Have you ever had someone raise their hand to volunteer, and they ended up being a dud? They asked to be on the board or to lead a committee, or they signed up to speak or write an article, or they said they would work registration or be a greeter. You thought they would be great. Instead, they did not show, or they did not do the work, or they buried you under endless questions.
What happened? Why don’t some volunteers engage?
When I talk to volunteers they say it is because of time and timing:
- The volunteer commitment is too long. Three years? I can’t even promise myself to make it to the gym this week.
- This is the wrong time of the year. You want me to chair the tax regulation special interest group? Ummm…. it is March, which is tax time, and I’m already working 20-hour days.
- This is the wrong time in my career. I’d love to help, but I’m getting a promotion/switching organizations/starting a new project.
- This is the wrong time in my life. I just had a baby and my elderly parents are moving in.
- The role demands too much time. What!? 10 hours a week? As a volunteer?
- This is a waste of time. I’ve been to a few committee meetings, and the chair doesn’t run a good call. Or, I’ve been to a few meetings and there are so many of us, no one listens to what I have to say. Or, I’ve been to a few meetings, and we do not know what our goals are. Or, we have done some great work, but nothing happens with the results. This is a waste of my time.
- I would but, I’m short on time. Soon I’ll assume someone else’s job in addition to my own. I don’t even know how I’m going to get my job done.
- This role might require more time than you say it will. Once I volunteer, will you keep asking me to do more and more?
To get volunteers engaged, fix the issues that arise because of time and timing.