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Old 12-17-2016, 09:49 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,134 posts, read 23,019,359 times
Reputation: 35363

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slyfox2 View Post
I volunteered for my local Senior College operation. Its the kind of place where there are an excessive number of excessively educated people. I ran their Technology operation for the teachers. After about a year I realized that every other committee chair had people in their committee to help them, and that every other chair was given a spot on the board. I was required(unlike any other volunteer, board member, paid employee) to attend every function with technology equipment and even some of the classes to video tape them. I had to organize all the equipment and make sure that all the teachers had what they needed and knew how to use it. I had to order new disposables and plan ahead for bigger purchases, and lots more.

So I gave my notice---17 months in advance since I knew if would be hard to replace me. They initially made it clear that it would be no problem and that they could find nearly anyone to do it. 8 months later they realized that not one of their members wanted to do this. So they had a meeting with me. I told them that they had an excessively educated group and that they would need to put some stripes on the prospective person's arm or stars on their shoulder. I told them that they would need to give the person a permanent place on the board and a title such as Director of Technology, as well as a permanent place on the executive committee of the board, where the Director of Communications, and the Chair of the Curriculum committee sat. They said "No WAY, HOSAI". I said, " Well good luck then."

I stopped 17 months after my resignation. Its now 17 months after that. They still have found no one. And their response to this is to dump it all on their only paid employee---she may quit soon. Its sad, because I loved doing it, if they had only given me a title and some respect.

I had the same situation with another non-profit where I helped them set up a website, and an communication circumstance. Pretty soon they started treating me as if I was some kind of slave labor. I was getting no respect, so I quit. They thought that they could find someone quick for Free. Nope. They don't have anyone still. I enjoyed that too, but a little bit of respect would have kept me there. I wasn't their slave.

BTW, I was never in technology. I was a counseling psychologist who learned how to do this stuff to improve communication with people and about what I did.

My experience is that working in retirement for non-profits is that they expect that you are their slave, and that they treat you like a slave---not a real person with lots of skills that you will be happy to give out for free, and all you need is a just a wee bit of respect as payment. As long as what you do is menial labor, then its OK. But try to give them high level advice, even if its free, and clearly useful to them---still no respect.
This is so sad, and so true. Like my story, they were thrilled to have me be their Joan of Arc and go up against the bad guys.

Now that that's accomplished, they'd rather I just go away, so they can pretend the Nazis never invaded, and they can go back to their high society functions.

I actually had a similar experience when I used to do community theater. The directors of the local community theaters are usually collecting a salary, which most of their unpaid volunteer staff and actors don't realize. They give their hearts and souls to the nonprofit theater group, usually not only giving free time, but also usually even buying their own costumes, etc.

Then, the paid founders, who are paid salaries, and who call themselves directors (music directors or general directors, etc.) actually have the hutzpah to yell - and I mean literally yell - at their free actors and dancers as if it's some insane reality TV show.

I was actually yelled at by a "director" who was drawing a salary at a community theater rehearsal, who came and yelled at me for talking during vocal warm-ups. These guys actually owned the theater and hadn't paid to have the air conditioning fixed. The temperature in the theater was probably at least 120 degrees.

I screamed back at her that I'm a volunteer and if she wanted to fire me, that's fine with me. Total silence. She walked away.

Volunteer theater is especially weird, where there is a weird culture that you are supposed to put up with bad behavior from directors. But, volunteers forget they don't have to put up with bad behavior. They aren't employees, they don't have any salary they can't afford to lose, etc.

But, in community theater, there's this weird pressure to have a reputation that you get along with everyone, which can be taken advantage of.

I'm over community theater because of the above. But, people could learn from these experiences, too.
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Old 12-18-2016, 12:25 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,756,785 times
Reputation: 32309
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
This is so sad, and so true. Like my story, they were thrilled to have me be their Joan of Arc and go up against the bad guys.
........................
I know who Joan of Arc was! She was Noah's wife.
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
Reputation: 15649
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post

I was actually yelled at by a "director" who was drawing a salary at a community theater rehearsal, who came and yelled at me for talking during vocal warm-ups. These guys actually owned the theater and hadn't paid to have the air conditioning fixed. The temperature in the theater was probably at least 120 degrees.

I screamed back at her that I'm a volunteer and if she wanted to fire me, that's fine with me. Total silence. She walked away.

Volunteer theater is especially weird, where there is a weird culture that you are supposed to put up with bad behavior from directors. But, volunteers forget they don't have to put up with bad behavior. They aren't employees, they don't have any salary they can't afford to lose, etc.

But, in community theater, there's this weird pressure to have a reputation that you get along with everyone, which can be taken advantage of.

I'm over community theater because of the above. But, people could learn from these experiences, too.
Tell me about it. My jobs were in regional theater and international chamber music fests, as executive director and marketing director. Egos from directors (and nutjobs who thought they were directors) were always flying and anyone trying to hold down the fort in a responsible way was the target of wrath, criticism, and blocked decision making. These three organizations all literally begged me to come on board to "save" their organizations. Didn't take long for them to descend into petty nonsense that ruined their enterprises. Some of the volunteers thought they were staff. The worst by far were the egoistic artistic directors. The stress sent me to the hospital on one occasion. I would NEVER again volunteer in such organizations.

