Volunteering may be the new black – ever since President Obama started the “Renew America Together” volunteering promotion program in 2009. But somehow the issue has faded away. I just learned that volunteer turnover is many, many times higher than regular paid worker turnover. You’d think that people who do something for free, just because they believe in it, would be more motivated to stick around than if they are paid to do it. But in reality the burnout is much more severe and the reason for that is conceptual. In brief, many organizations misunderstand the role of their volunteers and treat them the wrong way.
Since I’ve been involved in many projects made possible only through the help of people who have generously donated their time and skill, in many capacities and different sides, here’s what I think most organizations misunderstand – and lose volunteers’ good will. Continue reading