Releasing and Replacing
Many times we’ve all
heard another member remark “You can’t fire
me, I’m a volunteer!” Yes, it may be true
that they are volunteers BUT when a
volunteer commits to be a part of the team,
they are committing to follow the
assignments and guidelines set forth by the
team leader. Why? Because the team leader
is ultimately responsible for the outcome of
the project. This responsibility places the
team leader in the position of being 'the
There are times when
it becomes necessary to release and replace
a volunteer. There can be many reasons for
The volunteer does something
completely contrary to the Rules and Bylaws
and refuses to change.
The volunteer or a close
family member is seriously ill.
The volunteer is not
productive even after repeated counseling.
The volunteer doesn’t get
along with the others on the team.
The volunteer refuses to
follow the leader’s requests.
Having to ask a
volunteer to vacate their position is a sad
and heart wrenching action for all parties. Prior to asking the volunteer to vacate, the
leader should review:
Has the volunteer been given a
clear understanding of the job and their
Has the volunteer received
ample counseling regarding performance?
Was the counseling honest and
Will additional counseling
improve the situation?
What are the ramifications if
the volunteer is replaced?
When you have no
choice except to release the volunteer,
schedule a meeting:
Meet personally one-on-one;
meet at a private location, not in front of
Come to the meeting with a
prepared letter removing them from their
position but don’t display it until after
Tell them your position and
why. Discuss things calmly.
Let them speak about how they
feel and listen closely to what they have to
say; expect them to be hurt and upset.
Many times after a brief
discussion, the volunteer will decide they
want to resign rather than continue under
the circumstances. If so, accept the
resignation and ask them to follow up in
If the person gives no sign
they’ll resign on their own, advise
them you’d like them to vacate and ask them
to voluntarily resign.
If the volunteer refuses to
resign, present them with the prepared
Make sure the volunteer
realizes this action is not personal; that
you are doing it in the best interest of the