the arrangement as well.
It is quite likely that a new role for your volunteer would be a welcome change for both of you. Or you might just learn that this person has a perspective that you had never considered. Either way, you will feel much better having dealt with the situation and everyone connected will see a more cohesive working relationship.
Mike Urgo Consulting LLC