Should I stay or should I go?  What to do if things aren’t working out #tuneintuesdays



Every relationship has its ups and downs, and volunteering relationships are no different.  When things go wrong volunteers invariably blame themselves, but often it’s not their fault.  Here are a few things to think about when things aren’t going well with your volunteering relationship.

  • Where it all began

Think back to when you joined the organisation. Did you have an induction which included explaining your role within the organisation, useful information, meeting other people and perhaps a handbook, with policies, procedures, contacts etc for you to keep? Were your queries all dealt with? Did you feel content and ready to volunteer?

  • Are you receiving support from the organisation?

Do you have regular support or supervision sessions with the person who manages you? Are there opportunities to raise any concerns and are these dealt with to your satisfaction?  Do you feel like you are being listened to, supported and any concerns addressed?

  • Manage your expectations

Is your role still right for you? Is it no longer challenging you or too demanding? What about changing your role?  Did you get the impression that you would be given more training or opportunities to grow into other roles that have not materialised? If you have raised these concerns at support sessions have they been addressed?

  • Do you have concerns about the clients you support?

There should be a procedure for raising any concerns. Make sure you talk to the person who manages you and report your concerns. Don’t worry about this on your own, you need to raise it with someone who can sort it.

  • Is it working for the org but not for you?

Do you feel like you’ve lost your mojo? Are you no longer enjoying your volunteering? Is everything fine, but you just feel like you no longer love your role?  Have you changed your role? Maybe it was a mistake and the new one is not right for you?  Have your personal circumstances changed and you don’t feel you can give 100% any more. Maybe you need a volunteering break? Have a chat with the person who manages you. I’m sure they would rather try to help you feel fulfilled again than lose you as a volunteer.

How to take the next step and get your relationship back on track

  • Minor concerns 

Talk to the person who manages you and tell them how you feel. Challenge things you aren’t happy about. Hopefully they will help you try to resolve things as I’m sure they won’t want to lose you.

  • More serious concerns

Your organisation with have a Problem solving policy to help resolve concerns. Just follow the guidance in there and hopefully this will resolve the issue.  If it can’t be resolved to your satisfaction, you may need to walk away.

  • Seek some independent advice

Volunteer Centres are here to help and can offer confidential impartial support and information, alongside advocacy and mediation. If you just need someone to talk to about what’s happening with your volunteering get in touch and we will do our best to help.

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