Volunteering – managing difficult situations

The biggest problem for volunteer coordinators is when there is tension between two parties, volunteers, the volunteer and one of the employees, the volunteer and a customer, or between employees in relation to a volunteer. As the coordinator is a representative of both the institution and the volunteers, these situations create a kind of ‘press’, in which they may feel very uncomfortable if they do not have objective reasoning.
The main help in such situations is a written set of rules, a written record of task assignment, or a written record. However, it is a fact that those concerned must be emotionally involved in the situation and, depending on their personality, find it difficult to resolve disagreements, which may then become a bitter experience. To avoid this, the coordinator should be able to conduct a clarification discussion and moderate between two or more parties.
Below, without being exhaustive, we have highlighted some of the difficult cases that have occurred in institutional volunteer programmes, which the parties generally did not expect and were not prepared for. In the following, we try to provide some suggestions for their possible handling.

This article based on the following document: This article based on the following document: Practical Guide for the Establishment and Operation of Volunteer Programmes at Institutions : abridged English version