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Subject:  Re: Frustration with grassroot orgs Date:  1/2/2007  10:28 AM
Author:  slowlythere Number:  2893 of 3131

Greetings everyone!

Odee, thanks much for your thoughts and experiences: it sounds like you've been through this more than a few times. I can only imagine what I have in front of me, but I'm glad you haven't lost the faith in volunteering. I'm questioning whether or not what I do is really meaningful at all, for myself or for anyone else, beyond the unintended lessons I'm learning. I know I'm learning about my own tolerances and priorities along the way.


Well, sadly, the bureaucracy comes about from attempts at organization. The reason you have to fill out 3 forms and check with 5 people is to ostensibly avoid the confusion and chaos you are finding at this place.

It's a trade off you will have to make a decision on.

Yes, now that I'm in a place like this, "bureaucracy" certainly sounds like a good thing. Problem here is that some people don't seem to have even basic common sense. In other situations, it seems a total lack of experience and awareness is lacking. Not that I have a huge reservoir of experience and awareness, but I think my impact here is because I have experience from other vaguely similar non-profits. Most of what I'm doing is posing them what I hope are smart questions (issues) for them to consider.

Even then, they are too tired, stressed, or confused. They express vague desires, but unwilling to make any decisions or take literally five minutes to consider a course of action. Separately, I also think they waste a huge amount of time and energy because they can't/won't consider the implications. (Along with the "waste" I'm also aware that it seems they will/are wasting funds along the way.

Otherwise, some of the donations they've been receiving are via donated professional (legal, computer, health, other) services. I don't even think they've considered how to account for such, yet. (I've seen the invoiced donations at other agencies.)

personally, if I was in charge of keeping track of donations for a poorly run 501C3 - I'd be gone. No sense in getting in personal legal trouble for their disorganization. Then you won't be any good to anyone.

I'll mention this: they don't even seem to remember what my full name is, never mind anything else. I've never signed anything, seen a *clear* (only implied) mission statement, don't know who the board of directors are, etc., etc. I'm even uncertain if they keep any updated, written records on the clients that come in and out, or attendance. (Which is/was an issue at other parallel facilities.) It's possible that one of them transposes such data to records elsewhere (I think most of the long-term volunteers keep records in their own homes: they don't have a real office), but there's no guarantee they are keeping the relevant data for legal and accounting purposes.

Yes, scary. I really don't think I want to stick with them at least on the legal aspects. No irony that I've been telling them for two weeks that they MUST have legal counsel, or have their documents and related reviewed legally. They either dismiss, ignore, or just confused when I bring it up.

Thank you for letting me vent,
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