Deleting users from your VolunteerHub site generally causes more harm than good.

Have you ever thought of deleting users from your site? Perhaps you haven’t worked with the volunteer in a long time, the individual moved out-of-state or you only have one annual event and you want a fresh start each year.

With the exception of removing test or unused duplicate accounts, a user’s account should never be deleted from your VolunteerHub site, as this could be detrimental to your volunteer program. Below are the top three reasons why you should not delete users.

1. You will lose essential data.

All event registrations and hours are tracked against individual users in the system. If you delete a user from your site, you are not only removing their contact information from the system, but essentially you are erasing that person’s existence, including their entire event participation history.

This poses a huge issue regarding the accuracy of your reports later down the road. For example, deleted users’ registrations and hours would no longer appear when running reports, so if you wanted to run a year-over-year report (a comparison between last year’s and last year’s event participation) to track your volunteer program’s success over time, your report would be inaccurate!

2. Volunteers have to duplicate their work.

If you delete a volunteer’s account and they return to volunteer later, they have to start over. This means creating a new profile, answering all your user form questions again and starting with zero hours (as well as having to go through your entire volunteer approval process or background check again, if you use one).  

This is not only unfair to your volunteers, but it will often discourage them from volunteering with you in the future. Moreover, they no longer have a record of volunteering with your organization (which could be required by some school or government programs).

3. There’s no real benefit.

Deleting a user yields absolutely no benefit to your site in most cases, as you are not billed for inactive volunteers. Volunteers are automatically marked inactive after going 12 months without signing up for an event in your site.

Typically, the only time deleting a user is practical is to remove an unnecessary account that was either created in error or was created to test the site. Even if your volunteers forget their log-ins every year, there are several things you can do to avoid confusion or duplicate accounts resulting from forgotten usernames and passwords. For details on these options, please review our previous article on dealing with duplicate users in VolunteerHub.  

Of course, there are always exceptions. If you feel deleting users is the only way to achieve a specific end result (e.g., you don't want certain volunteers receiving emails), there are usually other alternatives to deleting them permanently (e.g., removing their email address or declining the email opt-in question in the user's profile). If you have a special situation and you feel deleting users from your site is the only option, please feel free to send us a message describing your situation so we can try to help you with an alternative solution.