Although most volunteering is rewarding, some volunteers find themselves not enjoying the work they are doing. If you’ve ever felt this way, here are some tips on when to call it quits and how to move on to a better experience.
As discussed in the in this series, you may volunteer for a host of reasons: you’re looking for a way to work on a cause you care about, you’re hoping to network with people with similar values and form new relationships, you want to get involved in a fun opportunity, or you want to share a special skill.
If you find yourself in a volunteer position that does NOT fulfill your main motivation for volunteering, ask yourself if that is contributing to your dissatisfaction. If it is, consider speaking with the volunteer manager at the agency where you are volunteering. Explain that while you find the volunteer position you have been doing valuable, you aren’t having your needs as a volunteer met. If you want to continue working with this particular agency, let the person know that you would like to try out a different opportunity. Remind them of your hope for a new position (aka your motivation), and ask what else is available.
Your dissatisfaction may have other causes as well. Perhaps the volunteer position isn’t the trouble, but something else is not working. It might be your schedule doesn’t match well with the position, you don’t feel supported as a volunteer, or you’re just not enjoying it. These are all great reasons to call it quits and try something else out. And remember, the volunteer manager wants you to be happy! Sticking with a position that makes you unhappy is bad for everyone involved: you, the agency, and ultimately the mission of the agency.
If you decide that the agency is not a good fit for you. In that case, consider finding an agency with a similar mission. Check out the for a list of agencies by type, and find one with a similar cause. Or, try something new! There are hundreds of agencies with all kinds of structures and volunteer programs. If you feel like you’ve give your current position a shot, talked to the volunteer manager to work it out, and still aren’t getting anywhere, call it quits! There’s another opportunity just around the corner!
Stay tuned for next month’s Community Volunteer Engagement post especially for youth volunteers!