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Preventing volunteer burnout

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Burnout session at AdaCamp Melbourne.

What do people want to get out of this session

  • Prevention (some appear to handle it better than others, comes up in every organizations)
  • Anti-patterns
  • “self-sabotage”
  • This is a structural

Why I’m here?

  • “i am disabled” -- learning to be a better engineer, knowing own limits, self managing
  • “I didn’t do what I needed to do at the time”
  • How do we teach volunteers to handle themselves
  • find out “who is responsible for volunteer burnout?” The organization (?)

How to fix burnout?

  • task design
  • organizational design
  • leadership

Problems

  • Feeling trapped by the fact that no one else can do X
  • Controlling tasks :D
  • “some projects are hero projects”

Types of burnout

  • Life-happens, prioritization
  • Unappreciated/unsafe
  • Rage quitting
  • People are attacking me from the outside
  • over-commitment
  • fade out - lack of positive feedback
  • fade out - due to negative feedback
  • idealism: not achieving the ideal, so quitting
  • unrealistic expectations
  • non-profit workers, not being paid and you shouldn’t ask for more money, work lots of overtime because “you believe”

Best practices

  • create a culture where it’s acceptable to say no
    • What’s the role of leadership of an organization in setting policy?
    • Organizers need to say no (volunteer: you can’t do that)
    • Having backups for things
    • Succession planning (buddy people)
  • Socializing: Volunteering needs to not just be work
    • sophisticated task design
    • every task is balanced with a reward
    • commitment is very clearly defined
  • Planned obselecense
  • Top-level direction on planning to quit
  • having roles makes it much easier to move people out of them
  • Learning how to delegate portions of things
  • Co-founding: find someone with complementary skills
  • Tasks go undone :D - Just ask individuals to do things
  • Australian Associating for Rogaining is an example of awesome
    • long distance orienteering
    • 6 events a year

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