11 Dec

Avoid Volunteer Burnout

It happens all the time. An organization  has a volunteer who is a  powerhouse. She knows how to get things done, requires minimal supervision and has boundless energy and time to devote.

For a while, things are going great. Then many, if not all,  of these common mistakes are made.

Mistake 1 -Overusing the Star: The organization continually asks the volunteer to take on more and more with no break in between committees, events, projects etc.

Mistake 2 -Taking Her for Granted: The organization assumes that she will volunteer, often without wholeheartedly  asking.

Mistake 3 – Blurring the Lay/Professional Lines: The staff of the organization forget that she is a volunteer.

Mistake 4 – Not Minding Your Manners: The organization doesn’t say thank you enough.

Mistake 5 – Forgetting to Ask “Was It  Good For You?”: The organization fails to ask its volunteers to complete  surveys about their volunteer experiences or provide them with any opportunity to give feedback.

Mistake 6 – “You mean you aren’t going to do this forever?”: The organization doesn’t work with the volunteer from the onset to discuss succession planning (more later but succession planning isn’t just for leadership board positions).

If you are part of an organization and are making these mistakes, hurry up and rectify them fast! Loosing star volunteers is very costly to nonprofits – and 99% avoidable!

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There are 1 comments on this post.

  1. Lynn Nadeau

    December 11, 2009

    You are absolutely right! Our only problem is that once we get into the trenches, slogging forward with project after project, we don’t take a step out to look around and de-brief. We just continue slogging. (for and for

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