Posts Tagged ‘volunteer engagement’

 

Can Volunteers be “Fired?”

Posted on: July 8th, 2009 by Hayim Herring No Comments

I want to raise a sensitive issue, one that arises in every setting which relies upon volunteers.  What happens when a staff member feels that a volunteer is simply unsuited for the job at hand?  Yes, maybe if that staff member hadn’t acted like a body snatcher, pouncing on the first warm body who agreed to volunteer, he might have realized that the person he asked was not the right match for the job required.  Or, even when the volunteer had a decent volunteer track record, and a staff person saw the next volunteer opportunity as a way to help that volunteer move to a new level, mismatches still happen. How do you handle those situations?

The potential for conflict and hurt feelings in this situation is real.  Volunteers may be heavily invested in the work that they’ve been asked to do and believe that they are doing an outstanding job.  To make matters even more complex, the volunteer may be new to the synagogue, or a veteran member with strong social ties to other members, or someone who has contributed significant time or money in the past.  You know that this volunteer needs to be removed because he is leading a significant project which can set the synagogue back if it isn’t done well. In each of these scenarios, you know there will be fallout.

When faced with this dilemma, how have you responded? What are the consequences of your decision? What would you do differently in hindsight? Your contribution to this discussion is especially important for the Tools for Shuls book—it’s a hot-button issue that always comes up, so please share your insights.

Thanks for your candid responses!

Rabbi Hayim Herring

Would You Volunteer for this Synagogue?

Posted on: June 29th, 2009 by Hayim Herring No Comments

The motivations that move people to volunteer are varied but here are a few personal observations:

What is important to note is that each motivation requires a different approach to volunteer engagement. As a volunteer talent scout, you get to probe people’s motivations and then match the work to their motivations. So any volunteer “ask” should begin with an understanding of the underlying emotional needs of potential volunteers.

This is not an exhaustive list of motivations for volunteering. So:

  1. please add to the list
  2. and, let me know of one example when you saw a volunteer really grow because you aligned his/her emotional needs with the task at hand.

Thanks, Hayim