There are many reasons why volunteers stop volunteering. Often, these are positive. For example, the volunteer might have a new job or feel they've done what they can. Some roles are only needed for a short time.
Volunteers can also leave for negative reasons. They might be feeling unappreciated, or that they are not making a difference. You can reduce the chances of this happening by supporting your volunteers well.
See our guidance on supporting and managing volunteers.
Here are some things you can do to end a volunteer's time at your organisation well.
See guidance on thanking volunteers.
Sometimes volunteers stop volunteering without telling you. They might stop signing up to shifts or answering your attempts to contact them.
While this can be difficult, it's good to give people the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes volunteers feel they're letting someone down in stopping volunteering. They may feel it would be an awkward conversation.
If you have tried several times to contact a volunteer but haven't heard back, then decide when you'll stop.
If you think a volunteer may be at risk, follow your organisation’s safeguarding process.
See NCVO’s guide to safeguarding for volunteer managers.
Sometimes volunteers have to leave because of changes in your organisation. For example, funding for the service they support may be ending, or their role may have changed.
In such cases it can be a challenge to end things well. Volunteers may resent the changes or feel their efforts are not appreciated.
It's important to take the time to communicate upcoming changes to volunteers. Explain why the changes are happening and try to involve volunteers in decision-making. This will help them understand and be supportive of change.
There may be other ways they can continue to support the organisation. Make sure it's clear and easy for them to get involved in other ways if they wish to do so.
Last reviewed: 12 April 2021Help us improve this content
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