Author Topic: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight  (Read 3093 times)

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Fleur

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People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« on: November 29, 2012, 05:41:00 AM »


I am the treasurer of a reading group. To cut a long story short, myself and the president are the only people to do any work. The person who is supposed to cooridinate the actual readings has not done so, and I have had to do this every time(and have volunteered to do it again)

The other week, someone sent me a Facebook message saying 'where are the readings?' That person then did not turn up to the next meeting. A group of them also like to meet up and have drinks, without me. I know that this is very unreasonable of me, but this hurts quite a bit. It is as if I am good enough to do the work but not good enough to be included in events. Anyway, I started this thread not to vent but to ask for constructive ways of asking people to contribute more. I feel annoyed and put upon, but I don't want to waste energy in annoyance.

girlysprite

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2012, 05:55:31 AM »
Try to coordinate this with the president, it might be better if he/she would talk about this. Try to make a list of required activities that are part of running this group. Fill in who has been doing these activities lately.
The next step would be to email, or announce during a meeting that person x has done a,b and c, and person y has been doing d, e and f. However, person x and y cannot comtinue to do all these things, so who would like to take over tasks a,c and f? When people volunteer, give them a clear description of the tasks and goals involved, and see if they agree to these things. Try to prevent people from 'wanting to be role x' but not actually wanting/be able to perform the duties of role x. Laying out a clear description of the role also prevents people from underestimating the task, for a part.

As for not being imvolved in private meetings, there is little that you can do about that, I'm afraid.

MamaMootz

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2012, 08:22:40 AM »
If it were me, I'd be searching for other groups. Maybe this isn't the right fit for you and the people in the group. I understand your frustration by doing all the work. When I get to that point, because I volunteer for a lot, I ask myself what value that work is bringing to me. If I feel like I'm being taken advantage of, then I pull back and look for other options.
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O'Dell

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2012, 08:29:52 AM »
What is a reading group? Is it like a book club? I think you should stop taking on extra tasks. Let it become a problem when the person selecting the books doesn't follow thru. You can maybe have a back up plan in place if you want, but give that person the opportunity to be embarrassed in front of the rest of the group.

Questions? Refer them to the person in charge of that task. "I don't know what the readings are. Doris is in charge of that. Best to ask her directly."

If you try this tactic, then be matter-of-fact and good-natured about it. Don't show any resentment or you risk appearing petty.

Is the group meeting privately excluding others or only you?
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cicero

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2012, 09:06:28 AM »
this sounds very frustrating

I agree that you should sit with the president and make up lists of tasks and then re-assign them. Make sure that it's clear who is doing what. Have a 'constitution' that says "In order for this group to be able to continue, we remind you that all members have agreed to volunteer up to X hours per week" or whatever you need.  Or maybe have president bring it up at meeting "the coordinating task needs two people who will vounteer together for X number of hours per week. we have an option to hire a part time coordinator - the cost will be X$ per year, divided by Y members, which means we will be raising membership costs by 145$ per year"


I also agree you should stop jumping in to cover other people's hind quarters.

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WillyNilly

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2012, 09:12:49 AM »
I presume this isn't the case, but just to float an idea - make sure too that you aren't being to picky about how things get done.

I'm the secretary of a group.  I do minutes differently then the previous secretary, who is close friends with the long standing president.  The president doesn't like my minutes, she wants me to do them the way the previous secretary did them.  I follow the same template, I just include way more detail, and quite frankly I took on the role because I thought the previous bare bones way was wrong, but its increasingly frustrating to have my minutes nitpicked at.  Previous attempts to get a different secretary haven't worked because after being nitpicked too much they just stopped doing it.

So just make sure when someone else picks out the readings you aren't criticizing their methods, like how they introduce the piece or how they deliver them (so long as their methods are within established official guidelines of the group).  Sometimes folks want help but are unable to let go of the control that getting help requires.

Once you're sure that's not what is going on, I think girlysprite's suggestions are spot-on.

MrTango

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2012, 10:16:48 AM »
It sounds harsh, but the first step in getting people to pull their own weight is to stop pulling it for them.

When things don't get done and someone complains to you about it, remind them that you are the treasurer, responsible for financial matters, and that [task] is the responsibility of [person], since they are the [position].  Don't apologize for this, just say it as a matter of fact.

