Exit Interviews

VolunteeringJust as there are "introduction" processes volunteers and staff members go through, there should be processes for when individuals end or complete their volunteering. After an individual leaves, the group should know why she or he left, and get some feedback on her or his volunteer experience. One of the simplest ways to do this is an exit interview.

At an exit interview, former employees or volunteers are asked for their feedback on the group, their experiences, and the reason(s) for leaving. An exit interview should be relaxed, and is a good time to recognize someone for their contributions (i.e. a card, gift, or plaque). The purpose of exit interviews is to understand individual's perceptions and experiences. Only through this input can groups best evaluate their programs.

Exit interviews are also important in instances where employees or volunteers have been asked to leave. This gives individuals a chance to air any grievances, and once again, to provide feedback. If negative evaluations have been given, follow-up is important.

An exit interview should contain the following information:

  • Volunteer's name and the date Volunteer's position(s) in the organisation 
  • Total time volunteered (dates and hours) 
  • Interviewer's name and signature
  • Reasons for leaving 
  • Positive experiences
  • Negative experiences
  • Things that can be improved / suggestions 
  • Overall satisfaction of experience (give a rate) 

Think about these questions

  1. What effective questions could be asked during a volunteer performance evaluation? 
  2. What are the most common reasons volunteers leave your organisation?
  3. Is there anything you might do differently to retain them? 
  4. How could you adapt your recruitment, screening, intake and volunteer support process to minimize or avoid the need for volunteer dismissal? 
  5. Under what circumstances would you dismiss a volunteer?
  6. Have you ever needed to dismiss a volunteer?
  7. What have you learned from that experience?