Did you see that New York Times article called “Frazzled Moms Push Back Against Volunteering”?
The New York Times may ALSO have some style pieces about women that are not based in reality. Perhaps “small but growing” is code for “three people I found on the corner two hours before deadline.”
ORLY. Have YOUR volunteers pushed back?
Hilary Stout writes, “Some complain that the system preys on maternal guilt and that it creates a sense that a mother’s worthiness is measured in how many hours she puts in at her children’s schools.”
Don’t get me wrong, volunteers are the thing that makes our organizations move.
There’s no way we, as a sector, could survive without volunteers. They do everything from drive buses for our seniors to chaperoning field trips to cleaning our offices and answering the phone.
The last thing we want though, is a volunteer who doesn’t want to be there. And I do not know about you, but I don’t think GUILT is a very good motivator. Do you agree?
Have you ever had a volunteer for whom everything was a chore, they were always texting on their phone, and couldn’t wait to get out of there?
Did you ask them to do something, and did they sigh a lot, and sidle away and did you catch them an hour later just taking a walk instead of doing the job?
How can you avoid the situation of over-pushing volunteers, or getting volunteers who don’t want to do the task assigned?
How can you make sure that volunteers feel valued and appreciated?
Perhaps Schools Need a Little Help?
If you’re involved in a primary or secondary school, advocate and agitate for more money to be given to teachers, classroom aides and to people who are actually doing the work on the ground in schools.
That money has gone somewhere else. We need to put it back into the people providing the service of education.
If people are so burnt out from volunteering at schools, we need to look at another way of fixing our broken educational system.
Namely, actually hiring enough people to do the work. And making the quality of education better with electives like woodshop, electronics, painting, sculpture, choir, dance, and band.
There is no reason why kids and parents should have to struggle so hard to get a decent education. The money is out there.
In the meantime, if you want to do something to help you fit your volunteers with the correct task in your organization, use this checklist.
And, of course, fact-check all of your New York Times “Style” or “Trend” articles.