‘Don’t make me feel guilty, let me go!’ activity

We’d now like you to think about how your organisation supports volunteers when they wish to leave.

Activity 11

Thinking about what is appropriate in your own context consider:

  1. How can you support volunteers in their personal development that would allow them to grow into a new role in your organisation or elsewhere?
  2. Are there appropriate mechanisms in place to learn from volunteers before they move on?
  3. When volunteers do move on, how is their contribution recognised?
  4. How are you planning to ensure you will continue to involve more volunteers in the future?

Don’t forget to record your reflections in your learning journal.


You might have recognised the feelings of guilt expressed earlier, either as a volunteer who feels it is time to ‘move on’ but cannot as there is no clear replacement, or because you have asked someone to stay on when you know they want to go.

One thing you ought not to feel bad about is engaging in appropriate succession planning. As noted earlier in section 4, volunteering has an impact on volunteers, and wanting to move on, either to a new role in the organisation or elsewhere, or simply to take a break, is to be expected and should be supported.

The most important thing to try and do at this stage is to end things amicably. A volunteer, whether current or retired, can be an ambassador for your group or organisation.

Lisa talks about volunteers leaving after deciding that it’s not right for them, and the importance of that being sensitively resolved.

Download this video clip.Video player: Lisa, Co-convenor, Polbeth and West Calder Community Garden. All rights reserved.
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Lisa, Co-convenor, Polbeth and West Calder Community Garden. All rights reserved.
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5.2 ‘Don’t make me feel guilty, let me go!’

5.3 Take action to be ready to build on success