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Old 12-14-2016, 11:28 PM
Location: Silicon Valley
18,088 posts, read 22,934,448 times
Reputation: 35212


Everyone says to get into volunteering when you retire. But, I've had the worst luck trying volunteering. I knew I hadn't had good experiences in the past with group dynamics and politics, but there isn't much in the way of options where I live in this little town in the boonies. There are no senior bus trips or recreation department catalogues with classes I can take. And the senior center will kill you via pinochle and sit down exercises - in other words, they assume everyone has a child mentality and must be from the big band era.

My latest misadventure was with a local nonprofit that was being taken over by a small faction who were using the nonprofit for personal gain. Very much against the law (IRS, losing nonprofit 501(c)(3)status, etc.)

My knowledge in the law and dealing with bullies proved helpful, and the initial bad business deal was stopped.

But, legally, they need to report this misadventure with the IRS. Whenever a nonprofit gets in bed with a voting board member who is obviously profiting personally, once they realize the mistake, they are absolutely required under state and federal law to let them know they "may" have entered into a self-serving deal, come clean and fix the problem. The IRS doesn't want to take down small nonprofits, but if you hide this type of info, you can be in serious hot water.

So, you have probably guessed by now - they don't want to let the IRS know what happened. I was told by one board member that the IRS has bigger things to worry about, etc. And the clincher, is that the bad guys have seen that nobody is going to actually do anything to them, so they are back in force, trying to take over the association for personal gain.

So, I have told them I'm available to help them with research, which I'm good at, but I otherwise will leave them to deal or not with their problems. But, I can't be involved in decisions to hide required info from the IRS and the state.

They were thrilled to have me stop the bad guys by exposing they were breaking the law, but now they just want everything to go back to the way it was before the bad guys came along, and just pretend nothing bad ever happened, and not do anything to prevent it in the future - as in write clear bylaws, or educate board members so they will not vote for self-serving deals in the future. I was told educating the board would be too expensive. Like IRS fines won't be? Or losing their 501(c)(3) status won't be more expensive??? And the deal I found to educate the board would have cost a total of $250. Crazy. Anyway, one week I was called an "angel" and a week later, when I told them they need to report this to the IRS, they are happy for me to go away.

Argh!!! I guess it's kind of funny in a pathetic kind of way.

Mainly just venting here. But, also letting people know that if you are thinking volunteering will be all sunshine and flowers - think again!

My last attempt at volunteering here was a Christian food bank, and I'm agnostic, but respectful of other people's beliefs. I was delivering food to the foodbank from a local restaurant, and a woman at the foodbank decided she'd been told by God to save my soul. She stalked me relentlessly, and no amount of nicely asking her to leave me be would work.

Before that, it was the Democrat party group and I wasn't radical enough for them.

Anyway, I give up. Just beware that if you are hoping or expecting volunteering to fill any void or give you happiness, etc., in retirement, beware that it may be all drama, politics and gossip.

Bummer! Anyway, feel free to share your volunteer stories.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:51 AM
6,239 posts, read 4,725,740 times
Reputation: 12780
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Everyone says to get into volunteering when you retire. .......
Not me. I have never said that.

My time is really valuable to me and I don't go looking for causes to spent it on. As you found out, volunteering for a charity often means spending effort to get others to donate time but mostly money. I have spent huge sums on taxes and continue to do so. That money is supposedly for the general good. I don't need to have some group asking for more.

I have found there are much better and more rewarding ways of helping out others without the need to join a do gooder organization. Do some mentoring or teaching. Help a neighbor. I even donate but am very selective. I want to know my contributions are actually helping.
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Old 12-15-2016, 05:55 AM
4,479 posts, read 4,741,265 times
Reputation: 9940
I look forward to volunteering. Ups and downs, whatever.
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Old 12-15-2016, 06:30 AM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,732,288 times
Reputation: 32304
To the OP: I am so sorry that you have had those negative experiences. I would say keep trying, but you correctly point out that there are limited options in a small town. It seems you have run up against human nature at its worst - the greed and the arrogance. Sad, even if not entirely surprising.

I don't know why I have been so fortunate with my own volunteer experiences, about which I have previously posted more than once and which I find enjoyable and gratifying. (I read aloud to several fifth grade classes and conduct lunch time chess activities at several schools).

In a school setting where I am sort of doing my own thing, it is easy to be ignorant of the political situation or to steer clear of involvement in other people's battles. Of course I have to get along with the teachers in whose classes I am reading, but there again I have been fortunate in having teachers who are easy to get along with.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:25 AM
1,577 posts, read 2,201,059 times
Reputation: 2761
OP: Are there any opportunities to volunteer for the park service in your area? How far is Humboldt from where you live? I say this because my 27-year-old daughter volunteers on weekends for Mt. St. Helen's Institute in Oregon, clearing trails and as a hiking guide or just cheering hikers on. She says there are a lot of older people volunteering there too. Just a thought.

I'd like to do something with the nature center in my town here in Iowa, but I have a few years to go before retirement.

Last edited by smpliving; 12-15-2016 at 08:35 AM..
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:26 AM
5,822 posts, read 13,313,859 times
Reputation: 9290
Get a dog and train it to be a therapy dog. Very rewarding visiting veterans, shut ins, reading with children with disabilities and hospitals.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:28 AM
Location: Sugarmill Woods , FL
6,235 posts, read 5,898,133 times
Reputation: 13647
I volunteered to retire!
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:02 AM
Location: Location: Happy Place
3,688 posts, read 1,867,595 times
Reputation: 11301
Most I may do is the Meals on Wheels once a week. Currying favor for when I need it.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:05 AM
Status: "Funny. Like, a clown." (set 29 days ago)
1,076 posts, read 645,454 times
Reputation: 2267
Try animal rescue groups.
I will never be able to retire but if I could thats where I.d spend my time. That, and attend trials of animal abusers.
Just an idea. I don.t play well in the sandbox when other people bring their power trips and baggage to the volunteer arena but at least with animals theyll appreciate a clean cage and fresh water and food.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:07 AM
Location: Northern panhandle WV
3,007 posts, read 2,169,984 times
Reputation: 6691
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Not me. I have never said that.

I have spent huge sums on taxes and continue to do so. That money is supposedly for the general good. I don't need to have some group asking for more.
Hmm, this part sounds familiar I think I have read it before, Let's see, Dickens I think it was. LOL
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