Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day Date in the current year: June 21, 2024

Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day is observed twice a year, on June 21 and December 22 (the days of the summer and winter solstice). It was created for volunteers to take a step back and reconsider their commitments and responsibilities.

Volunteers do very valuable work and take pleasure from helping others, but sometimes they get demotivated and start feeling like volunteering is a burden. This can happen for many reasons: feeling overwhelmed due to an inability to balance work, volunteering and other commitments, being in the wrong volunteer role, not feeling appreciated enough, not getting along with fellow volunteers, realizing that the organization’s vision is different than theirs, and more.

Volunteer burnout is very real, and it is important to take a beak before it happens because burnt-out volunteers harm both themselves and organizations they work for. When volunteers stop feeling like their work makes a difference and lose enjoyment in what they do, they become less productive and increasingly hopeless, pessimistic and cynical, and eventually give up altogether.

Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day was created to prevent volunteer burnout and remind volunteers that it is okay to give up some of their responsibilities and commitments if they feel overwhelmed and exhausted from spending too much time volunteering and having no time left for themselves and their loved ones. Too many volunteers feel “trapped” and unable to give up commitments they have no time or energy for, and it needs to stop for their own sake and for the sake of people around them.

Twice a year – every solstice – volunteers are encouraged to check with themselves, take inventory of their responsibilities, and figure out whether they need to end some of their commitments. Ending a commitment does not necessarily mean stopping volunteering altogether; sometimes taking a break or shifting some of your responsibilities to others is enough to prevent volunteer burnout. But even if you decide to quit, you have every right to do it; it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. You’ve already done so much, and now you deserve rest.

Of course, when you give something up, you should do it the right way because there are people who depend on you. First of all, create an inventory of all your responsibilities, highlight the responsibilities you want or need to give up, and figure out your next steps (for example, “delegate Responsibility 1 to Person X”). Once you’ve decided to resign from a volunteer position, do so gracefully.

It is recommended that you give your supervisor and fellow volunteers a heads up so that they can find someone to take over your responsibilities. Thank them for the opportunity to volunteer with them, explain why you need to stop volunteering (you don’t need to share the details if you don’t feel comfortable, a simple “I have too much on my plate” will suffice), offer to help with the transition, and say goodbye to your team. If you plan to take an extended break from volunteering but expect to return at some point, don’t forget to leave your contact information.

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Volunteer Responsibility Amnesty Day, international observances, summer solstice, winter solstice, volunteer burnout