Campaigning guidance

Our guidance for charities on campaigning in the lead up to the general election. Learn more

Dismissing a volunteer

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Asking a volunteer to leave should always be a last resort when other ways to solve a problem haven't worked. See our guidance on solving volunteer problems.

In rare cases, it's a necessary response to a serious breach of conduct. You might also need to ask a volunteer to leave because of changes to a service, for example, because it's closing. Read our guidance on ending volunteering well.

Dismissal meetings

Dismissing a volunteer is never easy. You'll need to take time to prepare for this conversation.

Make sure you:

  • have followed a problem-solving process
  • schedule a time and place to meet with the volunteer, giving them enough notice
  • choose a private, appropriate location to meet
  • offer them the chance to have somebody with them if they would like
  • explain to them that they're being asked to leave and why
  • thank them for their contribution
  • keep the meeting short and follow it up in writing.

Volunteers will want you to treat them with fairness. Although they aren't covered by employment law, you should treat volunteers with respect and should not discriminate against them.

While it's difficult, take the opportunity to learn from this experience. Consider what steps you could put in place to avoid having to dismiss volunteers in future.

Last reviewed: 12 April 2021

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 April 2021

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