Jan 29, 2019

What to Do When A Key Volunteer Quits

When you lose one of your key volunteers, it has ramifications.  Worst case scenario, you have other volunteers who decide it's time for them to quit as well. 

It takes wisdom to navigate this situation. Your team dynamic can be affected if you don't lead well through it.

Team members are likely to feel an emotional loss associated with the resignation.  Often teams see a domino effect with others resigning in response to the first resignation.

Watch for overloading workloads as team members may have to step up and temporarily cover the responsibilities of the person who left.

So, how do you keep the rest of the team emotionally healthy and passionate about the mission?  Let's look at a few key steps to take.

Acknowledge the person is quitting.  Be open and honest with the team.  Share the news with them quickly (The people who know the person probably already know anyways). Let your team know that you are sorry the person is leaving.  This will help you connect with the rest of the team emotionally and let them know you are feeling the same thing they are feeling.

Be honest about why the volunteer quit.  Other team members will have questions about why the person quit.  Be honest and share as much information as is appropriate and okay with the volunteer who quit.

Find a replacement.  If the volunteer had filled a role that requires certain leadership skills or talents, make it a priority to find the replacement.  It might be someone who is already on the team that you could move into the vacant role.  Or it may mean finding a new volunteer for that role.

Here's an example.  Let's say your tech person steps down.  Hopefully you have some volunteers that worked with the person.  Meet with them and decide who will step into the lead role that is now vacant.  Or find a new volunteer to fill the role. 

Be honest about why the volunteer quit.  Other team members will have questions about why the person quit.  Be honest and share as much information as is appropriate and okay with the volunteer who quit. 

Invest in the team.  Sit down with the people he or she served with and ask how they are doing, how the team dynamic is going, any concerns or changes they want to talk about, etc.  Spend extra time with them and invest in them.
  
Keep the team focused on the WHY instead of the what.  Remind team members why you are doing what you are doing.  Point them to the big mission God has called them to. 

Realize it happens.  You are going to have some volunteer turn over.  People move.  People change jobs.  People have sicknesses.  But when a key volunteer leader steps away for none of these reasions, it can cause a huge ripple effect if you don't lead well.

It's important to know what to say and how you should verbalize it.  The goal is to keep the team excited, pumped and ready to continue serving. 

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