Philanthropic and charitable nonprofits are an important part of our communities. One of the little joys in life is volunteering time with a nonprofit to help it meets its mission. In addition to helping the community, you meet great people and make lasting friendships.
By and large most volunteering activities are rewarding and very productive. However, there are times when poor management or excessive bureaucracy turns the volunteer task into a supreme waste of time.
My definition of a volunteer is a loyal foot soldier. I sign up to perform a task, do the job and hand you the finished product. As a volunteer, I am not there to set policy, make management decisions or pass judgement. You asked me to stuff, stamp and lick envelopes. That’s what I did, now please mail them.
Nonprofits need to be cognizant not to waste the volunteer’s time. I have been asked by nonprofits to do work for them on several occasions. Sometimes when I hand them the completed project it gets shelved. Their explanations usually fall into either the burdens of excessive bureaucracy or the ineptitude of management. I am left wondering why I was asked to waste my time.
Never ask a volunteer to do what you wouldn’t do yourself. Because if you don’t see the value in the task, how is someone else going to see it. The time I spend volunteering with nonprofits improves the quality of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.