Every volunteer organization should prioritize the well-being and happiness of their volunteers. Healthy, joyful people are more productive, better at problem-solving, and more enjoyable to be around.
Learning more about volunteer burnout can help your organization combat overly stressed and exhausted team members for better overall performance. We are sharing tips and tricks for keeping your volunteers feeling their best and keeping burnout at bay.
What Is Volunteer Burnout?
Volunteer burnout can be described as being in a state of overwhelm, stress, or exhaustion. Those who experience it typically notice a shift in attitude and work ethic. They may feel disengaged or irritable when working through different tasks.
Volunteer burnout is typically a telltale sign that an individual needs to get some rest and relaxation to recharge their mental and physical batteries.
Causes of Volunteer Burnout
The following are some of the common causes of burnout for volunteers:
- Lack of support
- Unclear responsibilities and roles
- Poor organization
- Limited or confusing communication
- Lack of leadership
- Massive workloads
- Inadequate training
Volunteer burnout can also result from many outside factors and stressors in other areas of life, such as work, parenting, or school.
The Importance of Being Proactive About Volunteer Burnout
Managers and leaders have an important responsibility to keep volunteer burnout at bay. The best way to avoid feeling run down and disengaged is to take proactive steps to feel your best. Consider educating your team about burnout and how it can impact their attitudes and performance. By encouraging healthy habits and prioritizing rest when needed, you can help your people stay at the top of their game.
Being rundown or feeling used as a volunteer can lead people to stop dedicating their free time to your mission. You don’t want to wait until burnout has already run its course. Taking preventative measures is key to controlling burnout and keeping your team happy.
How to Prevent Volunteer Burnout
Taking steps to avoid burnout is a must if you are looking to create the best volunteering experience for everyone. Explore the following tactics and tips for helping your volunteers avoid burnout.
1. Learn to Spot the Warning Signs of Burnout
Understanding how to identify the warning signs of burnout is essential for addressing these problems before they become bigger issues. Some of the most common symptoms of burnout include:
- Low mood
- Loss of pleasure
For example, you could have a volunteer who is typically enthusiastic and vocal about their dedication to your cause. They have a positive attitude and are eager to pitch in whenever they are needed. However, you may notice they seem to be less joyful and dedicated when they experience burnout. They may start complaining a lot and getting irritable with other volunteers during their shifts.
The earlier you can identify burnout symptoms and address them, the easier it will be to get back on track. When you see someone exhibiting the warning signs, encourage them to take some time off and practice self-care.
2. Be Flexible With Scheduling
Scheduling can be a huge stressor for volunteers. From hectic agendas to confusing shift schedules, how your organization manages and organizes its schedule has a direct impact on your team.
The key is to be flexible and highly organized with your scheduling. Volunteer management software makes scheduling a much simpler process. Your people can easily access the calendar and sign up for or remove themselves from different shifts. Working around your team’s availability shows them respect and allows them to take time off when needed.
3. Offer Adequate Training Opportunities
Proper training is essential for volunteers to feel confident and comfortable in their roles. Ensure your organization offers adequate opportunities to learn new skills and best practices.
Training lets your volunteers become familiar with working together, tackling problems, and fulfilling their duties. The best volunteer training programs clearly outline the volunteer’s responsibilities and the primary objectives of the work. They also encompass how to use the tools or technology needed for the job. When your team knows how to do their roles, they will be less likely to feel overwhelmed or worried.
4. Be Transparent About the Work
No matter what kind of volunteer work your organization does, it is important to be clear about your team’s responsibilities. No one wants to be surprised by a heaping workload or tough time constraints.
Share clear goals and expectations with your team. Give them a heads-up about challenging projects and ask for their feedback. When your team knows what to expect, they can properly prepare themselves and get into the right mindset before getting started.
5. Communicate Clearly and Regularly
Communication plays a major role in combating volunteer burnout. Make sure your organization is coordinating with and updating your team regularly. Infrequent or unclear messages can cause unnecessary confusion and frustration.
Investing in volunteer management software with messaging capabilities is a great way to streamline communication with volunteers. Automation tools make it simple to share shift changes or news on the go, keeping everyone on the same page.
6. Recognize Volunteer Contributions
Extending recognition to volunteers is a simple and effective way to fight burnout. People want to feel valued and like their contributions matter. Consider how you can spotlight your superstar volunteers and give them the accolades they deserve.
Dealing With Burned-Out Volunteers
Dealing with a burned-out volunteer can be challenging. When someone on your crew is feeling run down and a little irritable, it is important to be understanding and acknowledge that burnout can happen to anyone.
Consider giving a burned-out volunteer time off. Encourage them to practice relaxing self-care strategies that are proven to boost your mood and lower your stress level, such as:
- Eating a balanced meal
Burned-out individuals may take days or weeks to feel up to snuff and ready to give their all to the cause again.
Get Your 30-Day Free Trial of Volgistics Volunteer Management Software Today
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We offer an easy monthly subscription without startup fees or binding contracts, and you can customize Volgistics to meet your organization’s unique needs. Ready to see Volgistics volunteer management software in action? Get your 30-day free trial, or schedule a live demo today!