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Knowing When to Stop: A Personal Account of a Manager’s Efforts to Help Volunteers

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One of the hardest things a volunteer manager may ever face is how to deal with an aging volunteer whose performance has begun to fall short of the organization’s expectations. In this special two-part series, e-Volunteerism tackles this important but often over-looked issue through two insightful stories called “Knowing When to Stop.”  Part 1 of this series, written by Yael Caplin and presented in our previous issue, outlined an organizational process to help volunteers retire, particularly when the volunteers have been with an organization for too long or if their ability to contribute has substantially deteriorated. Now, in Part 2 of the series, Nechama Jeselsohn offers a personal account of a manager’s efforts to help volunteers retire with grace and support. Both stories are centered on experiences at Yad Sarah, one of the largest voluntary organizations in Israel that operates with over 4,500 volunteers and 300 paid staff to help sick, disabled, elderly and housebound people manage at home. For volunteer managers who have faced or are beginning to confront the reality of volunteers “aging in place,” this two-part series will provide beneficial advice for dealing with a complicated and emotional topic.