re: Firing Volunteers

Jim Parsons asks an intriguing question. Basically, how do you fire a volunteer?

This can go beyond just youth volunteers to volunteers in general. Here is my response:

Is she causing problems or is she not doing well? Is there another way she can be involved in the ministry without being directly involved with students or is there a way she can spend less time in direct contact?

How has her behavior been since your discussion? Did she respond well?

I would use the end of the school year compliment the good parts of her service, recognize her large service to the church, and to offer her a year off of the youth ministry. If she accepts this gracious year off, then good. If she doesn’t, then gently tell her that she should take a defined period of time off. Consider finding an alternative life I asked about above.

Two things to consider:

1. Does your church have a system in place to maintain and care for your volunteers? If not, make this a priority. Consider an application process if you don’t have one. This is keeping with the UM Safe Sanctuaries initiative, anyway. This will allow you to “hire” for defined periods of time. This will allow you periodic review and communication of strengths and weaknesses. It will also allow you to let someone go at the end of a service period. Similarly, do you have defined descriptions of and roles for volunteers. This makes things easy to manage.

2. Consider a statement I made on my blog earlier: “I still believe that a majority of the things that we find wrong with other people really stem from things that are unsatisfying about ourselves.”

What is your wisdom?

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One response to “re: Firing Volunteers

  1. I’ve had to “fire” a couple volunteers before. These are people you place in a position to be roll models for the students in your group. If they’re lifestyle or actions (or the lack thereof) are not something I’d want a student to see or imitate, that volunteer has to be dismissed. I’m the “protector” of who is unleashed to impact these students and who isn’t.

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