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Volunteer Termination

Can we really fire a volunteer?

Yes, you can. 

You have an obligation to your learners to provide a safe, supportive and effective learning environment. You also have a responsibility to your stakeholders to ensure a positive reputation in the community.

How do we handle concerns about a volunteer’s performance?

Investigate any violations of agency policies, and make notes.  Then talk clearly with your volunteer about: 

  • agency guidelines
  • specific concerns or violations
  • specific benchmarks for improvement
  • termination process if volunteer doesn't improve

Fire volunteers who do not follow agency guidelines or who demonstrate continued poor performance.

How do we fire a volunteer?

During the termination process:

  • speak clearly and confidently
  • conduct meetings in private 
  • be as polite as possible
  • document every step

Firing a volunteer is difficult.  You might worry that a fired volunteer will say negative things about your agency.  

Remember, though, that it can be just as harmful, if not more so, to have a volunteer with poor performance representing your organization.  

A volunteer who does not follow agency guidelines could expose you to liability or negatively impact your reputation with clients, supporters or funders.   

“How to Fire a Volunteer and Live to Tell About It” by Steve McCurly