Thursday, March 23, 2006

NO! It Is A Good Word

How many times have you had someone recently tell you they want to help with a charity or volunteer to join in a cause to improve the community and when it came time to do what they volunteered for they don’t  show-up, return calls, answer emails or make any contact?

Kinda of a long winded questions, but it is worth asking.  Is it only happening to me or what?

No it is not.  I am finding more and more people who get involved with a charity and then for unknown reasons they don’t show-up for meetings, return phone calls and answer emails.  Why?  Who knows?  

Saying ‘sorry, I cannot do what I signed up for’ is much better than just ignoring the obligation.

This is happening all over the place, and the reason is becoming apparent.   In a recent case a number of people sign-up through an online volunteer clearinghouse that lists all for the charity organizations in an area needing help.  The information is clear on what they will be volunteering for and the time commitment they will work.  The online site even provides warning on not committing to an organization if they have no intention of committing to what they need done.  They even let them sent test questions to the leaders of the charity groups to find out more details on what exactly they will be doing.

A lot of time is spent in preparing for these volunteers assignment. A lot rides on these volunteers doing what they signed up to do.

None the less, over 85% of the people who sign up with this charity never came to the first of a series of meetings on the assignment.  Or went to the meeting, signed up for a crucial assignment and was never heard from again.

The problem is growing across the country.  Why do people do this?

In one case the organization was on the verge of collapse and having to cancel its event because they had signed up all of the volunteers they needed and a month before the event could not get in touch with any of the volunteers.  Being nearly too late to recruit more volunteers, and having spent their budget on volunteer items, they decided to find out why their volunteer ditched the event.  They had other volunteers make contact by phone to the delinquent volunteers to find out why they ditched their assignment.

Out of the 15 volunteers, 10 said that they did not want to seem to be negative and let the organizers know they were no longer interested, figuring that not answering the phone or email would result in them finding someone else to fill their spot.  Two others reported that they figured that the organization has back-ups to every position so their spot would be filled by back ups.  The remaining three felt their commitment to the charity was last in priority after their job, family and leisure time.  They did not feel they had any obligations to contact the organization to let them know they were not returning or were not interest in the organization.

Is there an answer to this question or a solution to this growing problem?  There is, but it takes more energy than it is worth.  But, one of the solutions I suggest be used is to get the volunteers to make a commitment deposit and sign a commitment letter.  In this letter it states that if they for any reason after they sign the letter are not able to perform the duties they forfeit the $xx they placed in escrow.  It doesn’t get the live bodies needed for the charity event, but it does raise funds if they do not show up.  Plus it also weeds out the people who are just fishing around for something that will give them something for nothing. 

And, yes, there are charity groups out there that play the game of if they need 10 volunteer they round up 100 and budget money to get each one of the volunteers all something like tee shirts, golf shirts and other expensive goodies for volunteering.  They get this even if they never show up for the event. 

It goes back to getting the volunteers commitment.  They would not mind at all putting down a deposit of money if they knew that their money was going to be paid back once they finished their assignment.  And they get the goodies and stuff from the event.

To take several steps further back, the whole problem would have been averted if the volunteers would have just said No, at the time they signed up.  No! Is Not A Bad Word. 

There are too many people out there who do not want to bring on an image of being a bitch or bastard by saying NO to a charity.  Give the charity a break and insure your image of not being bad by telling the truth and not signing up if you are not going to commit.  The world will be a much better place…



Scot Duke


Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.


Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

The best investment you can make for your business…




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