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Leader's Insight: Firing Volunteers

Nobody wants to, but sometimes you have to.

Roberta was driving me nuts. Put in charge of an important fundraising event when no one else volunteered, she quickly spiraled out of control. It started to become "her" event rather than a communal church fundraiser. She ignored repeated requests to give the church board a budget, tried to secure a glamorous yet pricey off-site location, and allowed the price per person to become too steep for a church our size. At this rate we were going to lose money in our attempt to raise money for the organ fund!

With Roberta running amuck, something had to be done. But here was our dilemma. We couldn't lay off a volunteer by eliminating the position; someone had to plan the event. We couldn't fire the well-meaning volunteer and have her simply go away, as paid workers in business settings do. Firing Roberta would not be easy; it would be painful, with fallout. While we must occasionally remove lay leaders from their ministries for the health of both parishioner and parish, that would be our last ...

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