Volunteer Management more ideas in the
Ultimate Ideas Newsletter
How to lead, recruit and retain more volunteers and members!
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It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
Volunteer Recognition and Recruitment
Feed Back for the Future! 8 Ideas About Volunteer Exit Interviews
A volunteer is leaving your organization. The card is signed and the cake is ready for the farewell morning tea. But wait! Have you found out the answers to these questions? Do you know why this volunteer is leaving? Do you know what they really think about you, the organization and their volunteering experience? Do you really know if they are leaving with a smile or a frown? Do you know if they would have stayed if things had been different? Do you know their thoughts on how to improve the volunteering experience for others?
Rest assured you will be able to answer YES to all of these questions if you have a volunteer management system in place to collect feedback from your departing volunteers. Most feedback comes either in a written (e.g., a survey form) or verbal form (e.g., an interview). The best feedback systems provide the opportunity to combine both. Here are some ideas to make the exit interview process one of your best feedback tools.
Begin the process by requesting that your soon-to-depart volunteer completes an exit interview form. Be sure to explain that their input is very valuable and you welcome any information, suggestions and recommendations they are prepared to share about any aspect of their volunteering experience.
Explain to the volunteer that their comments on the form will be discussed with them if they would like to attend an exit interview. If the volunteer does not agree to an exit interview, you will still have their feedback in written form.
More Than A Chat
Having a standard form as the basis for your exit interview is a great medium for gathering information. It structures the interview for maximum feedback from the volunteer - both positive and negative. It means that you collect similar information from all departing volunteers so you can compare and see any emerging patterns. It allows the exit interviews to be undertaken by others but still remain consistent for all volunteers.
Quality Not Quantity
Remember that questions can be insightful or frightful! Always go for 'quality' objective questions rather than 'quantity' questions in all your forms and interviews. Facing a 10-page questionnaire and being 'grilled' in a 2 hour exit interview is daunting for any volunteer and counter-productive. Completing a 2-3 page questionnaire with insightful questions that are discussed in a short interview of 30 minutes to 1 hour is a totally different experience. It can provide invaluable information for future volunteer management, volunteer recruitment and volunteer recognition.
What To Ask?
To make your questions really count - adapt and include some of the following questions in your exit interviews. What is your main reason for leaving? What in particular triggered your decision to leave? What were the most enjoyable and what the least enjoyable aspects of your volunteering role? If you could change your volunteering role what would you have wanted to change? Do you feel you received adequate support in your role? Do you feel you received adequate training in your role? What would you suggest needed to be improved to make the experience better for other volunteers in the future? Did any of our organization's policies and procedures make your volunteering role more difficult? What could I (or your immediate manager) do to improve my (their) volunteer management style? How do you really feel about this organization? Would you recommend others to volunteer for this organization?
Act On It!
If the exit interview form and/or face-to-face interview brings up issues that need addressing - do something about it! If this involves others it is important that you have the volunteer's signed permission on the exit interview form to act upon their comments and suggestions without identifying the volunteer.
Always finish the exit feedback process by thanking the volunteer for their input, thoughts and suggestions as part of your volunteer recognition. Remind them again of how valuable their contribution has been to the organization and how useful their feedback is to improving the volunteering experience for future of volunteers and volunteer recruitment.
But wait! If you really haven't got time to have volunteers complete exit interview surveys or conduct exit interviews, don't despair! In the next issue of our newsletter we'll give you some quick tips to make it all possible.
Still more great ideas on volunteer recruitment continued next page...
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