Giving Compass' Take:

Meridian Swift, writing for VolunteerMatch, discusses best practices for a volunteer manager to have difficult discussions with volunteers.

Why are quality volunteers needed for nonprofit growth?

Here are six ways to find high quality volunteers.

What do you do when someone applies to volunteer, and you realize they won’t work out? Do you practice avoidance because you’re a nice person and nice people don’t reject other people, especially to their faces?

We volunteer managers are often faced with difficult choices, ones made more difficult because we are working with volunteers. Unlike an HR department that hires staff, our situation is much different in these four ways:

  1. Unlike staff, we don’t have a limit on the number of volunteers we can accept, so it becomes much harder to turn away a volunteer
  2. Qualifications for volunteers are viewed as much simpler and broader than for paid staff
  3. There’s this perception surrounding volunteering that anyone who offers their time is already fit for the job, which is the complete opposite of the perceptions of staff hiring
  4. Unpaid work is viewed as simple, easy and can be done by anyone

Volunteer managers excel at building relationships, and rejection just doesn’t fit our style. Once you rethink rejection as the potential for a new relationship, you can prepare yourself to “reshape” the prospective volunteer by:

  • Reminding yourself that not all people will fit the volunteer role, but all people can be advocates
  • Reassuring yourself that your goal is to create an advocate, not a person who feels mistreated because of avoidance strategies
  • Giving yourself permission to feel disappointed, but assure yourself that you are a proactive leader who is finding the best solution for all
  • Reminding yourself that it is more cruel to set a volunteer up for failure than it is to find an alternative solution from the start
  • Viewing the opportunity to mold your engagement program

Read the full article about rejecting a volunteer by Meridian Swift at VolunteerMatch