Don’t leave me this way! #wiseupwednesdays

Another important aspect of managing volunteers which is often overlooked, is how to retain your volunteers. You need to hang onto them once you’ve found them!  The reasons for losing volunteers may be the result of external or internal factors:

retainingExternal – factors over which you have no control:

·             Your funding has changed, or come to an end
·             Your project/organisation has to close
·             They have been offered paid work
·             Childcare responsibilities
·             Long-term sickness
·             Moving out of the area

Internal – factors which you may have control over:

  • Lack of support
  • Being taken for granted
  • No training
  • No opportunities for development
  • Not feeling welcome and part of the team
  • No opportunities to be involved in decision-making
  • Lack of stimulation
  • Under-utilised skills
  • Feeling their efforts are wasted
  • Stressful
  • Tiring
  • Lack of variety
  • Not being given opportunity to express their views and make suggestions

What can I do to retain volunteers?

Ask them!  There may be simple things you can do to stop the volunteer leaving.

The following are basic elements of volunteer management, which are all important for volunteer retention:

  • Induction – make it informative and interesting – get off on the right foot
  • Initial Development & Training Plan for the volunteer – if they wish to progress. (Not all volunteers will wish to do so, but it must be offered to those who do)
  • Development & Training Plan review and regular supervision sessions at 3 months, 6 months and every 6 months thereafter
  • Team/volunteer meetings on a regular basis (these may be social or work-focussed)
  • Consultation and communication
  • Ongoing support from the volunteer’s mentor/supervisor

Regular supervision and support are essential for ALL volunteers.  Even if they only have supervision sessions every 3 or 6 months, they should be encouraged to contact their supervisor/manager if they have any problems or queries, rather than leaving them until the next supervision session.  This can prevent minor issues developing into larger ones and the volunteer deciding to leave.

Below are some suggestions from local volunteer managers on what works for them!

  • Feel included, valued
  • Thank them!  Pampering/events
  • Pay expenses where possible
  • Support them
  • Opportunity to progress if wanted
  • Respect
  • Group volunteer meetings
  • Have just enough to do, not too much
  • Include in Christmas meals
  • Ask them for ideas
  • Be aware of friction between volunteers
  • Publicising achievements – newsletter
  • Other support available if you’re not there!

guidelines-on-managing-volunteers

2 thoughts on “Don’t leave me this way! #wiseupwednesdays

  1. Hi! Great, comprehensive list. Conducting exit interviews can help to identify any recurring reasons volunteers leave. On the flip side, conducting regular “stay” interviews that focus on volunteer satisfaction can identify disatisfaction before it drives volunteers away.

    Liked by 1 person

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