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Nonprofits are skilled at maximizing every resource at their disposal in an effort to make the world a better place. One sensible economic tactic may involve bringing in volunteers along with regular, paid employees. Volunteers are vital to a nonprofit’s success, but they also bring with them occasional discipline problems.
The big question: When faced with difficult situations, can you discipline volunteers the same way you would employees – or are the rules different for unpaid workers?
Your community outreach may be charitable, but your tolerance of problematic volunteers doesn’t need to be. For many nonprofit leaders, the first hurdle in disciplining volunteers is often emotional. You may feel that:
These concerns are legit, but the bigger risk is maintaining relationships with volunteers who are breaking policies, slacking at their duties or, worst, putting your staff in harm’s way. For all the reasons you would step in and address an underperforming or policy-defying employee, you can do the same with a volunteer. Here are a few tips on how to handle problematic situations properly:
As part of your volunteer introduction package, consider providing a disciplinary policy that states:
“Volunteers who do not adhere to the rules and procedures of the agency or who do not satisfactorily perform their volunteer assignments are subject to discipline and/or dismissal. Disciplinary action shall range from verbal warnings to immediate discharge, depending on the seriousness of the offense in the judgement of management. Possible grounds for immediate dismissal may include: gross misconduct or insubordination; theft of property or misuse of agency materials; abuse or mistreatment of clients, staff or other volunteers; not abiding by agency policies and procedures; and not satisfactorily performing assigned duties.”
To support your business efforts in the communities you serve, we’re extending a special offer to small, U.S.-based nonprofit organizations: free access to select HRdirect Smart Apps for one year! This includes our Progressive Discipline Smart App, which can guide you through proper documentation of disciplinary actions. You’ll gain access to other free apps that can help you with volunteers and paid employees alike, such as recruitment, mandatory new-hire paperwork, attendance tracking and employee recordkeeping. Click here to sign up.
So, what did you think? Did you find this information helpful? If so, there’s more available whenever you need a little guidance. New for 2018, we’ve launched the HR Recordkeeping [R]evolution campaign to help small businesses make the move to online recordkeeping. Through educational resources and step-by-step instruction, we show just how easy it is to upgrade to the latest electronic HR solutions.