The potential reasons why a volunteer may leave are endless, but before you start looking at them it’s probably worth doing a quick run through of your good practice measures for involving volunteers. There are some basic things which volunteers should really get when volunteering and if you aren’t providing them, they could be one of the reasons they are leaving!
- role/task description outlining the volunteer role
- initial chat when they first enquire about the role, outlining expected commitment
- induction when they start, including essential things like who’s who, support available, what to do if they have any concerns
- volunteer agreement – setting out their rights and responsibilities
- handbook – with lots of information about the organisation and project they are volunteering with, plus essentials like procedures for claiming expenses, policies etc
- named person to support them and answer any queries
- regular support and supervision – this is the best way to keep in touch with your volunteers and see how things are going. If things aren’t going well, you will be able to spot these and prevent them becoming an issue!
There’s another important element of managing volunteers that is good practice but not physical such as a policy and that’s building a relationship with your volunteers, being available by phone/text/email/in person when they need someone to talk to. Building a mutually trusting relationship may not guarantee a volunteer won’t leave, but it will hopefully ensure they raise any issues or concerns with you, however small, before simply deciding to leave.