imagesProgram Director: ” Did you see the job posting for Volunteer Manager?”
Executive Director: “Yes, but I thought we just hired for this position six months ago.”
Program Director: ” We did , but it did not work out with her”
Executive Director: ” Why? What happen?”
Program Director: “She had a hard time filling the shifts and got tired of being the midnight to 8:00am staff back up.”
Executive Director: ” I hope we get someone that lasts this time.”
California Rape Crisis Centers (RCC) have very dedicated and compassionate staff with a “heart for service” to address violence against women and children issues.  Sometimes the expectations and pressures  of the job can force that same compassionate and dedicate person to reevaluate their continued employment with the agency.  Which job at a RCC do you think has the greatest turnover rate?

I believe it to be the Volunteer Manager position.  My rational is as follows:

  • 45% of the Volunteer Managers who attended the July 2009 CALCASA Volunteer Management Training had been in their position less than 2 years; of that figure 25% had been with the agency less than a year.
  • Often times Volunteer Managers have to work overtime on week days and weekends
  • Often times they serve as backup staff for volunteers on week nights and weekends
  • Often time they are on call 24 hours a day
  • They are responsible for coordinating and attending the volunteer certified trainings; these trainings vary from 40 hours to 80 hours.  In  addition they must maintain their daily duties.
  • They constantly must recruit and retain volunteers for the agency.

When an employee leaves an organization, unless you have someone ready to hire and is familiar with the work; there can sometime be a drop in productivity, stoppage of work and a cost incurred that is associated with having to fill the position.    The SASHA Corporation states that for an employee who is paid$8.00 per hour, it would cost the company $3500.00 to fill that position.  In addition to cost you may also loose volunteers when the manager leaves.  Many times the volunteer is dedicated to the manager and not the agency; so when the manager leaves so does the volunteer.There are many reason why a Volunteer Manager may choose to leave their position; unless you know for certain it may benefit you ask why in the exit interview.
CALCASA is an excellent resource for Volunteer Managers and anything related to the operations of your volunteer program.  There is an upcoming Volunteer Management Training Institute on February 1-2, 2010 in Pacifica, CA at the Best Western Lighthouse.  This training will provide skill sets that focus on the recruitment, management and retention of volunteers.  I cannot guarantee you that a Volunteer Manager will never transition from your agency but addressing some of the contributing factors will increase the viability of your volunteer program.
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