(That said, production time was electric, and I loved recruiting full houses and sponsors. That's what I did best)
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:25 AM
 
6,866 posts, read 3,731,880 times
Reputation: 18108
Ok, I'm going to suggest something. Scouts. Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, or both. It takes a lot of willing adults to carry out a scout program. One of the biggest needs is for leaders at the youngest levels -- parent volunteers naturally want to move up with their kids and most adults are too far out of their comfort zone to volunteer to lead that first couple of years. For many of those boys and girls you may be the only adult role model they have. Yes, it's a lot of work and you have to get way out of your comfort zone, but we have way more kids than willing adults.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,688,776 times
Reputation: 35449
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverBird View Post
Tell me about it. My jobs were in regional theater and international chamber music fests, as executive director and marketing director. Egos from directors (and nutjobs who thought they were directors) were always flying and anyone trying to hold down the fort in a responsible way was the target of wrath, criticism, and blocked decision making. These three organizations all literally begged me to come on board to "save" their organizations. Didn't take long for them to descend into petty nonsense that ruined their enterprises. Some of the volunteers thought they were staff. The worst by far were the egoistic artistic directors. The stress sent me to the hospital on one occasion. I would NEVER again volunteer in such organizations.

(That said, production time was electric, and I loved recruiting full houses and sponsors. That's what I did best)
I can so relate. The reason why I quit volunteering for the theater organization I was with for fifteen years was because a new director took over. He was from another city and completely changed not only the volunteer system but brought in whole new performance offerings which caused audience attendance to plummet.

He replaced long time department heads with his own flunkies. They treated the incombent volunteers like crap. People dropped out daily. All this effected the actors and things got to the point where for a while it looked the theater would close.

Sometimes a volunteer job can be as fraught with as much politics and egos as a regular job. The good thing is that the volunteers don't have to be there.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
1,827 posts, read 2,619,524 times
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Yup...new director...bye bye. Been there done that with 2 non profits i am very passionate about. Sad to say...I am DONE with volunteering...frankly I don't need the drama, politics and bs. I don't miss it either!
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Central IL
15,253 posts, read 8,556,682 times
Reputation: 35693
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieA View Post
My favorite volunteer work is working with abused and neglected kids. I wanted to be a Guardian ad Litem but I knew I could not be objective and the cases would weigh too heavy on my heart. Now, I volunteer to do filing, etc, any menial task I can to help out and let the stronger folks represent the children. I have collected teddy bears to give to said children, read to them in the hospital, collect suitcases for kids in foster care so they don't have to use plastic bags for their few belongings. Bell ringer with the Sal. Army, I love that.


I still work and don't have a lot of extra time but I do what I can. I love the outdoors and did do some volunteering with the local Audobon chapter, bird counts, cleaning up around the clubhouse on donated property. The Sierra club met there, as well.


This was the best thread. I learned a lot and I appreciated all the helpful suggestions.
This is so thoughtful - something many don't think about but foster care kids move around so often and to just put everything they have in trash bags must be terribly depressing especially given all the other circumstances around moving. To use trash bags, as if they and their belongings count for nothing....so glad to hear of giving them a nicer alternative.
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Old 12-18-2016, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,756,785 times
Reputation: 32309
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
...............

Sometimes a volunteer job can be as fraught with as much politics and egos as a regular job. The good thing is that the volunteers don't have to be there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveLoveLaugh View Post
Yup...new director...bye bye. Been there done that with 2 non profits i am very passionate about. Sad to say...I am DONE with volunteering...frankly I don't need the drama, politics and bs. I don't miss it either!
I can't say I blame anyone who is "done with volunteering" after some negative experiences. However, it's really sad that ego problems so often result in volunteers not being appreciated and not being treated with a little respect. One would think (hope?) that those quilty parties would have the common sense to realize that the volunteers don't have to be there, but alas, the bad side of human nature wins out all too often.

And there have been so many of the bad experiences recounted in this thread alone - I chose to quote just two of them above!

The thread has caused me to be all the more thankful that I have not encountered that same negativity in the schools. Perhaps it has to do with the nature of what I do. The lunch time chess activity doesn't affect the teachers; it's just something the kids can participate in if they wish. The reading aloud in the classrooms has an advantage for the teachers quite apart from any value they may feel it imparts to the students. That advantage is that for 30 minutes once a week, the teacher has a "break" during which she can sit back and not be center stage; she can grade papers, do other paper work, or just relax. Legally (because I have a valid teachers' credential) they can also leave me alone with their classes, and after they have developped a degree of confidence in me they often do just that in order to run errands such as running stuff off in the copy room.

If I take my marbles and go home, there is no assurance that the teachers will find another reader who relates well with their students and who is also flexible about scheduling and reliable. So they are very appreciative and it seems genuine, not merely Machiavellian. I usually get a nice gift from the teachers at the end of the school year, such as a gift certificate at a local book store (perfect for me) or at a local restaurant.

So I am truly fortunate. However, if I were working more as a helper in the classroom, i.e., under the direct supervision of the teacher(s), there might be more room for clashes. There are a few parent volunteers who are convinced that they know best and who insist on having things done their way, and in those cases I can see that the friction is mostly the fault of the volunteer. That statement is NOT an accusation against any poster in this thread; rather, it is just an acknowledgment that in some cases, it is conceivable that the volunteer may have the ego problem.

Indeed, this has been a very interesting thread.
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Old 12-18-2016, 02:34 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,649 posts, read 40,020,325 times
Reputation: 23806
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveLoveLaugh View Post
Yup...new director...bye bye. Been there done that with 2 non profits i am very passionate about. Sad to say...I am DONE with volunteering...frankly I don't need the drama, politics and bs. I don't miss it either!
Takes a long time to train a boss, non-profit / volunteer bosses change frequently. So, yes, you need to know when to bail out. (and when it is worth staying, usually for the other volunteers and recipients, not myself).

Sometimes you have just had enough! Unlike being a parent or caregiver.... you can bail-out of a volunteer gig.

Choose your battles, can't win them all.
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:50 PM
 
480 posts, read 400,568 times
Reputation: 2077
Oh, that can't be right. Nazis were also mentioned, so she must have been around during World War II.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I know who Joan of Arc was! She was Noah's wife.
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