How do I part ways with volunteers who can’t do their tasks anymore?

Our organization has a number of wonderful and devoted volunteers who are aging and are unfortunately no longer able to do the task assigned. How do I retire volunteers gracefully without offending them?

This question is about addressing the performance of these volunteers; if volunteers are unable to do what is expected, discuss it with them. Loyal volunteers are wonderful, but if they are no longer able to do the work they are expected to do, the match between them and the organization is no longer suitable. It could be the case that they haven’t thought about retiring, or didn’t know that they could. If you’re hesitant to let volunteers go right away, perhaps these volunteers could be reassigned or partnered with another volunteer. Otherwise, proceed with termination and have a retirement celebration and appropriate thanks for a nice send-off; maybe an emeritus designation that gets them invited to some recognition events?

This is also a great opportunity to speak to staff colleagues about and create strategies for succession planning. If you’ll be losing a few seasoned volunteers in a short time span, staff colleagues may have some good ideas about how to fill these volunteers’ shoes.