TootsNYC

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 10:52:12 AM »
sometimes when people don't do the work, it's because they don't value the activity.

If nobody plans adult-oriented events on my block, I assume it's because nobody *wants* adult-oriented events enough to do any work.

However, there are lots of kid-oriented events. And that's because there are people who care.

People vote with their actions. And they won't ever step up if you fill the vacuum.
In a way, we're all a bit like teenagers who will leave their jacket on the living room floor for someone else to pick up. It takes a lot to train ourselves not to do that.

bah12

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 11:13:11 AM »
I agree that this is something the President should address.  If the people that volunteered to help run the group aren't doing the things necessary to continue to run the group, then one of two things needs to happen:

1.  The group disbands.
2.  People that are passionate about continuing the group, step up and fill the void.

People can't have it both ways.  They can't say that they want to continue having the group but don't want to do anything to keep it going.  Like others have said, if you continue to volunteer to fill the gap, then there's no reason for anyone else to do it.  So, be very clear about what you can and cannot contribute to the President and then only do that.  If that means that the group falls apart and you have to find someplace else to go, then so be it.

As for the socializing part, I get how hurtful and frustrating that is.  I don't necessarily think, though, that just because the group allows you to do most of the work, that they have to socialize with you outside of the group...but, I do think they are being insensitive and your feelings are quite understandable.  This, again, points to the fact that if you always do the work, then there's no reason for anyone else to do it.  So, speak to the President and then only do what you volunteered to do and let the cards fall from there.

Fleur

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2012, 11:55:29 AM »
I agree that this is something the President should address.  If the people that volunteered to help run the group aren't doing the things necessary to continue to run the group, then one of two things needs to happen:

1.  The group disbands.
2.  People that are passionate about continuing the group, step up and fill the void.

People can't have it both ways.  They can't say that they want to continue having the group but don't want to do anything to keep it going.  Like others have said, if you continue to volunteer to fill the gap, then there's no reason for anyone else to do it.  So, be very clear about what you can and cannot contribute to the President and then only do that.  If that means that the group falls apart and you have to find someplace else to go, then so be it.

As for the socializing part, I get how hurtful and frustrating that is.  I don't necessarily think, though, that just because the group allows you to do most of the work, that they have to socialize with you outside of the group...but, I do think they are being insensitive and your feelings are quite understandable.  This, again, points to the fact that if you always do the work, then there's no reason for anyone else to do it.  So, speak to the President and then only do what you volunteered to do and let the cards fall from there.

Thank you, bah12 and everyone, for your advice: you have given me real food for thought. It seems that the consensus is that I should go to the President and explain what is happening (not that she's not aware of it!) or perhaps, to be more accurate, explain that I am no longer willing to carry the can for so many different people. 

As to the bolded: I almost didn't include that in my OP, as I realise how unreasonable it sounds. But I am glad that it doesn't just sound whiny-of course I shan't bring that aspect of things up to the President, that would be childish and counterproductive. But it does mean that I feel less inclined to put myself out for these people.

TootsNYC

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2012, 03:05:48 PM »
. . . But it does mean that I feel less inclined to put myself out for these people.

And that's completely understandable.

Deetee

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2012, 04:29:54 PM »
. . . But it does mean that I feel less inclined to put myself out for these people.

And that's completely understandable.

I agree. You can't punish someone for not choosing to socialise with you. Giving people horrible assignments or kicking them out of the club or cutting them out of the email chain would be inappropriate, but not feeling like doing more than your share anymore is perfectly reasonable.

Slartibartfast

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2012, 08:29:07 PM »
I would suggest you miss a meeting.  As in, "Sorry, I can't be there this month - surely you can find someone else to do [whatever they usually dump on you]!"  Then they've at least done the footwork of finding someone else capable of volunteering.  Once that's happened, it's much easier to say "I can't do everything, but Jane did such a nice job last month - why don't you see if she can take over XYZ?"

bopper

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Re: People in a volunteer organisation not pulling their weight
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2012, 08:10:53 AM »
I agree with others...keep pointing people back to the Reading coordinator when asked.

You could also talk to that person and ask if they need someone else to work with them picking out readings...you could ask for volunteers at the next meeting.  Or if you have ideas you could pass them along to that person and they can choose to use them.