UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (3) | Ignore Thread Prev | Next
Author: arrete Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 736914  
Subject: Volunteer Creep Date: 8/29/2003 9:29 AM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 31
Thought I'd drag this out of reb's Hallelujah thread.

Golfwaymore: Never underestimate the ability of a volunteer organization to suck every free minute of time you have and completely muck up your ER.

Very true.

A pathetic example:

Year 1. I sign on to work a 3 ½ hours hotline shift once a week. Within 3 months, they want me to be a Team Leader, which means I'm on call for a whole day to answer questions from other volunteers.

Year 2. I'm doing extra shifts as well as Team Leader. Finding people to transport wildlife from shelters and vets is becoming an issue so I start doing transports for my own shifts.

Year 3. Pretty soon I'm doing transports other times, and by mid-summer I'm chauffeuring raccoons regularly. Each transport takes at least 3 hours. Plus side – I'm getting to know the wildlife and the rehabilitators.

Year 4. All heck breaks loose. The person overseeing the hotline has let things slip, so there is a lack of volunteers. Massive exits from the organization, including this person. Another woman and I try to prop up the hotline and the transport system. It turns into a full-time job. No support from the Board although we keep outlining problems that will eventually destroy the hotline. (This is when they tried to pay me to do the jobs – I'm not that stupid). At the end of the year, someone asks me if I want to be on the Board. In a Percocet-induced haze, I say yes. That was really dumb. I also sign on as an apprentice rehabber for songbirds.

Year 5. I find out how self-serving most people on the Board are. My stomach hurts after each Board meeting. I keep saying that the hotline is in trouble and that the other person helping with it and I are getting burnt out. Finally, in May, we send a letter saying we will no longer play as of September 1. At the beginning of August (!) they finally realize that 1) we mean it 2) they only have a month left. As of today, still haven't gotten it straightened out, but I am boogying Sep 1. I'll still do a few shifts a month, but that's it!

Observations:
1. They will suck you dry – see Golfwaymore's comment.

2. If you back off, some will accuse you of letting them down, etc. Big time guilt trip. You got through FIRE, you can get through this.

3. If you are very careful, volunteering can be a rewarding experience. Even transporting raccoons was interesting in moderation. And I really enjoy my birdies.

Future plans:
1. Stick to 4-6 hotline shifts a month.

2. Get off the Board!

3. This is the hardest – during the busy baby bird season, learn to say no, even if a birdy has to die. This is really hard, but better the bird than my marriage. You can't save everything.

arrete
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post  
UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (3) | Ignore Thread Prev | Next

Announcements

What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Community Home
Speak Your Mind, Start Your Blog, Rate Your Stocks

Community Team Fools - who are those TMF's?
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and "#1 Media Company to Work For" (BusinessInsider 2011)! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.
Advertisement