SELF-CARE DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Burnout Checklist will help volunteers:

Burnout Busters — Eight tips to prevent volunteer burnoutPosted on November 19, 2015 by Thomas W. McKee

In order to prevent burnout, create a healthy volunteer culture by using the following burnout busters.

  1. Recruit teams rather than individuals:  Sharing the membership load with a team lightens the load.
  2. Create holidays:  Students and teachers get holiday breaks.  Workers get paid vacation. Why not members?  They need breaks from their role to get refreshed. One way to do this is to organize different shifts or time periods of commitment. Look at how you are organized.
  3. Organize tactically:  Tactics are short term tasks. Not having enough members/volunteers for an event can lead to burnout when you ask too much from too few. Tactical planning is essential to make sure you have just enough members/volunteers, but not so many that people stand around with nothing to do.
  4. Reconnect to purpose—think strategically: Members need to feel that what they are doing is essential to the cause. This is especially true when Members are doing administrative work. The members/volunteers  will wonder at times, “What difference am I making by getting this newsletter out?”
  5. Provide a volunteer break room:  A volunteer break room with food is a place for volunteers to retreat, relax and share together. Create a special place for your volunteers that they can call their own and stock it with snacks.he a
  6. Debrief emotionally draining roles:   volunteer on a very elite mountain climbing rescue team. He told me about a rescue attempt where the person their team was trying to rescue died on the mountain. To deal with this kind of stress, volunteer teams have debriefing sessions with trained professionals to help them deal with what they just witnessed.  In the past month I have met many volunteers who are spending their free time with abused children, battered women, the homeless, refugee immigrants, and patients who are dying.  Make sure you understand and provide the resources to deal with these kind of emotional draining roles.
  7. Recognize stamina diversity:  Every volunteer is unique. Some are able to handle large amounts of work while others cannot carry such a heavy load.  Be very aware of the tolerance levels of your volunteers and divide up the work assignments accordingly.

And a final note:  Remember that volunteers have other jobs, and they have a life outside of your organization. Our best volunteers are often involved in many organizations in addition to ours, so that means they could be on volunteer overload and heading straight towards the burnout wall. The main thing is to keep your volunteers feeling great about what they are doing. Volunteering on a regular basis will take everything volunteers are willing to give and often even more. We need to take these steps to make sure that we don’t lose the best volunteers.

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